By LYNN LOFTON
As with most things on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, the real estate market has experienced the ‘new normal’ since Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Factors other than the storm — including the national recession — also affected coastal real estate but the market is improving, according to Coast realtors.
Deborah McGhee, owner/broker of McGhee Realty in Saucier, is serving as president of the Gulf Coast Association of Realtors. “I’ve reviewed the Multiple Listing Service Sales and Inventory Report from August 2011 through July 2015 to determine the average number of monthly sales. The market was steady at 273 sales per month for 2011 and 2012,” she said. “There’s been a 10 percent increase in 2013 over 2012. For the first seven months in 2015 the report shows an increase of 15 percent over the entire year of 2014.
“In summary, these figures show the Mississippi Coast real estate market is very healthy. There’s currently an absorption rate of a 13-month supply of residential listings.”
McGhee, who’s been a Realtor nine years, adds that areas experiencing good residential sales are Gulfport north of Interstate 10, Gulfport east, and Ocean Springs.
“The areas experiencing good residential sales reiterates the fact that affordable insurance rates are imperative for all areas of the Coast to once again become affordable real estate,” she said.
Past Gulf Coast Association of Realtors President Stephanie Shaw agrees with McGhee. “We are experiencing a healthy growth pattern in the Coast real estate market,” she said. “Factors that are holding us back are insurance rates, flood zones and a lack of economic development.”
Shaw, broker/owner of Latter & Blum Shaw Properties, was named the Association’s Realtor of the Year in 2014, and her agency has been in the local market 38 years. “We monitor trends and our local market, and we believe in the future of the Coast,” she said.
Carlene Alfonso also has a long family tradition in Coast real estate. She now leads Coldwell Banker Alfonso Realty that was started by her parents. “Shifts and changes are continuously impacting the residential and commercial real estate markets,” she said. “We track and analyze data to stay abreast of real estate trends along the Coast.”
Her analysis shows that home sales and the average sales price are rising. For instance, there were 347 units sold in March of this year compared to 280 in March of last year; and 407 units sold this June compared to 335 in June 2014.“The figure for this June is the highest month since 2007,” Alfonso said.