By LISA MONTI
Last year, the central Mississippi real estate market had some highs and lows, but Realtors in the 10-county area believe 2015’s momentum could translate to good things in 2016.
One high point in December’s market report from the Central Mississippi Realtors members showed that new listings increased 12.5 percent to 433 from the previous December.
“Usually December is a down month because of Christmas, so to go up 12.5 percent is exceptional,” said Megan Hall, president of the Central Mississippi Realtors.
That indicator is just one showing a positive trend over last December’s numbers. “People are feeling more confident about their jobs and the economy as a whole,” Hall said.
“Interest rates are holding steady but there is talk of rates possibly going up later in the year, so people are trying to get a jump on that.”
Hall said the decrease in December 2015’s pending sales by almost 36 percent over December 2014 show that people tend not to want to move during that month. Overall, 2015 pending sales were up almost 3 percent, she said.
The association reported that inventory levels fell about 10 percent to 2,739 units in December 2015.
“We do need more inventory, that’s a problem. Several agents have said buyers can’t find what they want because the inventory just isn’t there,” she said. But low inventory is good news for sellers.
“Now is a good time to sell,” she added.
The same law of supply and demand cut the number of days on the market in December 2015 by 27.2 percent to 76 days. “There’s not much out there and what is out there is selling faster,” Hall said.
The median sales price barely increased, to $162,500 from December 2014 to December 2015. But, Hall said, “if you look at 2015 versus 2014, we went up 7 percent, which is very good. It’s a positive trend, especially with a low inventory. We hope to see that continue in 2016.”
Another trend central Mississippi Realtors have noted is a growing demand for rural property.
“We’ve seen an increase of people wanting to move to rural areas. Anything rural has been in quite a demand,” she said. Demand is trending northward and there’s been an increase in membership in the Carthage area, which she said “generally means more demand for property in that area.”
Low fuel prices are contributing to the interest in rural property. The same thing happened several years ago when gas prices dropped dramatically.
Looking at the year, Hall said, there were no dramatic decreases in any of the market indicators.
“Overall, 2015 was very good for the market compared to what we’ve seen in years past. The trend of steady growth is continuing this year.”
Overall, existing-home sales in the South leaped 14.6 percent to an annual rate of 2.27 million in December, and are now 4.6 percent above December 2014. The median price in the South was $196,100, up 6.8 percent from a year ago.
The next few months are expected to bring an increase in activity, Hall said. “Our members are very excited about the spring market. I’ve heard several say if it’s this busy in February, it will be high times later this year because typically spring and summer are very busy.”
The Central Mississippi Realtors is the largest real estate association in the state, with more than 1,600 members in 10 counties. Hinds, Madison and Rankin have the most members. The other seven counties are Yazoo, Holmes, Attala, Leake, Scott, Simpson and Copiah.
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