By JACK WEATHERLY
Sales of houses across the nation declined in March compared with a year earlier, while the opposite was true in central Mississippi.
March was the eighth straight month of year-over-year national sales declines and sixth consecutive month of year-over-year inventory growth, according to the Re/Max National Housing Report issued Tuesday.
Sales fell 8.6 percent last month and the number of houses on the market rose 5.3 percent, states the report, which bases its numbers on 54 metropolitan markets, none of which are in Mississippi.
Meantime, sales in the 10 counties of the central Mississippi market rose 7.6 percent last month compared with March 2018. according to the Central Mississippi MLS.
Julie Davis, a 10-year veteran Realtor who concentrates on Rankin County and works for Re/Max, said that April has really taken off, after a good February and better March.
There is a shortage of starter homes, so “anything that is sharp, that’s good, that’s clean is sold really, really quickly. . . at or near full retail,” Davis said in a telephone interview.
Inventory is down, so that favors the seller, she said, but with the lower borrowing rate, the buyer is also in an advantageous position, she said.
The average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage was 4.06 percent on Tuesday, compared with 4.55 percent in December, according to Macrotrends.
The Federal Reserve Open Market Committee, which hiked key rates four times last year, has indicated it will not raise them for the rest of 2019.
Inventory in Rankin was down 40 percent in March compared with a year earlier, and 26.1 percent in the three-county core, which includes Rankin, Madison and Hinds, of the 10-county Central Mississippi MLS.
Re/Max Chief Executive Adam Contos said in the report that “falling interest rates, rising inventory and moderating price increases against the backdrop of a healthy overall economy are cause for optimism for buyers and sellers alike.”
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