Compared to the rest of the country Mississippi real estate appreciation rates in recent years have been relatively low. But Mississippi residents, and those looking to become residents in the near future, will find that recent 2015 housing market home appreciation rates in the state have been some of the highest in the nation. Just this last quarter rates have risen .94%. At this pace Mississippi is looking at a 3.83% increase by years end. “We’re seeing a good recovery from the housing crunch,” says Beth Hansen, CEO of the Mississippi Association of Realtors. So what are some of the challenges that the Mississippi real estate market still faces? One issue is that there is simply a lack in inventory. “People can’t buy houses if there are none to buy. It’s all about supply and demand. Right now there’s strong demand.” Another problem lies with the state’s recent bouts with natural occurrences.
Known for its production of cotton and the birth of the Blues, recent history has left the Mississippi region shrouded by the remnants of Hurricane Katrina. The storm left behind hundreds dead, thousands displaced from their homes, and billions of dollars in damages. Katrina’s 35-foot storm surges and winds decimated much of the Mississippi gulf coast real estate, and it left at least some form of damage to all counties in the state. As a result of the storm, insurance coverage and federal safety regulations have presented obstacles to new homeownership. Some homeowners are finding that their flood insurance costs have escalated dramatically, and potential buyers are put off by the rates that banks are requiring for certain homes. Hansen also believes that the market is seeing the impact of too much regulation. “This is particularly true of certain EPA rules and regulations, the classification of navigable waterways, and how all of this impacts on private property ownership.”
Despite the scale of the disaster, rebuilding began within a month after Katrina made landfall. Many of the coast’s Casinos and entertainment hubs that were forced to close are either currently open for business or close to reopening their doors. Mississippi has also seen a lot of affordable housing construction in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, and housing market predictions see this number continuing to increase. Homebuilders have developed home kits, or “Katrina Cottages.” These manufactured homes run between $25K and $50K and are designed to withstand 140 mph winds and heavy rain. Thanks to the rebuilding process there is good potential in Mississippi real estate. To emphasize her optimism in the state’s housing market Hansen points out that 14.6% of the state’s Gross Domestic Product is tied to real estate. In the opinion of the Mississippi Realtor’s Association and its CEO, “you’re going to see a steady increase in home prices, and a home will continue to be a great investment.”
Influencing Factors for the Mississippi 2015 Housing Market
Zillow.com places the average home value for the Mississippi real estate at $114,400. Housing market predictions see a 1.8% increase for the upcoming year.
- The median listing price in the state is $157,000 (about $85/sq ft). This is an increase of $5,000 since December 2014 and an increase of $17,000 since December of 2013.
- Homes in the Mississippi real estate market spend an average of 104 days listed on Zillow. This is down since December 2014 when the average was 144. This shows that the market is turning around in Mississippi and that property is starting to move. It is still a buyer’s market but that could change within the next year. As properties move faster sellers begin to gain the advantage in negotiations.
- As seen in online forums such as Trulia, Zillow, and Craigslist Mississippi rental prices continue to increase. The average rental price average for all homes in the state is $1,077 a month. However, the average rental list price is $870. What does this mean? More and more small apartments (1 and 2 bedroom) are being put onto the market rather than single-family homes. Those who are looking to rent don’t want or need a large dwelling space. If they are looking for a larger home, they aren’t looking to rent; they are looking to buy. This explains the increase in single-family home sales.
- As of March, 5.91% of loans in Mississippi were seriously delinquent. The national average is 3.63% (according to the Federal Reserve Bank). Delinquent mortgages often result in foreclosures. Vacant properties negatively impact surrounding home values.
Best Places to Live in Mississippi
Jackson MS real estate makes up the largest community in Mississippi with the majority of the population being young and educated upstarts. Jackson offers many opportunities of a major metropolitan area without being a physically large city space. Transportation and work commutes are a great incentive for a city with a large population. Over half of all Jackson residents report having less than a 20-minute commute to work. And the per capita income in Jackson is higher than the state average. According to homes listed on Trulia Jackson MS has an average listing price of $169,657 for the week ending July 29. This was an increase of 8% from the prior week! Good stuff!
Despite the damage done to properties in Biloxi MS real estate prices are up by 25% for both newly constructed homes and homes that needed minor rehabilitation. Nearly 8% of the city’s workforce is made up of the armed forces, making Biloxi a military town. The city has a highly educated population with nearly a quarter of its citizens having a bachelor’s degree or higher. A majority of residents in Biloxi are between 35-54 years of age. According to Zillow Biloxi MS has a median rental price of $765, which is almost $100 less than neighboring Gulfport.
Gulfport MS real estate is some of the most expensive in the state. As the second largest community in Mississippi, Gulfport is home to both the very wealthy and the poor alike. According to Neighborhoodscout.com, the median home value is $119,941 (with 45% of all homes lying in the $97-$194K range) and the median rental price is $878.
Between the census of 2000 and that of 2010, data shows the population of Gulfport went down while the number of housing units went up. This statistic can be attributed to the homes that became inhabitable and the displacement of thousands due to Hurricane Katrina. Housing development has rebuilt the area but not all of the displaced have returned. This leaves real estate that is still available. The city houses the Gulfport-Biloxi International Airport. Although this airport was damaged in the hurricane it has been completely renovated and is a valuable asset to the city’s tourism and travel industry.
Behind Gulfport in terms of population is Southaven. Southaven MS real estate is also some of the state’s more expensive land. The city boasts a slightly larger average of educated population (21.11%) than the national average for nearly one fifth of all cities and towns. And 90% Southaven’s residents are high school graduates. This is reflected in the average annual income for a family of 4 as being $100,372. Southaven enjoys a lower poverty level than most of the state. The median home value in Southaven is $141,155 and nearly half of all homes in the city are valued between $102-$204K.
Despite the chance of natural disasters (a Katrina type disaster is a rare phenomenon) Mississippi is still attractive to many homebuyers. A major river on its western border, the Gulf Coast to its south, and the mild winters make the Magnolia State a desirable place to live. Officials in the state have even labeled Mississippi real estate as the “it” place to retire. And their boasting seems to have merit. This brings us to perhaps the three best places to live in Mississippi that are currently flying under the radar. The Vicksburg, Oxford, and Natchez Mississippi real estate markets are teeming with retirees and transplants due to the low cost of living.
The average age for residents in the Vicksburg MS real estate market is 39 years old, but the 50-59 year age group is the most dominant age demographic. Average home prices in the city are $152,388 and the per capita income is higher than the state average. According to Realtor.com the average rental price for a 1-bedroom rental is $442, nearly $200 less than the state average for the same size rental.
And because of its extremely low cost of living (average home cost is $137K), Oxford Mississippi real estate has recently seen a large increase in retired citizens. This is a great value considering the low crime rate and the cultural and entertainment opportunities afforded to the city due to its proximity to the University of Mississippi.