Northeast Mississippi housing market stable

By Dennis Seid/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – While nationwide home sales lag and prices continue to fall, the housing market in Northeast Mississippi is holding its own.
Last week, the National Association of Realtors said that sales in 2010 of previously owned homes fell to their lowest level in 13 years. Across the country, sales fell 4.8 percent to 4.91 million units, slightly fewer than in 2008, which has been the weakest year since 1997.
On Tuesday, the Standard & Poor’s/Case-Shiller 20-city home price index fell 1 percent from October to November, marking the fifth consecutive month of declines. The index, however, is a gauge of the 20 largest U.S. cities and not indicative of what’s happening closer to home.
In fact, the Northeast Mississippi Board of Realtors, which covers Lee, Pontotoc, Union, Prentiss, Itawamba, Monroe and Chickasaw counties, saw not only an increase in sales but an increase in average sales price.
Last year, 1,190 homes were sold, compared to 1,161 in 2009, an increase of 2.5 percent. Also, the average sales priced rose from $115,227 to $117,548, a 2 percent increase.
“The numbers speak for themselves,” said Tess Mason, the board’s president and a Realtor with Prudential 1st in Tupelo. “Our Northeast Mississippi market shows strength and stability. Home ownership is still part of the American dream.”
Nationwide, the NAR said last week that 2010 ended on a stronger note, with buyers snapping up homes at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.28 million unit in December, the best sales pace since May. Also, the group said the 12.8 percent increase from November was the biggest one-month jump in 11 years.