Housing market

The home market continues to be active in Northwest Mississippi, according to a local realtors association, which said the average sale price for a home in the area for April was $229,132.  

The coronavirus pandemic has not put Northwest Mississippi home sales in quarantine, according to the Northwest Mississippi Association of Realtors (NWMAR). Homes continue to be sold and the median price for home sales in DeSoto County has grown.

At the same time, a new report has the four cities in DeSoto County among the healthiest housing markets in Mississippi.

The SmartAsset report lists Hernando, Southaven, Olive Branch, and Horn Lake in the top ten healthiest housing markets.

The average sale price for a home in the area for April was $229,132 according to monthly figures from the NWMAR. That is an increase of 8.99 percent from the April 2019 report.

The median sale price for a home was $224,900, which was 9.65 percent above the April 2019 figure of $205,100.

Year-to-date, the median sale price of homes in Northwest Mississippi was listed at $215,000, 10.43 percent more than the first four months of 2019.

In April, homes were on the market for an average cumulative time of 60 days, three more than April 2019. However, the median number of cumulative days on the market in April was nine, nearly a week less than the same month last year.

The increased time between listing and sale was to be expected with the uncertainty of the COVID-19 pandemic, NWMAR reported. The increased sold price was also expected, as there has been an inventory shortage for the past couple of years in the area. Once a home comes on the market, it is common to receive multiple offers within days of it becoming active.

Another reason for the heightened activity comes in historic low-interest rates. The Association expects rates to remain low throughout 2020, as reported recently by the National Association of Realtors Chief Economist Lawrence Yun.

The largest number of sold listings in April came in the range of $200,000-$249,999 with 71 homes sold. For the month, the 309 home sales by the association were 45 fewer than the same month a year ago.

Realtors are taking extra precautions and using unique means of showing and closing home sales. Some have gone to virtual showings, closings, consultations, and open houses. Agents and prospective home buyers will also wear items such as masks, gloves, and foot coverings when they enter a property.

“Our Realtor community has been so supportive of one another,” said NWMAR 2020 President Leigh Ann Carkeet. “We virtually meet on Tuesdays to share ideas on how to conduct our business in a safe manner. I am so proud of our Realtors for how they have adapted to this new normal.”

Brokers and realtors in Northwest Mississippi have the benefit of selling four of the top-ten healthiest housing markets in the state. That’s according to an organization that provides rankings on a variety of items, in this case, housing markets.

A personal finance technology company based in New York, New York, SmartAsset uses financial modeling to provide advice on financial decisions, such as buying a home.

In a recently released study on the top housing markets in Mississippi, Horn Lake was ranked second in the state behind Pearl, the number one healthy housing market. All four DeSoto County cities were included among the top ten, with Southaven ranked number three, Hernando at number five, and Olive Branch at number eight.

A rankings index factors a home’s cost as a percentage of personal income, the average days on the market, homes decreasing in value percentage, the average number of homes with negative equity, and the average number of years for a person or family to live in the home.

According to SmartAsset, “A healthy housing market is both stable and affordable. Homeowners in a healthy market should easily be able to sell their homes, with a low risk of losing money over the long run. In order to find the healthiest housing markets in the country, we considered the following four factors: stability, affordability, fluidity, and risk of loss.”

Horn Lake was tied with Natchez for fourth-best among the percentage of homes decreasing in value at 9.2 percent. Horn Lake also topped the state in the ease of selling a home with an average of 34.5 days.

SmartAsset used the latest available information for its rankings, which in this case are two years old from the U.S. Census Bureau.