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Housing market in Pearl River County is strong, but limited

There is a need for more affordable housing in Pearl River County.

That is the observation made by three of the county’s real estate brokers.

Eric Bradley of Century 21 says in an emailed statement there is affordable housing, but the available inventory is lower than usual.

“That means homes are selling,” he said noting the average price of an affordable home is around $130,000.

Bruce Kammer of Coldwell Banker says the inventory his office is working with is probably “down a good third from where it was even two years ago.”

“I think we are down to maybe a six-month supply of houses if no other houses came on the market and that’s not a good place to be,” Kammer said.

Martha Ford of Ford Realty said the housing market is unpredictable.

“You do see trends, and the first part of this year, my office has seen a lot of people buying raw land,” Ford said. “We have really been selling a lot of investment properties.”

She cited some statistics from the Pearl River County Multiple Listings Service.

“These are approximate numbers, but currently there are approximately 29 homes in the city of Picayune listed under $100,000,” Ford said. “Currently listed at $100,000 and more within the city limits, the approximate count by the MLS is 37 homes.”

She said the approximate count for available homes outside of the city limits is 20 available homes priced at up to $100,000. Those same statistics also show the area outside of the city limits has approximately 157 homes priced at $101,000 and more.

One of the situations Kammer says he has noticed is young people are not rushing to buy a new home.

“They don’t have the credit and unlike past generations where people save to buy houses, they are coming in with very little money,” he said.

“The old days of doing a conventional loan with five or ten percent down are few and far between,” he said.

Kammer said that until some of the older houses on the market start selling, it is difficult for builders to construct new ones.

“There are a lot of custom homes being built which is filling the needs for those who can’t find an available home to fit their needs,” Bradley’s statement said.

“There are some jobs coming in and the economy in general is looking good,” Kammer said. “Our market is selling and top agents are making money.”

In his statement, Bradley said there is optimism about the market and the banking industry is relaxing regulations that allow more people to qualify more easily in the future.

“Interest rates are still low,” he notes. “Even though the Federal Reserve has raised the short term borrowing rate, it has not greatly affected the housing mortgage industry. You can still get a great rate with qualifying terms.”

Ford said a buyer can get a lot for their money in Pearl River County.

“You can’t build what you can buy right now,” she said “But at that price range, it’s the difference between a one-income family and a two-income family.”