By Ashley Conroy - email
JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Nation-wide new home sales have plummeted to a record low according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
Sales reached a record low of almost 33-percent for the month of May. Overall, homes sales were down 2.2-percent. NAR said new-home-buyers' tax reports could have sent a false perception the market was turning around.
However, the Jackson Realtors Association (JRA) said Wednesday the tri-county area seems to be holding steady.
As the state's largest metropolitan area, Jackson has not experienced the drastic plunge in home sales as other metropolitan areas.
Recent college graduate Jordan Marusak is looking to buy his first house and said he wants his first home to be brand new.
"Looking for a three bedroom, two bath house, something pretty nice," said Marusak.
He said he's confident about purchasing his first home and isn't holding too much restraint.
"Maybe two-to-four hundred thousand would be good," Marusak said.
But Marusak doesn't fit the typical buyer in this market.
Jeanie Malouf who sits on the MLS Board of Directors for JAR and owns her private real estate firm said where Jackson is seeing a decrease in home sales, those homes may not be above the 200-thousand-dollar threshold.
Malouf said part of the reason could be because the lending process has changed drastically from several years ago.
"There's been so many new rules and regs that were not as rigid in the past as they are right now," Malouf said.
Nonetheless, home sales below this threshold are holding steady compared to national trends.
In April, 484 homes sold in Hinds, Madison, and Rankin counties. 12-percent of those were newly-constructed homes as compared to this May, when 10-percent of 468 homes sold were classified as new construction.
However, Malouf said homeowners looking to sell their houses could still face the simple truth of plunging home values.
"When we have to tell them that possibly that 40-dollar-equity base they were looking for is only around $20,000 in today's market," Malouf said.
Malouf also said one of the biggest mistakes she has seen from new home buyers is often they will finance a new car before buying their house.
She recommended the best approach to avoid a contract falling through or a higher interest rate is to wait to finance anything else until after the contract is finalized on that new house.
But for prospective home buyer Marusak, either way he's not too worried.
"I mean, it's a good time for me. I guess that's would I think, and I might be able to get a better price, and there might be more stuff available," said Marusak.
©2010 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.