Local housing market down in 2011 - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Local housing market down in 2011

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JACKSON, MS (Mississippi News Now) -

Flowood Police Officer Aaron Thomas still goes home to the same house in Brandon that he and his family have lived in for about five years. They tried hard to sell it, even dropping the price to $15,000 below its appraisal.

But after festering on the market for two years, Thomas says they took it off the market and made renovations instead.

"In retrospect I think we made the right decision," he says. "At one point we would have taken anything to get it off our hands."

House prices across the nation are one-third lower than they were in 2006. But they're still not selling as quickly as the real estate market would like. According to the Multiple Listing Service of Jackson, closed sales in the tri-county area dropped from 4,453 in 2010 to 4,247 in 2011. It's a decrease of 4.6 percent.

Some say it's because loans are still hard to come by, as lenders look for customers with higher credit scores. Local realtor Bret Baxter says it goes beyond the lenders.

"What we're finding more and more is access to mortgages. A lot of that is not lenders' fault, but regulators and government. Hopefully we will see some loosening up of that," Baxter tells us. "There's also a lot of foreclosure inventory out there that we're trying to wade through. It's selling. People are getting fair prices for homes. It depends on what part of town, the neighborhood, sometimes even the street they're on."

The December market had an uptick across the nation, and in Mississippi. But it's not recognizable to everyone.

"I'm not real sure," Thomas says. "We know several people that have had trouble selling their house, had it on the market for a while."

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