Mississippi Coast home prices climbing

It was the best March since 2009 for those selling their homes in South Mississippi.

The March report from Mississippi Gulf Coast Multiple Listing Service shows the average sales price was $138,442, up 6 percent from February.

Real estate agents sold 437 homes, an increase of 135 from February and more than twice as many than sold during the recession years of 2009-011.

March typically is when sales numbers start to climb toward their peak in July and August. For the last three years, homes that sold in July brought the highest average price for the year and homes spent an average of 5 months on the market before they sold.

It's also the best start to the year for real estate sales since 2009. First quarter sales prices average $133,500, which is $3,000 more than the first quarter of 2015 and $11,000 higher than the first quarter of 2014. First quarter sales price have increased every year since 2012, when they hit a low of $109,300.

Other areas of the country report a shortage of listings but buyers in South Mississippi are seeing a fairly steady number of homes to tour. The 654 new listings in March brought the first quarter total to 1,788 properties, which is 100 fewer than in 2015 but 90 more than in 2014.