Regardless of the area of The Magnolia State from Jackson to Tupelo, from Gulfport and Biloxi to Hattiesburg and Southaven to Greenville or anywhere in between, Mississippi has been decimated by the mortgage meltdown and the global financial collapse that followed it.
Mississippi like all other states has felt the brunt of the foreclosure crisis. Although Mississippi has been hit harder than most any other state in the nation. MS foreclosure listings have increased to such a degree that the state, as small as it is 7th in the nation for the number of foreclosures per housing unit. This unwelcome statistic does not bode well for the future of the economy in a state that has been effected by both natural and manmade disasters in recent years. Real Estate is a different matter entirely as the high number of foreclosures does represent opportunity to real estate investors. Investors who plan on taking advantage of the down turn in the economy will reap greater rewards for being forward thinking enough to see the benefits of buying undervalued homes in a down economy.
The mortgage meltdown that has reduced the prices of homes across the state had less to do with home values or desirability than it did with faulty loan programs that were nothing more than ticking time bombs. Combined with unstable loan programs was a lending institution that was ripe with fraud and abuse which exacerbated the problem and therefore the number of mortgages that eventually went to foreclosure or will go to foreclosure in the next several years.
Since Katrina in 2005 Mississippi has been on a downward economic spiral and only recently has seen signs of improvement. Katrina which is better known for the damage inflicted on Louisiana nearly destroyed one of Mississippi's largest trades. Tourism which relies heavily on gambling has been an economic leader for the state since 1990 was nearly wiped out completely when waterfront casinos were flooded and Mississippi lost an estimated $500,000 of daily tax revenue and the businesses that relied upon tourism quickly folded. The Governor of the state reacted by allowing gambling off of the waterfront and Mississippi is slowly regaining its standing as the second largest gaming state in the nation.
Mississippi is not a highly diverse economy and the gaming industry illustrates that point very clearly. The state ranks at the bottom or near the bottom of several important categories such as education where Mississippi students ranked lowest in both math and science. Mississippi ranks second highest in receiving federal assistance per capita and is the second lowest in Household income. These statistics contribute to Mississippi being the 9th lowest state regarding population growth and the higher than average unemployment of 10.9 percent.
This is not all bad news for Mississippians or real estate investors within the state as the population of the state does remain stable unlike other states that have recently shown a negative population growth as citizens literally give up on a state and migrate to areas of the country that show greater potential for employment. The people of Mississippi don't appear to be showing any signs of a mass exodus which means that the housing market should level off and begin to regain its strength more quickly than many other states.
Industries that are important to Mississippi are manufacturing, agriculture, food processing, cash crops and tourism. These industries have all seen little growth or negative growth over the past decade. This lack of a clear boom opportunity makes housing that much more desirable for investors looking to increase their net worth in a state that doesn't show signs of any immediate growth opportunities but does represent a steady growth potential as the global recovery continues to draw itself out of the low tide it was in at the end of 2010.
Real Estate investment in general and foreclosure homes in particular will continue to be the highest growth industries in the state. Wise investors will steer clear of more rural areas and concentrate their focus on foreclosures in metropolitan areas such as foreclosures in Jackson, foreclosures in Gulfport, foreclosures in Hattiesburg, foreclosures in Biloxi, foreclosures in Southaven, Meridian and Tupelo.