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Real estate trends cause trouble for some buyers

If you have tried to rent or buy a house in the Oxford area recently and discovered that it’s a little harder than you might think to find your dream home in your price range, you’re not alone.

That’s made many area residents think outside the Oxford box and search for property in the surrounding areas of Lafayette County, Water Valley, and even New Albany and Pontotoc.

We asked professional Realtors their thoughts on Oxford and Lafayette County real estate trends.

Water Valley native April White, 41, moved to Oxford in 1993 and is the broker and owner of Right Way Realty. She became a real estate agent in 2005, and she said 2015 has been one of her best sales years.

“I’ve not seen it this good in a long time,” she said.

White said she’s noticed a few trends, including the fact that some older homes are bringing in as much or more money than newer ones. “Say someone spent $90 a square foot to build a house in recent years,” she said. “Now, they can sell it for $110 or $115 a square foot.”

Many people are searching for homes in Oxford, but they are sometimes hard to find in certain price ranges.

“Right now, I’ve got multiple buyers who need something under $175,000 in a good neighborhood,” she said, “and there’s not anything.”

They are seeking homes in subdivisions like Cross Creek and Shelbi’s Place, but they aren’t finding homes on the market in those areas, White said.

She said a home came on the market in one of the most popular single-family home neighborhoods about a month ago for $163,000.

“I showed it along with eight or 10 other Realtors,” she said. “I think within five or six hours, it had five or six contracts offered. It sold for $174,900.”

When clients can’t find homes in their price range in Oxford, they are directed to the surrounding areas.

“I’ve got multiple buyers right now that can’t find a thing,” White said. “I’m having to shuffle them into Water Valley, New Albany, etc. People want Lafayette County schools. There are people who want Oxford schools, but there is no affordable housing in Oxford schools.”

New Jersey native Pat McClure-Smith, a broker at Coldwell Banker, Pat McClure Realty Inc., lives in Oxford.

“Our market typically experiences a new cycle about every 10 years, changing from a buyer’s market to a seller’s market, and vice versa,” she said. “Everything is hot in Oxford right now because the real estate demand is high, and the supply of properties is low. Supply or demand affects the supply of the real estate market.”

McClure-Smith said areas in Lafayette County that are being considered for annexation are popular now among buyers because property values typically increase after an annexation.

Seller’s market

Columbus native Glenda Keenan lives in Grand Oaks subdivision in Oxford. She has sold real estate in Texas and Oxford the past 12 years. She is a Realtor with Kessinger Real Estate.

“The market today in Oxford is a “seller’s market,” she said. “Our inventory is low, so that means sellers can get a good price for their home or condo because of inventory. As a result, we are seeing homeowners renovating or updating.”

Keenan said Oxford is a good market because of two important factors. It’s a destination community, and, “it never hurts if Ole Miss athletics are winning,” she said.

There are several hot Oxford areas with new construction, such as Waterstone, Rosemont in Grand Oaks, Oxford Commons,  Wellsgate, and new condo construction, such as Creekside and West End.

“Fortunately, the Ole Miss alumni community is robust, and that makes the entire area of Oxford a hot spot,” she said. “The real estate values are increasing.” 

Keenan said Oxford is also expanding as a town because more people from other areas are purchasing second homes to enjoy all the town has to offer.

“We are seeing the northeast and west side of Oxford as potential areas where new development will happen,” she said, “and that is partly due to the building of Oxford’s new hospital. As a town, Oxford is growing and expanding in ways that are very attractive to people who have the ability to buy a second home.”

About LaReeca Rucker

LaReeca Rucker is a writer, reporter and adjunct journalism instructor at the University of Mississippi's Meek School of Journalism and New Media.

A veteran journalist with more than 20 years of experience, she spent a decade at the Gannett-owned Clarion-Ledger - Mississippi's largest daily newspaper - covering stories about crime, city government, civil rights, social justice, religion, art, culture and entertainment for the paper's print and web editions. She was also a USA Today contributor.

This year, she received a first place award from the Mississippi Press Association for “Best In-Depth Investigative Reporting.” The story written in 2014 for The Oxford Eagle chronicles the life of a young mother with two sons who have epilepsy, and details how she is patiently hoping legalized cannabis oil experimentation will lead to a cure for their disorder.

Her website is www.lareecarucker.com.

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