Housing News

Prospects for Mississippi after Hurricane Katrina

Problems were addressed to help brokers

After the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, the Mississippi Association of Realtors finally held its annual conference this year in what would have a positive turnout of brokers who are optimistic about the market.

The Sun Herald reports, “Tanya Gollott-Swoope, president of the Biloxi Ocean Springs Association of Realtors, compared the current economic conditions to Hurricane Katrina and said, ‘The strong will survive.'”.

“The convention was held at the Beau Rivage Resort, and (bank owner Mark) Cumbest, who has attended every MAR convention since 1976, said networking is as important as the training. He also is a member of the Mississippi Real Estate Commission and the state wind pool board. He said the cost of insurance continues to be the biggest challenge for real estate on the Coast… Before Hurricane Katrina, there were 16,000 customers in the wind pool statewide and now, he said, there are 42,000. The credit for new construction or retrofitting homes to higher hurricane standards is helping by reducing premiums up to 30 percent, he said.”

A good thing that we noticed about MAR is its support to brokers who need continuing education that are anchored on current market conditions. For example, the convention had electives in dealing with high foreclosure rates, risk management, short selling and license laws. Furthermore, the organization has set the REALTOR Day in February to “come together in a united voice at the Mississippi State Capitol to present the REALTOR perspective on key issues important to home owners, home buyers and real estate professionals.”

It’s important that brokers receive support from their organizations and the government. Improved knowledge in current market trends will enable them to remain current to up-to-date industry practices. However, it should not be limited to the state-mandated courses that they are required to attend. There should be more programs for realtors to enhance their skills most especially in states where the foreclosure crisis has hit the hardest.

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