Swaps, upswings fuel house sales

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 17, 2001

The ripple effect of a healthy housing market is a positive force in the Natchez economy, realtor Glenn Green said.

&uot;The housing market in Natchez is alive and well and new construction is going at a good pace,&uot; said Green of Paul Green & Associates.

The development taking place in the Beau Pr\u00E9 Country Club area is only one example but a good one, Green said. His company has developed lots at the site and has built five houses on the fringes of the new club constructed south of Natchez in a picturesque setting.

Email newsletter signup

&uot;That construction is pumping literally millions of dollars into the Natchez economy,&uot; Green said. &uot;And even before we started building there, there were millions spent on the asphalting and other preliminary work.&uot;

A nationwide boom in housing may not be as rampant in Natchez, but, as Green said, &uot;It definitely is an industry.&uot;

Uncertainty about the area’s economy because of manufacturing layoffs and closings have led some families to postpone housing decisions, he said. &uot;They’re waiting to see what’s going to happen. So some things have slowed down.&uot;

Still, Dianne Brown of Coldwell-Banker Brown & Co. Realtors said, there exists now a wide variety of choice for new buyers and those wanting to move up to a larger house, for instance.

&uot;This is a good time to buy, with the interest rates down and so much to choose from. It’s a good, diversified, full market,&uot; Brown said.

Some housing market analysts estimate for every dollar a home owners spends on a house – fixing up, buying new furniture or appliances, landscaping – the economy gains by an additional 25 to 50 cents.

For some local businesses, the ripple effect is important to their financial success. Plumbers, electricians, carpenters, retailers and contractors benefit from construction, renovation and house swapping, said Andrew Ketchings, interim director of the Natchez-Adams Economic Development Authority, who also is restoring an old house for his family home.

&uot;Anyone who remodels, buys or renovates puts people to work and helps those who sell building supplies,&uot; Ketchings said.

Ketchings and his family are living in a rental house while waiting for their new home to be completed on South Union Street. Meantime, however, Gina and Bob Latham have made the former Ketchings residence on State Street their own.

&uot;The house was in really good shape,&uot; Gina Latham said. &uot;And everything I had looks like I bought it for this house.&uot;

Nevertheless, some projects to make the house the way they wanted it have progressed during the past several months, including a re-do of the master bathroom.

&uot;We’ve retiled, built a shower and put in new cabinets,&uot; she said.

New bathrooms and kitchens are good for business at Doug Brantley’s Bath and Kitchen Showplace.

Although more than half his business is work with large plumbing contractors in areas outside the Natchez region, Brantley likes to see the traffic moving briskly in and out of his spacious showroom on Passbach Street.

&uot;I can tell you the renovation market is definitely a strong factor in residential construction and has been for the 14 years I’ve been here,&uot; Brantley said.

New construction is a factor, too. &uot;A lot of fresh money has been pumped into the economy through the Beau Pre development,&uot; he said.

At Carpet Sales Carpet One, owner Clay Gibson said most people would rather redo their houses than go on vacation. That’s good for his business, too.

In addition to carpets and other floor coverings, Gibson has ventured into granite and other counter tops and ceramic tile.

&uot;It’s been a good year for us,&uot; said Gibson, &uot;People are refinancing and remodeling.&uot;

Like others in business owners affected by the housing market, Gibson said that he has seen some nervousness about the future among customers.

&uot;But Natchez is really such a neat place to live, and I feel positive about the future. We feel good about the economy.&uot;

He is so positive, in fact, that he just accepted a large new shipment of ceramic tiles.

&uot;This is such a big shipment, 20,000 square feet of ceramic tiles, that I need more warehouse space. This is enough to do maybe 40 houses,&uot; Gibson said.