Hattiesburg is located in Southern Mississippi between Jackson, Gulfport, Mobile, and New Orleans and is home to about 168,000 residents in the metro area. Hattiesburg is often referred to as the Hub City due to its proximity to major markets like Atlanta and Dallas.
While not as well known as nearby Laurel (which became a population destination thanks to HGTV’s Home Town), Hattiesburg was recently ranked as the 2nd best city to live in Mississippi, right behind the City of Madison just north of Jackson.1
Home values in Hattiesburg are still relatively affordable, and both the job market and population are growing. The metro area is home to four colleges and universities, major employers such as Kohler, Johnson Controls, University of Southern Mississippi, and the Camp Shelby military base.
Here’s more of what investors need to know about investing in Hattiesburg, Mississippi in 2021.
Although home to less than 170,000 people in the metropolitan area, the city of Hattiesburg is one of 391 metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs) in the U.S. As an MSA, Hattiesburg is able to apply for federal grant opportunities to move the city forward, accelerate job growth, and recruit and retain the incredible talent that the city attracts, according to a report from News 12 WHLT.2
Key Population Stats:
- Hattiesburg is home to just over 46,000 people with more than 168,000 residents living in the metropolitan area.
- Population of Hattiesburg has grown by about 1% between 2010 and 2019, while Metropolitan Hattiesburg population grew by 13% over the past year (2019), according to Data USA.3
- Hattiesburg MSA encompasses Covington, Forrest, Lamar, and Perry counties and is part of the Pine Belt region.
- Hattiesburg is located between Jackson, Laurel, and Gulfport, Mississippi and is less than two hours by car to New Orleans, Louisiana.
- Median household income in Hattiesburg is $48,359, while per capita income is $25,247.
- Median age in Hattiesburg is 35.6 years, with millennials making up 28% of the population base.
The job market in Hattiesburg has grown by nearly 12% year-over-year, according to the most recent information from Data USA. In fact, the Hattiesburg metro area was one of only 28 metro areas that experienced job growth during the pandemic, coming in 2nd place just behind Fond du Lac, Wisconsin.4
As the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports, unemployment in Hattiesburg is now 7.0% (as of June 2021). Employment sectors showing the strongest signs of growth include leisure and hospitality, manufacturing, and trade and transportation.5
Key Employment Stats:
- GDP of the Hattiesburg MSA is nearly $6.4 billion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and has grown by about 23% over the past 10 years.6
- Unemployment in Hattiesburg is 7.0% (BLS, June 2021).
- Employment in the Hattiesburg metro area has grown by 11.8% year-over-year (Data USA, as of 2019).
- Top manufacturing, distribution, and service employers in Hattiesburg include Mar-Jac Poultry, Channel Control Merchants, Kohler, Forrest General, The University of Southern Mississippi, Hattiesburg Clinic, and the military post Camp Shelby located at the southern border of Hattiesburg.7
- Advanced and high-tech developments in Hattiesburg include The Garden, an innovation and commercialization park owned by the University of Southern Mississippi, and The Accelerator, a $28 million, 60,000 square foot state-of-the-art high-tech incubator.8
- Midtown Hattiesburg is a master-planned, mixed-use development connecting the University of Mississippi, Forrest General Hospital, and Hattiesburg Clinic.
- Greater Hattiesburg is home to the University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey University, Jones County Junior College, and Pearl River Community College.
- Nearly 89% of the residents of Hattiesburg are high school graduates or higher, while more than 26% hold a bachelor’s or an advanced degree.
- Transportation infrastructure of Hattiesburg includes three Interstate and US Highways, three freight rail lines, the Hattiesburg/Laurel Regional Airport, and the shipping ports located at Gulfport/Biloxi, Mobile, and New Orleans.
Real Estate Market
Hattiesburg, Mississippi is ranked by Milken Institute as one of the best performing tier 3 cities, based on key investment criteria such as job and wage growth, high-tech GDP, and housing affordability.9
Situated in the Mississippi Pine Belt, Hattiesburg in Lamar County is located in the middle of the triangle anchored by Jackson, Laurel, and Gulfport, three cities recently ranked by TurboTenant as the best places to buy rental property in Mississippi.10
Although home prices in Hattiesburg range as high as $5.2 million, the area has affordable homes, condos, and multifamily properties starting at just $4,500, according to Realtor.com (as of July 2021).11
Key Market Stats:
- Zillow Home Value Index for Hattiesburg is $156,341 as of July 2021.12
- Home values in Hattiesburg, Mississippi increased by 5.0% over the past year and have grown by more than 18% over the last five years.
- Median listing price of a home in Hattiesburg is $197,500, according to the most recent report from Realtor.com (July 2021).
- Median listing price per square foot for a home in Hattiesburg is $110.
- Median listing prices of homes in Hattiesburg are trending up 9.9% year-over-year.
- Hattiesburg Historic, University Heights, and Parkhaven are three neighborhoods in Hattiesburg recommended by Realtor.com as the best places to consider buying or renting.
- Of the 19 neighborhoods in Hattiesburg, University Heights is the most expensive with a median home listing price of $225,000 while Mobile-Bouie is the most affordable neighborhood with a median listing price of $18,500.
Strong Renters’ Market
Real estate investors focusing on affordable housing rentals may find Hattiesburg an ideal place to invest by following in the footsteps of an institutional investor.
Last year, BancorpSouth Bank and the Federal Home Loan Bank of Dallas awarded a $750,000 Affordable Housing Program grant to the Hattiesburg Housing Authority to build 76 new, affordable one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. The grant will help fund the $13.5 million project to provide new rental housing units in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.13
Since some tenants may prefer living in a single-family rental home, Hattiesburg may present an opportunity for the SFR investor.
Key Market Stats:
- Median rent for a 3-bedroom home in Hattiesburg is $1,359 per month, according to the most recent report from Zumper (August 2021).14
- Rents in Hattiesburg for a 3-bedroom home have increased by 21% year-over-year.
- Single-family homes in Hattiesburg make up 63% of the housing units in the market, followed by multifamily and mobile homes.15
- 38% of the housing units in Hattiesburg are occupied by renters.
- Median age in Hattiesburg is 35.6 years, nearly three years younger than the State of Mississippi and the U.S.
Historic Price Changes & Housing Affordability
Two of the key metrics real estate investors use when analyzing a market for investment are the House Price Index (HPI) and the Housing Affordability Index (HAI). Both data points can help to forecast the current and potential future demand for rental property in Hattiesburg.
The Freddie Mac House Price Index report is one good source to use for measuring the typical price inflation of a house in Hattiesburg. According to Freddie’s most recent HPI report (July 2021), home prices in Hattiesburg have increased by over 12% year-over-year:16
- June 2016 HPI: 136.0
- June 2021 HPI: 174.2
- 5-year change in home prices: 28.08%
- One-year change in home prices: 12.74%
- Comparison pre-2008 peak: 22.73%
The Housing Affordability Index (HAI) uses 100 as a balance point to measure if a resident with a median household income can normally qualify to purchase a median price home. The higher the HAI, the more affordable a market is, and vice versa.
Based on the most recent HAI data through July 2021, the housing affordability index for Hattiesburg is 170. This means that houses in Hattiesburg are relatively affordable to buy.17
Quality of Life
Hattiesburg is ranked as the 2nd best city to live in Mississippi, according to a report from local news WDAM 7, coming in just behind the City of Madison north of Jackson. Rankings were based on key factors such as employment, housing, quality of life, education, and health.18
Key Quality of Life Stats:
- Cost of living in Hattiesburg is 17% less than the national average, based on the most recent information from HomeSnacks.19
- Niche.com gives Hattiesburg an overall grade of B+, with high marks for diversity, family living, public schools, and nightlife.20
- Despite its small size, Hattiesburg is home to a surprising number of art and culture venues, including the Saenger Theatre, the Lucile Parker Art Gallery, the University of Southern Mississippi Art Gallery, and the African American Military History Museum.
- Hattiesburg is home to two main university campuses: University of Southern Mississippi and William Carey University.
- Forrest General Hospital in Hattiesburg is ranked as the 4th best hospital in Coastal Mississippi by U.S. News & World Report.21
Get Out the Map
Where to begin your search? Roofstock created a heat map of Hattiesburg based on our Neighborhood Rating, a dynamic algorithm that enables you to make informed investment decisions by measuring school district quality, home values, employment rates, income levels and other vital investment criteria.
DARK GREEN: 4-5 star neighborhood
LIGHT GREEN: 3.5-4 star neighborhood
YELLOW: 2.5-3 star neighborhood
ORANGE: 2 star neighborhood
RED: 1 star neighborhood
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