We greet March with thankfulness! Given the “Mississippi Miracle” or “Hattiesburg Miracle” that our community experienced on February 10th, we can’t help but be thankful! As we consider the miles of damage created by the EF-4 tornado that traveled through Oak Grove, Hattiesburg, Petal, and surrounding areas, the more thankful we become. Personally, I’m awestruck at the simultaneous manifestation of God’s power and God’s protection. The fact that there were no casualties amidst utter devastation is quite a miracle indeed! Especially when you consider that the tornado glazed by Forrest General Hospital and over several churches (on a Sunday) as well as a university where students were largely out of town because of a holiday.


In fact, several of our team members were actually hosting nearly two dozen open houses that afternoon during our monthly Tour of Homes - all within the general path of the tornado. We had team members criss-crossing the area between tour locations as the tornado sliced through the community. There were a lot of phone calls and text messages made to assure everyone’s safety. We praise God for His protection, and we stand ready to serve our neighborhoods as we recover. We know we can do this because we’ve done it before. Our Katrina experience taught us a lot of lessons that we can apply here, and we intend to combine that experience with our resolve to forge ahead!


In spite of all these events, we see the beginnings of sustained improvements within our local real estate market. The first 50 days of this year are pointing to a trend of increased market activity. Year-over-year data from the Hattiesburg Multiple Listing Service (MLS) shows the number of homes under contract, homes sold, and sales volume to be up 54%, 6%, and 11% respectively. These increases are offset to some degree as our level of supply remains elevated, with a 1% increase in homes actively on the market over the same time period last year. Prices in most price ranges also appear to have stabilized. How long this trend will last depends on a multitude of factors, as you can imagine. These factors include long term interest rates, the financial impacts on employers of the new health care legislation, and the employment climate of the Hattiesburg Metro area. Regardless of these unknowns, we certainly welcome the improvements.


We do recognize, however, that to hundreds upon hundreds of our community members and families, market trends and market improvements are not nearly as important as putting the pieces of their lives back in place. These families are experiencing a tremendous sense of loss as they grapple with the destruction of their homes, businesses, and places of employment - and for some - as they recover from any injuries they sustained. It has been heart-warming to witness our churches and volunteer organizations sweep in and offer aid with efficiency and tremendous support. These volunteers are a part of what makes our area a special place to live. We’re dedicated to being a part of that support system. Almost immediately following the February 10th events, we began receiving phone calls and requests to assist those in need of housing - whether rental or purchase. We’ve even had some investors step in and purchase properties that are suitable for storm victims to lease as they begin to pick up the pieces of their lives. We can’t help but be inspired by these community helpers, and are honored to join them.


One of our client couples had a particularly touching reaction to these events - I’ll call them Jim and Jane. Jim and Jane have the benefit of life experience, having lived in their Hattiesburg home for many, many years. After the events of February 10th, they were faced with the overwhelming loss of their home, and the widespread devastation of their neighborhood. They needed a “new place” to start again, and we are grateful to have been able to help them find that new place. As they stepped out of the elevator on their way to leave our office, Jane said, “Well Jim, let’s go start the rest of our lives.” Her words weren’t filled with bitterness or resentment. Instead, they were filled with a sense of wonder and resolve. How inspiring and humbling! We have a tremendous responsibility to the Jims and Janes out there, and we are ready to fulfill that responsibility. Please don’t hesitate to call on our team. We are anxious to help you and/or your loved ones “start the rest of [your] lives” just like Jim and Jane.


Moving forward…


Adam & The Team