A Big Welcome to the delights of fall we cherish - i.e. invigorating energy, cooler temperatures, brighter daytime and nighttime skies, football season, bright autumn landscapes, Halloween, MAR & NAR conventions for REALTORS®, and Thanksgiving Season. Fall 2016, however, also has a very serious tone in our community, state, and nation.

      Locally, we are considering whether we believe the future expansion of Hattiesburg into the 98 West Corridor and Rawls Springs areas will be beneficial to the citizens of these communities and the healthy growth of the Hub City at large. I personally believe a better choice for the 98 West area is to develop the 7th small city in Lamar County called Bellevue. This choice will open opportunities for local leadership, require less taxation with greater local and area benefits, and create better potential for increase in property values. In fact, I just learned last week that Lamar County management of 16th section land will not lease any of their holdings because they believe values will increase dramatically if Bellevue City becomes a reality. If you have not signed the petition, please consider doing so soon. The petitions are located at 21-22 Bellegrass Blvd. and the Canebrake Clubhouse.

       The Fall 2016 Market Pulse shows jobs are growing slowly (Hattiesburg’s job growth is currently -1.17%, but is estimated to grow 30.10% over the next 10 years.) and interest rates remain low. The housing inventory, however, is becoming more limited – especially in some area and pricing categories (see your market update insert).  Affordability continues to be a concern, especially for first time homebuyers plagued with college debt and lack of savings for down payments.

       Team REALTOR® Scott Holmes reported to our Team this week on a recent Hattiesburg Board of REALTORS® Forum designed to help create better professional results from builders, REALTORS®, appraisers, and lenders. Working through current challenges of ever-rising material and labor costs for new construction is a priority for builders as they work to hone to different price points required by the needs and demands of the public we all serve.

       Refining all of this to make it fit the Dodd Frank Consumer Protection Act and many other government regulations of the lending industry, as it relates to the required appraisal process, is a big effort for all of the professionals involved.

       “Buying a home is on average 34.8% cheaper than renting,” according to a recent Wall Street Journal article. This is a beautiful season to buy or sell a home so you can move and get settled before holiday season begins. Furthermore, it is a less crowded time to move with more flexible moving schedules and cooler temperatures for the heavy work of moving day. Our five Team Buyer Specialists are ready to guide you or your family or friends through the home buying process with caring devotion, knowledge, and expertise to smooth out your home buying experience.

       We are facing the most important elections of our lifetime. Let us do our best to elect leadership that will bring back the values of our heritage and bring honor to the high positions of public service!

       Thank you again and again for your trust, loyalty, and generous encouragement. Warmest wishes for a beautiful Fall 2016!