After two snowfalls and a substantially colder-than-normal winter in the Pine Belt, it was nice to spend most of February with milder temperatures - reaching into the 80's for several days!  From the looks of things, Spring Fever has sprung across our community along with the budding Bradford Pear trees that line my driveway.  The anticipation of new life and a new season of outdoor activities - from baseball, to spring break trips, to the beach, Easter, and the opening of swimming pools just around the corner - is something we get to celebrate a little sooner in South Mississippi than those who live several hours north of us.  What do you have planned for Spring Break? Amelia and I will mark 15 years of marriage in early May and will be celebrating over Spring Break by taking a cruise (it's easier for our parents to help with our girls when they are out of school), and we are so excited about this journey!  We've discovered how much we enjoy cruising, and we're especially excited about our adventure/celebration which will take us to the Panama Canal for the first time in our lives!  We'll be sure to take some photos and share those!  It's been on my bucket list to visit since I was a little boy.  Amelia's probably not as big of a geek as me about the Panama Canal, but she's looking forward to it as well.

     Things have been busy-busy at The All-Star Team, REALTORS.  In January I shared a bit about the "12-Week Year" concept for goal setting that we were adopting to begin 2018.  The entire team has been working on their goals - me included!  It's been helpful to have areas of specific focus for our business.  For me, that has included a more deliberate effort to connect with our clients and friends - taking the time to remind each of you how important you are to our business, and how thankful we are to serve you and your families.  Creating and fostering authentic connections with each of you is something that is rewarding and beneficial to all of us.  The lines of communication are open, so don't hesitate to reach out with anything you need - or just to grab lunch or dinner somewhere and catch up on how you're doing.  We take pleasure in being your go-to resource for information and knowledge about our area.  I was reminded of this again late last week when one of our newest friends (i.e. clients) and Greater Hattiesburg residents e-mailed me asking for various recommendations or suggestions for a variety of service providers as he and his family set up their new home in the area.  Helping in this way is something we enjoy doing.  

     The market has certainly been active since the beginning of the year!!!  As of this writing over half of our listed inventory has pending contracts on it and are headed to closing!  This may sound like a great problem to have as a real estate brokerage, but it has brought our attention to one crucial aspect of our business - and that's the constant need for NEW LISTINGS!!!  We are in need of new inventory in all of our market areas including Oak Grove, Hattiesburg, and Sumrall, but the Petal market is where the need is most statistically apparent.  Currently the total active listings (homes available for sale) in the Petal sub-market is approximately 24% less than it was this same time last year; and new listings on the market to replace sold inventory is down by nearly the same percentage.  We are presently working on bringing several dozen pieces of property to the market in the coming weeks throughout our market, but these additions will still not replace what we have currently under contract.  What does this mean for you?  Perhaps it's an opportunity to make a move yourself - especially if you have a property that migrates toward the median needs of our markets.  And certainly, if you hear of anyone who needs to sell their property, we are ready to serve.  We have been able to beat the market averages for Days on Market as well as average yield per sale by bringing well-prepared and attractively-presented properties to the market.  We employ our team approach to partner with our sellers, using our market insights to inform just the right strategy to prepare a property for market and improve the overall chances of success.

     On the buying side, interest rates continue to tick up little by little, even though they remain historically low.  On the day of this writing, rates for a qualified borrower with a good credit score were hovering in the low 4% range according to Sherry Stuart of Trustmark Mortgage.  A Conventional 30-year mortgage (minimum 5% downpayment) was 4.375%; FHA/VA 30-Year mortgage (3.5% to 0% downpayment) was 4.125%; and a USDA 30-Year Mortgage (0% downpayment) was also 4.125% - all of these rates include 0.125% origination fee.  With tax refunds coming in to help cover a downpayment (if required) as well as closing costs, it may be the right time to enter the market as a purchaser and lock in a rate now, as they are expected to continue to rise over the course of 2018. In spite of reduced inventory, there remain numerous opportunities in our market for buyers - especially if they're willing to be a bit flexible.  Overall, the Greater Hattiesburg Market has traditionally yielded significant value for the dollar when purchasing housing, and we still find that to be the case day-in and day-out!

Whether it's selling, buying, investing - or connecting within our community - we thank you for allowing us to be your first resource and your REALTORS for life!!!

Adam & Team