Dear Friends,

     The joy, hope, and reassurance of Easter has been a special blessing with beautiful choral music ringing forth from local church choruses and congregations and numerous well-attended special Easter services. Spring is truly here in all of its grandeur! Our Hattiesburg area has been breathtaking for a few weeks now. I wish all of you who have moved away could come back home to enjoy this beautiful burst of splendor. We invite you any time!

     Here at the end of the first quarter of 2018, changes are very obvious in the residential market! First is the imbalance of supply and demand. Homebuyers are experiencing some severe shortage of supply in the $100,000 - $200,000 price ranges in most locations. Petal has only a 1 ½ month supply in the $200- $250,000 range. At the same time, in the city and Oak Grove, the supply ranges from 7 ½ to 18 months in the $300,000 - $750,000 ranges. However, based on specific needs, such as location, amenities, features, or style, there are definite shortages in the $300,000 and above price ranges also.

     Secondly, I believe everyone knows that interest rates are rising (currently at 4.625% on Conventional, 30-year fixed.) A mortgage rate increase of 4.5% to 5.0% adds $60 for the typical monthly payment. Lenders will offer other concessions to cash in on rising demand. Just last week, I was involved with a buyer and lender working on a 1% down conventional 30-year mortgage and a 1.5% FHA mortgage- a good example of how creative lenders become to meet market demands. 

     Thirdly, inflation is rising. “Rising labor costs, increased government spending, and housing shortages are the main pressure points,” Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist. Though the inflation data is a concern, an easy way to hold down inflation is to build more homes. More inventory will mean a slower rise in home pricing.

     As Realtors, we are proud of the professionalism in our local Greater Hattiesburg Home Builders Association and the higher standards of our local licensed home builders. The challenges they face are intense as they work with constantly rising prices in materials and shortages in skilled labor force plus changing regulations. Our team is a member of the Greater Hattiesburg Home Builders Association in order to understand the issues, changing trends, and new regulations, and to create smoother relationships as we are involved in marketing newly constructed homes, presales, and custom homes.

     Another new trend: Many builders are switching to starter homes, which are sorely lacking. More first-time buyers are feeling the urge to get into the market before prices and interest rates price them out of the market. For years, builders focused on higher-end homes which promised higher profits. Now there are plenty of big houses and far too few smaller homes for younger buyers and not enough homes for the boomers and senior buyers who are ready for a smaller home with lots of amenities with one floor on a level lot.        

    Thanks to our outstanding Marketing Director, Jennifer Upton, our All-Star Team website continues to function as cutting-edge technology with 102,809 page views on our site year-to-date (3/27/2018).  Many of our clients comment regularly that our site is their “go-to” for much of their housing information resource. Most rewarding is when buyers come to closings and tell me they have been on our website every day for the past year!

    We currently need new properties to serve the needs of current buyers. Our team goal and focus is always to “sell for a better bottom line in a shorter marketing time”, providing a full “team” of highly- trained specialists. During the first quarter, our 6 Realtor team average days on the market has been 70, with 40 properties closed for a volume of $10,736,000- average sales price of $268,400. To put these numbers in clearer perspective, the average agent in our local MLS has closed less than 1 transaction in the first quarter (.89 unit).

    These accomplishments are made possible by your continued enthusiastic support. If you are thinking of selling or know of a friend or family member who may need or want to sell, our team is in position to serve those needs now!

 Happy spring celebrations to you and your family!