Matthew Willis Earns Certified New Home Sales Professional (CSP) Educational Designation

headshotThe National Association of Home Builders’ Institute of Residential Marketing has announced that Matthew Willis has completed the requirements for the Certified New Home Sales Professional (CSP) educational designation. Matthew earned the CSP designation after completing the educational requirements and demonstrating excellence in new home sales. He is one of only 11 professionals in Alabama to have this designation. The Institute of Residential Marketing recognizes and promotes professionalism, education and ethics in the new home sales and marketing field.

“Matthew’s quest for education and desire for professionalism is well known throughout Auburn. And, of course, Three Sixty fully supports his commitment to that quest.”
Tricia Peterson, Three Sixty Owner

Matthew has been in the new home sales and marketing field since 2005 and works as a Realtor at Three Sixty. He has his Alabama Home Builder License with which he’s built several homes in Auburn and surrounding areas. Matthew is very active in and enjoys community involvement, including serving as a member of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce where he served as a diplomat. He also has served on the Business and Economic Committee for the Chamber and is a member of the National, State, and local Association of Realtors. Matthew holds many accomplishments, including the Diplomat of the Year Award (2009), Graduate of Leadership Lee County (2009), GRI (Graduate REALTOR Institute), and his Associate Broker License.

For additional information about NAHB’s Institute of Residential Marketing, visit www.nahb.org.

March Sales Increase by 30% from the Prior Year

Lee County had 131 residential sales in March 2015, an increase of 29.7% from the same period last year and only 3 sales shy of the peak number of sales to occur in March over the 10-year period of 2005 to 2015.  This increase in sales has a positive impact on our market in many ways. One example of how it impacts our market is with the days of supply.  Our market had 6.2 months of supply in March 2015, which was a 29% decrease from the same period last year and the lowest months of supply for our market in March since 2006.  Lower months of supply creates increased demand, which in turn creates higher selling prices.

In March 2015, our market reached its peak median sales price of $180,000 and its peak average selling price of $203,284 for the 10-year period of March 2005 to March 2015.  Existing home sales performed particularly well this month, as the median sales price for existing home sales increased by 39% from the prior year, and the average selling price for existing homes increased by 26% from the prior year.  New construction homes had a strong performance in March 2015 as well.  New construction homes’ days on the market decreased by 15 days from the prior year, and the number of building permits issued increased by 213% from March 2014 to March 2015.

For a the complete detailed analysis of ACRE’s March 2015 market data, please click here.

Summer is coming… so much to do in Auburn!

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Summer.  As a child, this word evoked excitement.  It meant no school, sleeping late, and just having fun.  As a parent of a school-age child and a preschooler, this word now evokes a bit of anxiety.  How do I keep my children entertained without using the TV or iPad or any other electronic device as a babysitter for 3 months?

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We are very blessed to live in a community that provides so many different summer activity options for our children.  Do your children like to play dress up?  There’s a Pirates and Princesses Acting/Dance Camp sure to entertain them and grow their imagination.  Do they enjoy the outdoors?  There are several Ecology camps sponsored by the Louise Kreher Forest Ecology Preserve you can check out.  Are they interested in trying a new sport?  There is a camp for almost every sport imaginable to teach them the basics and see if they want to pursue it further.  Both the Auburn and Opelika libraries have special summer activities and reading programs.  Many local churches have vacation bible schools.  The movie theaters and bowling alley both offer special summer activities and rates for children.  Our area doesn’t forget about the parents, either.  From outdoor movies and festivals, to concerts in the park and even “float-in” movies at local pools, there are plenty of activities for families to enjoy together.

As a Realtor, the numerous activities is one of my favorite selling points of our area.  Many of our area’s neighborhoods even offer pools, playgrounds, green spaces, sidewalks or walking trails for their residents’ enjoyment.  I am very thankful to live in this area where our children are given so many opportunities to grow their hearts, their minds and their bodies.    With a little bit of planning I’m really hoping I don’t hear, “I’m bored,” but rather, “Mommy that was so much fun, I can’t wait to do that again!”

February Sales Increase by 88% from the Prior Year!

Lee County had 122 residential sales in February 2015, a dramatic increase of 87.7% from the same period last year. Additionally, Lee County’s total residential sales in February 2015 were 96.8% higher than the five-year average of 2010 to 2014 and 84.8% higher than the prior month’s sales. This monumental increase in sales has a positive impact on our market in many ways. One example of how it impacts our market is with the days of supply.  Our market had 6.8 months of supply in February 2015, which was a 49% decrease from the same period last year and the lowest months of supply for our market in February since 2006.  Lower months of supply creates increased demand, which in turn creates higher selling prices. Our market reached its peak average selling price over a 10-year period and reached a record number of building permits over a 10-year period in February 2015.

Daily Real Estate News’s article from March 13, 2015 states that Freddie Mac forecasters are “expecting 2015 ‘to be the best year for home sales and new home construction since 2007, when total home sales were about 5.8 million for the year,’ according to their U.S. Economic and Housing Market Outlook for March. An improving job market is driving young professionals, ages 25 to 34, back to the labor force. The millennial age group now has 76.8 percent of its generation employed, as of last month. Freddie Mac economists predict that rents will continue to rise at or above inflation this year, which will likely push more prospective buyers into home ownership.”

For a the complete detailed analysis of ACRE’s February 2015 market data, please click here.

Finally, Spring! A great time to “Shop Your Yard”

IMG_1271 (2)I recently took a field trip out to our very own Tricia Peterson’s beautiful farmhouse to cut these snowballs and wisteria!  I arranged them in a beautiful silver golf trophy I had spotted at our agent Amy Smallridge’s home.  Trophies like this one, from Amy’s husband Ricky’s time as a pro-golfer, are a big collectable right now and I have known that that I wanted to use it at the right time.  I love to use things that tell a story about the people living in a home.  I have totally twisted Amy’s arm to promise me that she will NEVER hide this trophy away again.

All of you get out there and cut some beautiful flowers. There ARE so many things to choose from right now and if shopping the side of the road is not for you, then head to your favorite nursery. They are over flowing with gorgeous blooms.

2015 has started off with a bang!

With five new agents and two newly licensed agents, we are growing fast. We have been able to respond to the improvement in the real estate market with our unique approach. Three Sixty is a technology and marketing driven company with a great team environment and forward thinking leaders who are focused on keeping us ahead of the game in our constantly changing industry. Our fresh, new approach is working, and we would love to share more about our company with you. Start a conversation with us today!

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Interested in coming to work with us? Click here to find out more about Three Sixty today!

The Journey to “Where You Are to Be”

As one of the “Spotlight Agents” this month, I was asked to contribute something to the Three Sixty blog. Below is a meditation that I use, and that I hope can be useful to you. The goal is to inspire you to take a step back from your every day “busy-ness” and meditate on the beautiful path that we all take in this life.

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Hope, an endless horizon holding our hopes and dreams.

As you set your gaze off into the sunrise looking for the place you have desired, dreamed and longed to be, you don’t see it clearly.  Realizing it is going to take getting out of your comfort zone, you begin your journey, excited and with passion. The anticipation is like a little child hearing the approaching band playing the beginning notes of a parade yet not being able to see anything. Straining on tiptoes, moving about to get a glimpse, your heart is beating out of your chest it seems.  The high stepping band leader, the pretty girls twirling their batons in unison, the uniformed band members marching in step is approaching.

The process, the wait, the journey is maybe not what you thought it would be. Dark clouds come as disappointment, frustration, hurt and maybe even anger.  These feelings slow you down at times. The majestic colors of the beautiful sunrise on the horizon stir the excitement and you set your focus again on the fact that your hopes and dreams are being realized. The journey, the waiting, the disappointments and hurts are a very important part of the process to finding hope, to the dream, the destination, where you are to be.

January Sales Increase by 10% from the Prior Year

Lee County had 66 residential sales in January 2015, an increase of 10% from the same period last year. Additionally, Lee County’s days on the market decreased by 10.5%, or 19 days, since one year prior and by 19%, or 38 days, since one month prior. We currently have the lowest inventory level for the month of January since 2006 and the lowest months of supply for the month of January since 2006. Increased sales, decreased days on the market, decreased inventory, and decreased months of supply indicates that demand is outpacing supply in our market, starting off 2015 in a positive way!

For a the complete detailed analysis of ACRE’s January 2015 market data, please click here.

Agent Spotlight – 5 Question Quiz with Tricia Peterson & Lessie McCreless

Our 5 Question Quiz was so fun last month, we’re doing it again with our March Spotlight Agents. I’ve put myself on the hot seat this time, along with our beloved Office Manager, Lessie McCreless. Enjoy these fun and interesting answers!

Lessie McCreless

Lessie McCreless1. What question do you hate to answer?

What do you want to eat?

2. What famous person do people tell you resemble?  What famous person do YOU think you resemble?

I have never had anyone say I resembled anyone famous, but if you picture long, straight, brown hair parted down the middle, I favored Ali McGraw, from the famous movie of 1970, Love Story. Google her, as most of Team 360 were not even born when that movie came out!

3. What is the weirdest thing about you? Are you proud of it?

I like a banana sandwich with peanut butter on one slice of bread and mayonnaise on the other with barbecue potato chips on top of the banana slices. Sure, I’m proud of it… it’s delicious!

4. What is your favorite knock knock joke?

Knock, knock?  Who’s there? Imma!  Imma who?  Imma gon’ be late again.

5. What are you afraid of?

Snakes.

Tricia Peterson

Tricia Peterson1. What question do you hate to answer?

I don’t hate to answer it but I do get annoyed to get asked it “is your real name Patricia?”  Nope. Just Tricia.

2. What famous person do people tell you resemble?  What famous person do YOU think you resemble?

Just recently someone mentioned that I reminded them of a “young Sofia Loren”. What a huge compliment. I’m not so sure I see it though :). What famous person do YOU think you resemble? I think I resemble country music singer Sara Evans and have been told that from time to time as well. I think she is a lovely person inside and out! I definitely don’t have her voice though! That’s for sure!

3. What is the weirdest thing about you? Are you proud of it?

Brunch is one of my favorite meals but I don’t eat eggs. I’m starting to find a few more people in this camp with me. But most people seem surprised that I don’t. I really wish I liked them. There are so many great  dishes like frittatas and quiches that look amazing but I just can’t bring myself to take a big bite. I probably stopped eating eggs when I was around 5 years old.

4. What is your favorite knock knock joke?

Knock knock. Who’s there? Orange. Orange who? Orange you glad to see me?  I’m sorry. I’m not very original. Or funny. When I get people laughing it’s normally at me, not with me!  And I’m ok with that!!

5. What are you afraid of?

I’m going to keep this light…. So RATS!!! Can’t stand them. Disgusting. They are so small and really can’t hurt you but….. I could handle a snake any day but a rodent just gives me the heeby jeeby’s!!

Highlights from ACREcon – Discussing Real Estate Trends and our Economic Outlook

Carrie Davis Real Estate siteRecently I attended ACREcon, the Alabama Commercial Real Estate Conference & Expo, at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center in Birmingham. This was the 15th annual conference, and it included a lineup of outstanding speakers and a room full of real estate professionals from all over the state. National and statewide real estate trends were discussed, as well as the 2015 economic outlook and emerging trends. Two speakers in particular that thoroughly discussed real estate trends and were very informative were Jed Smith, the Managing Director of Quantitative Research for the National Association of REALTORS® and Anita Kramer, Senior Vice President of Urban Land Institute (ULI) Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate. The highlights from both speakers’ presentations are summarized below.

Commercial Real Estate Trends and Outlook – Jed Smith, Managing Director, Quantitative Research of the National Association of REALTORS®

The market is continuing to improve due to the following factors:

  1. Credit availability is good and getting better
  2. Consumer confidence is getting stronger
  3. The millennial generation and their impact on the market as they have improved income and transition from being renters to homeowners
  4. Foreign investment in U.S. properties has mainly occurred in primary markets in the past, but it is beginning to spill over into secondary and tertiary markets.

Real Estate Outlook:

  1. Job creation is expanding, and U.S. manufacturing is very competitive right now. However, there is still a lot of part-time employment, which means that though unemployment is decreasing, current employment levels could be better. The economy is considered to be at full employment when there is 5% unemployment, but our unemployment rate is still greater than 5%. Overall, the economy is performing below its potential, but it has upside potential. Smith stated that last year’s economy grew by 2.7%, and that 3% growth is expected this year.
  2. New construction was recovering last year and is increasing again this year, with 1.2 million new construction starts this year.
  3. Interest rates are down and are predicted to stay that way until the second quarter of this year.

The Residential Real Estate Market Outlook:

  1. Home sales are up, overall home prices are up, and building permits are up.
  2. Distressed sales have decreased significantly, accounting for less than 10% of monthly sales transactions nationally since July 2014.
  3. Days on the market (DOM) continues to decline. On average, homes are selling in three or four months or less now, while they formerly were on the market for eight to ten months.
  4. Alabama’s economic activity, employment trends, and number of building permits are moving at a slower pace than that of the nation, but they are still improving.

The Commercial Real Estate Market Outlook:

  1. Jobs and GDP are important commercial sales drivers. Both are expanding after many difficult years. New construction is increasing, and prices, sales, and rental rates are going up as well.
  2. Q4 2014 was a very strong quarter for the commercial real estate market
  3. Commercial Real Estate Forecast:
    1. Multifamily is currently seen as the least favorable sector because of the recent overbuilding. It is forecasted that the vacancy rate will slightly increase in the coming years while rents will slightly decrease.
    2. Retail is recovering and is seen as the second most desirable sector nationally with rising rents and declining vacancies forecasted.
    3. Industrial is seen as the most desirable sector at this time due to recent performance and forecasting, including rising rents and declining vacancies in the coming years.
    4. Some say the office sector is not so great, but others disagree. Class A office in major markets is performing very well though.
  4. With an expanding economy and expanding commercial sales, the overall commercial real estate trend is positive.
Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2015 – Anita Kramer, Senior Vice President, ULI Center for Capital Markets and Real Estate

As more capital flows into major markets and 24-hour cities, real estate prices are increasing. Capital then starts looking for less competitive opportunities in non-major markets. 18-hour cities have emerged as a result of this, creating significant growth in cities such as Austin, Denver, Charlotte, Atlanta, and Raleigh-Durham, among other 18-hour cities.

The millennial generation (age 14 to 33) and the baby-boom generation (age 51 to 69) will greatly influence the real estate market in the coming years, as these two cohorts account for 160 million people. More specifically, millennials over age 30 and boomers between ages 55 – 64 alone account for over 20% of the population. These two specific age groups will face major life changes soon, and their lifestyle decisions will affect real estate trends based on where they choose to live, to work, and to retire. Their decisions will determine the location and type of real estate they will use. Both groups currently show a preference toward walkable communities, which drives real estate trends further in this direction.

Technology is impacting all sectors. As stated by ULI’s Emerging Trends in Real Estate report, “Not a single form of real estate is exempt from the exponential expansion of technology. Technology is pushing change in space use, locations, and demand levels at an accelerated pace. It is now the norm to anticipate, strategize, and respond to new technologies before they are mainstream.”

Conclusion

Jed Smith’s and Anita Kramer’s presentations were very enlightening, and there were a couple of common themes that both speakers discussed. Both speakers stated that millennials will have a large impact on real estate trends and performance in the coming years. Additionally, both recognized that credit availability is good and capital is flowing, and as this continue to grow, the real estate market will continue to improve. It is an exciting time in real estate, full of growth, opportunities, and a positive outlook for 2015!