Thanks to Miriam Seale for providing our program last week.
Meeting March 21, 2017
President Jaclyn Adams presided over the meeting. Thanks to Lynn Walton who gave the invocation and to Kory Moore who led us in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Thanks also to Wes Brooks who served as our greeters today.
Sean Priebe sat in for Tracie Fowler today and recognized our visitors and visiting Rotarian. Phillip Pitts is visiting from the Petal club but has applied for a transfer to Hattiesburg Rotary. Paula Brahan has as her guest Cory Ferraez.
Jaclyn noted that...
...Paula just returned from the PETS conference this past weekend. She is preparing to take the club’s leadership role in late June.
Jaclyn recognized Phillip Pitts and welcomed him to the club as a transferring Rotarian. He noted that he is the owner of Paris Jewelers for the past 15 years. He and his wife and three children live in Petal. He is looking forward to involvement with our club.
Jaclyn recognized Lynn Walton who is heading up the Rotary 50/50 Raffle. If you have not yet received your tickets, please get with Lynn. Ticket sales are not mandatory but every Rotarian is being asked to sell four $100 tickets for a 50/50 raffle. The proceeds will replenish the club’s reserves for the coming year. The raffle drawing will take place on June 27th.
The final 100 hours of service project for our club is scheduled for April 6th when our club will read to 100 students at Hawkins Elementary. A few reading slots are open and every club member is invited to participate. Volunteers are also being asked to sign up for the April Meals on Wheel delivery. Jaclyn also reported that our club sold 40 Blue Dog tickets for the District Conference drawing raising $200. The drawing will take place during the District Conference scheduled for Mobile, AL Mary 19-21. Sean Priebe noted that you should consider attending a District Conference if you’ve never attended one previously. It will change your attitude about Rotary and our impact.
Lynn Walton then introduced today’s guest speaker, Miriam M. Seale, President of the Hattiesburg Area Association of Realtors. Miriam has Elizabeth Livingston with her today to assist with the presentation. Elizabeth is the Marketing Coordinator for Crye*Leike.
Miriam noted that the Real Estate market varies from state to state, city to city and even across town. She noted that “all real estate is local” and if you’re thinking about buying or selling property, make sure you do your research about the local market or hire a Realtor who will help you. Realtors are strong community advocates and supports because they want to work in a strong community.
Nationally there is currently a lull in construction which is slowing existing home sales somewhat. January sales are about 2.8% below last January’s sales nationwide  however there is no decrease in southern US sales. Other factors that potential buyers and sellers face include an increase in property values, an increase in mortgage rates and a shortage of available properties. NAR maintains that we have probably seen the last of the historically low mortgage interest rates however they still remain well below rates as far back as 1976.
Locally the Hattiesburg market represents about 19% of total residential sales with 356 homes sold last year at an average sales price of $160,000.
The Oak Grove market represents about 31% of all sales with 591 last year. The average sales price in the Oak Grove market last year was about $208,000, including the Canebrake area.
Petal sales represent 13% of the market with 251 sales at an average sales price is $150,000. The Purvis and Sumrall markets represent about 5% of the total sales each. The Purvis average sales price is $144,000 and the Sumrall average sales price is $180,000.
January 2017 residential sales rates are up about 13% in all areas other than Oak Grove. That market remained flat.
Regardless of the market or the price, Miriam notes that a home is still a very good investment.
Realtors must belong to the National Association of Realtors and sign a code of ethics. Realtors have the expertise needed t help you with complicated real estate transactions. Realtors can help you go beyond just the internet to research a market. They possess good negotiating sills, are well connected with their local communities and will work when you need them to work.
She invited Rotarians to join the Hattiesburg Area Association of Realtors for their annual fundraising effort on April 8. They will host a crawfish boil from noon until 4 pm at Patio 44. All proceeds from the event will go to the local Habitat for Humanity program. Visit the HAAR website for more information.
With no other business to discuss, the meeting was adjourned by Jaclyn with our motto, “Service Above Self”.