If you live in Hall County you see new homes being constructed or maybe you have new neighbors moving into existing homes. All are positive signs for the real estate market but what are the professionals witnessing.
Scotty Ball, a real estate attorney, with Stewart Melvin & Frost, talks about what he is seeing currently and over the last year in the real estate market.
Scotty’s firm – Stewart Melvin & Frost – is one of Northeast Georgia’s largest and fastest growing law firms and is widely respected as an “Uncommon Practice” – the firm features an experienced team of attorneys, each of whom specializes in a particular practice area.
Question: Scotty, what are you seeing locally in the real estate market?
Scotty: We are seeing strong evidence that the market is back. The prime rate bumped up a little bit but the mortgage rate remained steady which is a good indication. We saw a lot of evidence in our practice last year and in the first month this year that the market is back.
2015 was our busiest year for closings since 2007 which was the year before the market collapsed. This year is starting out the same way. Usually January is one of our slowest months after the holidays but it was a very busy month. The growth across different segments of the industry including new construction which is very strong. For several years, it had vanished completely.
In all the articles I’ve read concerning real estate trends in the North Metro Atlanta region, two Hall County properties are mentioned as hot spots for new construction – Mundy Mill and Cresswinds. And South Hall, because of its proximity to the metro Atlanta, remains a hot spot for new construction in Hall County.
Question: Why do you think there has been such growth in our area?
Scotty: Most of the time people are moving within their community – “moving down the street” – when they buy a home. But we’ve witnessed a trend of families moving into the area not just for work but because they want their family to live here. More people are choosing to retire here, too. The chamber has done great job of marketing Hall County as a retirement mecca. With the lake and strong medical community, Hall County is an attractive area for retirees.
Question: As busy as you are with closings, I know you are working with the new forms in the closing process that the federal government enacted late last year. How significant were the changes?
Scotty: The changes went into effect in October. It’s the biggest change in the closing process since 1978. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau has integrated the mortgage loan disclosures under two Federal statutes the Truth in Lending Act the Real Estate Settlement Procedures Act of 1974.
This new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosure Rule is called TRID for short. It is a term anyone who has bought a home in the last few months has become familiar with. We can get more in depth next week about the new forms and what it means to the closing process which is actually no longer called a closing.