This past Monday, the University of South Alabama’s Center for Real Estate and Economic Development (CREED) released its November report, which focused on local mortgage lending trends for 2020.
“In July, we examined the booming residential Baldwin and Mobile County residential real estate markets. In September, we discovered that commercial real estate markets were holding their own despite downturns in the overall national economy,” CREED Director Reid Cummings, DBA, said.
“This month, we turn toward mortgage lending, another critical aspect of our regional economy.”
Jana Stupavsky, the center’s assistant director, created a report covering Mobile and Baldwin County mortgage lending metrics, which highlighted sales of new and existing single-family residential homes, condominiums and commercial properties.
Data summaries indicated that total loan volumes for existing single-family residential mortgages hit a five-year high earlier this summer, topping out at $97.5 million in Baldwin County and $87.6 million in Mobile County; monthly loan transaction totals also reached a nearly two-year high in both counties.
Reflecting Baldwin County’s positive new home development activity, new home loans climbed to $48.9 million, a 46.1 percent increase over the previous high set in June 2018.
Likewise, Baldwin new home loan transactions reached a five-year high of 232 in June. Though loan volumes and transactions in both counties have fallen slightly since summertime peaks, activity remains brisk relative to the overall previous five-year period.
Condominium loan volumes and transactions tell a similar story according to the report.
Baldwin County monthly condominium loan totals reached a five-year high of $45.6 million in August. The 290 transactions closed in June 2020 was just barely under the five-year high set in June 2017.
Commercial mortgage transactions fell initially during the early months of the pandemic, but since then, have trended higher.
In Baldwin County, February’s monthly total of $24.5 million remains its high point for the year. Baldwin’s monthly totals reached their low point in May at $3.9 million, bounced slightly during the summer months, and finished September at $4.0 million.
A somewhat different pattern occurred in Mobile County over the same time frame with a peak monthly total of $44.9 million in February falling to a low of $3 million in May.
However, September monthly loan volumes reached their highest point in four years, finishing at $18.8 million.
The report went on to interview key bankers in the region to get feedback on the challenges facing the local real estate industry moving into 2021 with the current pandemic economy. Overall consensus indicated continued positive growth.
“It seems that notwithstanding some areas of caution, area bankers’ commentaries suggest we are on track for continued economic recovery and robust lending activity in the year ahead,” Cummings said.
“Though as we have learned in 2020, surprises can quickly change things. Our sincerest hope is that any which come our way will change things for the better all around.”
The complete November 2020 study pushed out by CREED can be found at southalabama.edu/colleges/mcob/creed/economicsnapshot.html.
HARGROVE FOUNDATION HOLDS VIRTUAL AUCTION
In lieu of its annual gala event, the Hargrove Foundation is holding its first-ever virtual auction. It started this past Monday, Nov. 30 and will continue for two weeks ending Friday, Dec.11.
Participants will have the opportunity to bid on items and services including travel vouchers, chartered fishing trips, spa packages, tools, art pieces, curated gift baskets and stocking stuffers among other items.
“COVID-19 has presented many challenges to our team this year, but we could not allow this pandemic to hamper our giving efforts,” Hargrove Engineers + Constructors President and CEO Ralph A. Hargrove said. “We are grateful to those who have generously contributed to this event as we continue to adapt and evaluate the needs of our communities while seeking opportunities to serve and to lead.”
So far in 2020, the Hargrove Foundation has contributed $100,000 to food banks, health care facilities and other pandemic-related causes throughout states where Hargrove offices are located, as well as supporting areas hit hardest by this year’s hurricane season.
Donation efforts also continue for evergreen causes such as the Hargrove Adaptive Toy Project, which modifies toy vehicles for children with mobility limitations, helping them gain independence, motor skills, vocabulary and more.
The Hargrove Foundation is the charitable affiliate of the Hargrove family of companies, funded by employees and donors, and is classified as a 501(c)(3) organization.
More information about the virtual auction can be found at hargrovefoundation.org/virtual-auction.
MCEI ANNOUNCES COASTAL PITCH WINNERS
The University of South Alabama’s (USA) Melton Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation (MCEI) recently announced the winners of this year’s Coastal Pitch Competition, which is a rebranding of MCEI’s Causeway Pitch Competition first held in 2016.
Due to caution from COVID-19, the entire event was held virtually. Students were allowed to enter a video submission and judges scored them individually to recognize social distancing protocols.
“We had good entries and gave away $1,750 in total prize money,” Thomas Nelson, Ph.D., and USA director of student competition said. “College of Engineering majors Bryant Baldwin and Rachel Chai took the first place, $1,000 prize with a truck bed trash can that was actually a fabric truck bed cover.”
The second-place cash prize of $500 was awarded to Sean Goosherst, a freshman in the College of Business majoring in entrepreneurship, with an artist-centered co-working space concept.
“Currently, I have been working on starting the business that I pitched for in this competition. I’m working with musicians and producers to help grow their careers as well as our platform to continue this on a larger scale,” Goosherst said.
Business major Sam Penque took third place, with an award of $250, for presenting the concept of a handmade paracord fishing rod and reel protector to keep kayakers from losing equipment.
“We don’t know yet if the finals next year in April will be in person, on Zoom or recorded, but all three have expressed the intention to move their ideas forward and plan on competing in the spring,” Nelson said.
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