About Town: An Email Interview with Laura Silsbee

news-laura-silsbee-163pxLaura Silsbee is an agent at LAH, and the founder of Mountain Brook Trading Company. She and her husband Meade have three children and live in Mountain Brook.

On Mar 29, at 8:02 a.m. info@abouttownsite.com wrote:
So what’s the current state of the Birmingham real-estate market?

laurasilsbee@lahrealestate.com wrote:
Times are a changing again in the real estate market, but this time for the better! We are having less inventory this year as compared with last year which means that there are more people buying again. Just in LAH alone on the residential sales side we have seen a dramatic difference in the upward swing. Our company had a total sales volume of $225 million compared to $170 million the year before. That is a 32% increase. In 2012 we had 797 closings and the year before we had 612. A 30% increase. Plus the average sales price has increased to: $282,498 from $278,897. All of this is very positive for our city.

On April 2, at 9:02 a.m. info@abouttownsite.com wrote:
What about commercial real estate?

laurasilsbee@lahrealestate.com wrote:
The LAH family is unique because we are both a residential and commercial company. On the commercial side we are seeing a much different world than what we saw in the past few years. In the early and mid 2000s we saw a lot of speculative development for shopping centers with large “anchor” stores, new office & industrial developments being built.

Now that the Birmingham real estate market is coming back after the recession, the transactions we are seeing and involved with are primarily owner-occupied small businesses. The “mom and pop” business owners of the town.

Another interesting thing is that office space is moving very slowly right now. The medical tenants are the main businesses that are moving into the vacant offices in town.

On April 3, at 7:42 p.m. info@abouttownsite.com wrote:
Is there is a major resurgence in the small “mom and pop” businesses?

laurasilsbee@lahrealestate.com wrote:
There are not necessarily more mom and pop businesses. However, as their leases expire these businesses are realizing it is cheaper to purchase a building instead of renewing the lease. The drive for this happening is because of the lower interest rates and the lower prices of the buildings. So it ends up being cheaper for these businesses to own instead of lease

On April 3, at 3:40 p.m. info@abouttownsite.com wrote:
Is it a buyer’s or seller’s market now?

laurasilsbee@lahrealestate.com wrote:
Actually, it is both a buyer’s and a seller’s market, which is highly unusual. It is a buyer’s market because most sellers are pricing their homes reasonably from the start, we have a good number of homes on the market to select from and the mortgage rates are still fantastic!!!

It is a seller’s market because there are many buyers now wanting to purchase again after a lull, the rates are great (which encourages the buyers to buy), and we have seen multiple offers on several properties.

On April 8, at 12: 12 p.m. info@abouttownsite.com wrote:
So you started Mountain Brook Trading just a few months ago on Facebook, and you already have something like 14,000 members; what’s going on with that group?

laurasilsbee@lahrealestate.com wrote:
I really had no idea it would grow to be that big at all. I didn’t even know MBT would take off. But when I started it my plan was to sell some good things that my family and I did not use anymore. These items were still of excellent quality and really too nice to donate. So I invited my local friends on Facebook, and then they invited their friends and so on. There are some great items being posted for sale everyday.

I have since started a Facebook page and I am working on a website to help promote our locally owned businesses within Birmingham. We have such a great town with great people that support these local businesses and I want to see them succeed.

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