Welcome to my blog. Recently, I dropped off my son at a baseball camp at Ole Miss, I decided to try being a mystery shopper and explore the southern region. In KW Wealth's collection of investments like Prologist, NNN Reit, Southern Company, and DST investments with direct property ownership in the southern states, a big question caught my interest: Why invest in the south? Even though places like California, New York, Texas, Florida, and Arizona are known for their busy real estate, what about the possibilities in the southern states? I soon understood that to really figure this out, I needed more than just read different research and data in front of my computer– I needed to go there. I walked around the neighborhoods, checked out the property's holdings, and meet the business owners. But there was more than just what I could touch – being there made me feel the atmosphere, the services, how safe it was, and the overall feel. These things are super important when making long-term investment decisions. As I kept exploring, I talked with real estate agents and people who lived there. This helped me understand the trends in the market, how much properties were worth, and how they might grow in the future.
From university housing to shopping centers, I'm diving headfirst into the heart of the Southern states! And you know what's even more exciting? I'm not just reading about it in textbooks or glued to my screen – oh no, not me! I'm on a mission to see it all with my own eyes! I'll tell you what, the vibrant Southern culture has already captured my heart. There's something so magnetic about this place that I can't help but be drawn in. But wait, there's more! Real estate opportunities are buzzing around like bees in a honey jar, and I'm here to taste the sweetness of every possibility! It's not just about the fancy houses and booming businesses. Oh no, no, no! I want to soak up every little detail, understand what makes the Southern states' economy tick, and see what sets it apart. It's a unique privilege that allows me to delve into various aspects of the Southern states, from university housing to shopping centers, gasoline prices, local economy, demographic studies, and supermarket chains.
1. Labor supply: One of the fascinating observations during my mystery shopping adventure is the strong sense of community and family values that define the Southern states. Most residents have deep roots in their states and rarely consider moving to other regions. Amidst my real estate exploration, I came across the deep American patriotism and family-centric culture that underpins the Southern lifestyle. These core values foster a sense of belonging and create an atmosphere of warmth and hospitality throughout the region. Furthermore, a notable trend in recent years is the migration of individuals from the West Coast to the Southern states. The allure of affordable living, promising business opportunities, and the vibrant Southern culture draws many to this charming region. This continuity of labor support, often driven by large families with two or more children, creates a stable foundation for the local economies.
2. Agriculture-related industry: As I ventured through the enchanting Southern states, I was delighted to stumble upon exciting farming opportunities that caught my eye. Because of the humid weather, the landscape remains lush and green daily, making it a perfect environment for plants to thrive. One gem that piqued my interest is the potential for tropical fruit and vegetable farming businesses. Can you believe it? The climate here closely resembles the lands of Southern Asian countries, making it a year-round growing season, allowing for multiple harvests and continuous production of crops. But hold on; the excitement doesn't end there! As we drove to the airport, Mother Nature decided to showcase her power with the first-ever thunderstorm I experienced in a Southern state. The southern states are prone to natural disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, and floods. It felt like déjà vu from my visits to the Philippines and Malaysia – witnessing nature's majestic fury was both awe-inspiring and exhilarating!
3. University housing: I checked out student housing in Oxford, Mississippi, home of the University of Mississippi, also known as Ole Miss. This charming city boasts a rich history, a vibrant cultural scene, and a strong sense of community. The University of Mississippi infuses the area with a college-town atmosphere, significantly influencing the local real estate market. As I sat in their cafeteria, observing the dynamic flow of students, I noticed many Ph.D. students deeply involved with their different types of research programs, alongside plenty of law students. Perhaps the allure of affordable tuition attracts them there. This community perfectly embodies the essence of Southern living, offering a blend of modern amenities and the warmth of Southern culture. So I went into a few leasing offices around the campus, pretending to get on the waitlist. I was shocked to hear that the wait time is 18 to 24 months! The demand for housing near the university is soaring. On the other hand, like anywhere else, some areas in the southern states might experience changes in crime rates, or overall livability, which can affect property values and demand.
4. Entertainment business: Apart from its real estate offerings, Southern states boast a lively cultural and entertainment scene. This cultural heritage is displayed in events like the Oxford Film Festival, live music venues, sports events, theaters, and art galleries, contributing to its dynamic and youthful atmosphere. here are a few examples.
Nashville, Tennessee: Often referred to as the "Music City," Nashville is a hub for country music. It's home to numerous recording studios, music labels, live music venues, and the Grand Ole Opry.
New Orleans, Louisiana: Famous for its jazz and blues heritage, New Orleans hosts vibrant live music scenes, especially in areas like the French Quarter and Bourbon Street.
Memphis, Tennessee: As the birthplace of rock 'n' roll and home to Elvis Presley's Graceland, Memphis celebrates its musical heritage through festivals and attractions.
Atlanta, Georgia: Often dubbed the "Hollywood of the South," Atlanta has become a major hub for film and television production, hosting a variety of studios, soundstages, and production companies.
Miami, Florida: Known for its vibrant nightlife, Miami offers a mix of beachside clubs, bars, and restaurants that cater to diverse tastes.
Mississippi Blue: Mississippi is considered the birthplace of the blues, and cities like Clarksdale and Jackson celebrate this musical heritage through blues festivals, live music venues, and events.
By the way, the bbq is also delicious, which is the best I have tasted in my years of travel. The southern states' unique culture is deeply rooted in its history, sports, music, and cuisine. Experiencing traditional Southern hospitality, indulging in soulful cuisine, and immersing oneself in the state's rich musical legacy are some delights that residents and visitors enjoy.
5. Gas and local tax: The Southern states have noticeably distinct gasoline prices and tax structures compared to California. Gasoline prices in the Southern states tend to be lower ($2.89 per gallon) than those in California ($4.89 per gallon), making it a more affordable option for motorists. Additionally, the tax rates on gasoline in the Southern states are typically lower than California's relatively higher tax rates, contributing to the price difference at the pump. This variance in gas prices and taxation showcases the regional disparities in the cost of living and highlights the economic distinctions between the two regions.
In conclusion, the Southern states offer a unique and alluring blend of opportunities for real estate investments and a fulfilling way of life. As a mystery shopper in this enchanting region, I witnessed firsthand the profound impact of family values, industrial focus, and the growing manufacturing industry on the local economy. With the Southern states becoming a magnet for individuals from the West Coast, there is no doubt that the region's real estate landscape will continue to evolve and flourish.
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Kimmy Wan, Founder and CEO of KW Wealth Management LLC, has over 25 years of experience in the financial services industry. Kimmy formally served as Vice President-Senior Financial Consultant for Charles Schwab Corporation for 13 years. She also served as Manager of Asia Pacific Relationship Management and a Mutual Fund Operation Analyst for E-Trade Financial Corporation, later acquired by Morgan Stanley. For eight years, she led a team of 20 bilingual stockbrokers to service Asia and Europe, providing necessary industry and market research, data, and risk analysis to mutual fund portfolio managers.
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