Sal Ali is the director at InstaMortgage-Dallas and operates the branch with his brother from an office in The Realm Castle Hills. A Lewisville native, Ali and his brother began in real estate in 2012 at a veteran-focused mortgage company. In 2021, they joined national mortgage brokerage firm InstaMortgage, and opened their own branch and their services beyond the veteran community. The company focuses on housing markets in Lewisville, The Colony, Frisco, Plano and Dallas.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

What are some trends you are seeing in Lewisville and the surrounding housing markets?

After years of inflation and high interest rates, banks have begun opening mortgage programs to make loans more affordable. What I noticed is as soon as banks started marketing programs like down payment assistance or grants towards closing costs, they were allowing a new wave of buyers to come into the market. Low-income buyers in the Lewisville area can now qualify [for a mortgage], which has helped make housing affordable again. Since these changes, the housing market has increased substantially.

How are trends differing in other cities?

One of the biggest impacts of moving north that I've noticed is the property taxes are higher. Once you get to Lewisville—and the further you go north—the higher the property taxes. That's because it's all of these new areas and new developments. The taxes are high to support all the construction that's happening versus the older part of [the region] like Dallas and Fort Worth.

Are you seeing people leave Lewisville for areas with lower tax rates?

I see a lot of families moving to Lewisville because, yes, our tax rates are high, but the community support is amazing, and also the school district is even better. Big developments like the Grandscape mall really helped our area boom. Developments like The Realm Castle Hills and all the surrounding shops in this area are creating essential community-level support.

How would you describe the health of the market?

I think the health of the market for Lewisville is above average compared to the rest of the cities that I am seeing because of the location. It's such a healthy market because we’re so central and connected to the highways. It's in the middle of the highest tax rates in the north and the lower ones further south, and residents don’t have to sit through hours of traffic to commute to cities like Dallas.

Where do you think mortgage rates will go in the next year?

I can't guess further than the rest of this year. As we approach the election, historically speaking, the markets improve and interest rates get better. I do anticipate interest rates to go down, whether that is a quarter percent or a half percent at most, I do expect interest rates to decline through the rest of this year.

Is there anything else buyers should know?

It's important to contact not just one mortgage broker, but maybe two or three so you can get different perspectives of the same idea. That's very important because this is likely the largest investment of your life, and you want to go into that investment feeling comfortable and with a sound mind that this is the right choice.