Brunswick County Real Estate market trending in positive direction

By Sam Hickman
Brunswick Beacon
Tuesday, January 27, 2015 at 3:45 pm

BOLIVIA — As numbers from last year’s trickled in at the beginning of the year, local real estate brokers had plenty of reason to be enthused about the market again.

Annual sales numbers obtained by the Beacon last week show that Brunswick County had a 7 percent increase from 2013 to 2014 in total sales revenue, which mostly include the housing market, according to figures from the Brunswick County Association of Realtors.

Leland is not included in the data provided by the Brunswick County Association of Realtors because is part of the Wilmington area multiple listing services when data is compiled, Carolina Plantations owner and broker-in-charge Doug Terhune said.

Date show 3,232 total sales transactions in 2013 while 100-plus more sales were made in 2014 — a 3-percent increase.

Brunswick County Association of Realtors CEO Steve Candler and administrative assistant Cynthia Cumbee attribute to the rise of total sales revenue and transactions to an improving economy.

“We’re encouraged by these recent trends,” Candler said. “These numbers are reflected by the fact that membership has increased in the association in the last couple years. The economy is improving enough to bring these folks back in the fold.”

When the economy began to plummet in the mid- to late 2000s, the housing market was no longer one that benefitted sellers, association member and Realtor Bruce Williams said.

“I’ve never seen it in the industry drop so dramatically,” Williams said. “To see it move and turn in the right direction, like it’s doing now, is certainly heartwarming. When the economy began to struggle, it was as if everything was just going downhill. Buyers, sellers, Realtors, moving companies, plumbers, electricians, roofers, the economy affects all of those individuals.”

“Those were lean and scary times for Brunswick County,” Terhune said. “There were several factors that fueled the downturn.

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The leading edges of the baby boomers were starting to retire. Developers and builders in this region couldn’t cut down trees and put four stakes in the ground fast enough.

“Back then, we were really selling virtual communities. When the economy halted, many developers were so leveraged that when they didn’t have a revenue stream, they couldn’t continue to stay open. Within years, thousands of people who bought home sites in these virtual communities had to decide whether to pay mortgage on their home in Maryland or pay the mortgage on their home site in Ocean Isle Beach. The value of land precipitously dropped to, in some cases, as much as 5 to 10 percent of the prices paid by this group of baby boomers.”

Terhune credits the upward trends, in part, to much better interest rates.
“The interest rates have been huge,” he said. “People back in the 1980s, in that market they paid 11 to 16 percent interest in a home at one point. Four percent interest rates, that’s like free money.”

Carolina Plantations conducted market research that showed almost 10,000 to 15,000 baby boomers were retiring per day, Terhune said.

“If those people have the means, they want to leave high taxes,” he said. “They want to leave the cold weather. They want to leave the congestion. They want to leave the bad traffic. They want to go someplace warmer and affordable.”

When the economy took a downturn, the baby boomers no longer had the resources to leave their permanent homes in the northeast region of the United States.

Terhune said those with the resources to move are starting to buy homes in Brunswick County again for several reasons. Prospective buyers always look at what he calls “the stuff.”

“They don’t want to live in the big city,” he said. “They want to be near the beach in a warm climate in an area with great medical services, shopping, dining, entertainment and airport accessibility. That’s what they’re looking for. Those folks don’t want to be isolated.”

When Terhune analyzes the east coast between Richmond, Va., and the Georgia-Florida boundary, he knows why Brunswick County has been so successful in landing retirees.
“The only other area that has what Brunswick County has is perhaps Wilmington, and the Hilton Head (S.C.) areas,” he said. “But even with Wilmington, people want to move away from that congestion.”

Terhune pointed out places like the Outer Banks, which is too isolated, Charleston, S.C., which has a big-city feel, and Savannah, Ga., as areas where retirees don’t want to settle when moving from a populous area in the north.

“Brunswick County has the stuff these individuals are looking for,” he said. “Right now, we’re in a rooftop economy. Brunswick County is building lots of rooftops.”

Terhune said Ocean Ridge has more than 30 homes under construction; St. James, 100; Compass Pointe near Leland, more than 40; and Brunswick Forest, more than 90.

“Just with those communities, that’s more than 300 homes currently under construction in this area,” he said. “We’re in a rooftop economy. That’s a lot of rooftops.”

When the economy is strong, Candler added, it naturally increases the tax base.

“There’s an increase in the tax base through natural inflation or the services the county can provide the citizens,” he said.

Candler, Williams and Cumbee said they realized the economy would rebound from the worst recession the country has seen in several years.

“Our chief economist (with the National Association of Realtors), Lawrence Yun, said it’d be a 10-year cycle,” Williams said. “Everything we’ve heard from him since has been much of the same.”

While Candler is excited about the trends in Brunswick County, he doesn’t want prices on homes to skyrocket as a result.

“I think for the benefit of the county, the slow, steady increase in price of the units sold, it’d be best if they’d continue to increase by 4 to 7 percent,” he said. “An increase of that amount each year would be more manageable than the ups and downs of a roller coaster. A manageable market is better for buyers and sellers.”

“That’s right,” Cumbee said. “When you have big ups, that means the big downs are coming.”

Candler said, “For every mountain, there’s a valley. That’s what you have to be mindful of.”

Additionally, real estate brokers are seeing less and less distressed properties through Brunswick County. Distressed properties include foreclosures, short sales and bank-owned homes, among other properties.

In recent years, federal legislation had quite an impact on the local housing market, especially after the Biggert-Waters Act of 2012 was passed.

The act, which would have caused a dramatic increase in flood insurance rates for homeowners, especially in the coastal region, was eventually repealed, but still created ripple effects throughout the local real estate industry, Candler said.

“It affected people in several ways,” he said. “People wanted to see if federal insurance was available, first of all. People wanted to see if they could sell their homes because of the rate increases.”

Legislation has since been passed that repealed the provisions of the Biggert-Waters Act, restoring confidence in those deciding whether to sell or buy their secondary homes on the coast.

“I anticipate when the flood maps are redrawn and approved, several homes will move from the VE zone to the AE zones, which is much more affordable when it comes to flood insurance,” Candler said. “This will once again increase home ownership in Brunswick County.”

The real estate industry is vital to Brunswick County, Candler said.

“It really is. We just don’t have the other types of industries the places like Raleigh have,” he said. “The pendulum swings better when the housing market is doing well. The sales taxes are better, more people are employed and individuals are spending the money they’re making back into the local economy. It certainly helps.”

Terhune is confident in Brunswick County’s real estate market moving forward.

“Remember the numbers,” he said. “There are 10,000 to 15,000 retirees a day. They all want to get the heck out (of the north). Brunswick County will grow. Think about it: This week, they’re getting ready for this colossal snowstorm. When they retire, they want out.

“Can you imagine how many people up there are on the Internet this week looking for places to retire? That’s where Brunswick County will benefit. Southern Realtors love snow. We love lots of snow as long as it falls up north. That serves as the catalyst for people making the decision to move.”

The economic downturn served as a learning tool for lots of people in Brunswick County, Terhune said.

“I’m glad we’re getting back to those times when the economy is trending in the right direction,” he said. “American learned a lesson. We removed the word ‘risk’ from real estate. We want stable, financially sound communities. Thank goodness they exist in Brunswick County today.”

Sam Hickman is a staff writer for the Beacon. Reach him at 754-6890 or shickman@brunswickbeacon.com.

Designing Your Dream Home

I can remember it like yesterday, but it was 11 years ago. I was working with a couple from the DC area and we were looking at homesite T2-8 on Heatherwood Court in Winding River Plantation. My clients were having trouble visualizing a home sitting on this vacant lot, so I had them turn their backs to the property and look directly across the street at a brand new home. I put my arms up as to frame the home and said “take a mental picture of this home and simply turn slowly towards T2-8 behind you”. The couple both put up their arms, took a mental picture of the home and moved around 180 degrees and placed the image of the home on the homesite.

The wife said that this was very helpful but the husband quizzically said ‘but where’s the driveway?” Wow! I turned him back around 180 degrees and said that it is still on the left side of the home. Apparently he could move the home across the street but not the driveway.

It is not uncommon nor should it be embarrassing that one or both people in a relationship do not possess good visualization skills, so in late 2007 when a client from Ocean Ridge Plantation called me to introduce this truly amazing and wonderful company called Plan View Design, I made a beeline over to their office here in Shallotte. I sat in front of this 45” monitor and saw CAD drawings come to life in full color 3D. My jaw slammed on the desk as I felt as I was the first one to discover/invent the internet!

PlanViewDesign

Plan View Design quickly became the leading custom home design firm in Brunswick County as not only homeowners were delighted to employ such a tool but, many local builders also saw the numerous advantages to working with 3D Designs. A year later I had the opportunity to purchase the company and PVD has designed over 200 custom built homes in Southeastern NC since.

Clients/Builders quickly learn that they can request changes to the structure, materials, paint colors and so on both inside/outside the home and typically get them returned the next day. According to Haley Wilson, VP of Plan View Design, “homeowners often don’t know what floor plan will work for them until after we combine a survey of their property, a set of their HOA building guidelines, budget, personal lifestyle and personal selections (granite, paint colors, flooring, lighting, materials, etc.). Once the first draft is completed, PVD clients are provided a downloadable viewer to see their plans from the comfort of their own home and/or office.

Local builders that have worked with PVD include Ernie Crews, Blue Sky Building Company, Barker & Canady, Mark Saunders Luxury Homes, Sacchetti Construction, Ward Construction, Whitney Blair, Homes of Distinction, Plantation Building Corporation, Bill Clark Homes and more. Communities where you can find PVD homes include Ocean Ridge Plantation, Landfall, Sea Trail, Rivers Edge, SeaScape, St James Plantation, Brunswick Forest, River Landing, Waterford, Winding River Plantation, RiverSea Plantation and throughout Brunswick County beaches.

In addition to seeing your home from every possible angle before the first shovel is in the ground, homeowners are encouraged to seek bids from several builders as America’s free enterprise system will save you Ten$ of Thousand$ of Dollar$. “If you don’t go out for bids, how will you know if you are getting a good price,” according to Doug Terhune, owner of Plan View Design.

If you have a homesite and/or are considering acquiring a homesite, Plan View Design can design your home anywhere in the world, so please visit www.PlanViewDesign.com and take our virtual tour on the bottom of the home page plus, please view our Gallery of Homes and see if you can detect which is 3D and which is real! Contact Haley Wilson, CPBD (Certified Professional Building Designer) for ALL of your design needs, as PVD is a full service custom home design firm. (local builders build homes from our plans) We share the new Carolina Plantations Real Estate building on Hwy 17 in Shallotte right next to The Golden Corral restaurant. 4660 East Coast Lane Shallotte, NC 28470 910 754-9999

Carolina Plantations??

Carolina Plantations Logo

Recently while showing homes in one of Brunswick Counties’ finest communities, we ran into some folks that recognized our name badges and they went on to say that they love reading our monthly eNewsletter – Carolina Dreamin’. In fact, one of the women provided positive feedback on the March article concerning my trip to Buffalo in the middle of the winter, and so for a minute I was almost, well, honored that she not only read the article but had near total recall of my little journey.

That all ended when she looked right at me and said “I really love reading Carolina Dreamin’ every month but, just who is Carolina Plantations”?

At the end of 2006, after spending five years between two top local developers and a large general real estate brokerage, I formed Carolina Plantations Real Estate. Although we are a general real estate brokerage like Century 21, Keller Williams, etc., we truly focus on a very specific niche, which is working with folks who are exploring our area for a place to retire and or purchase a second home.

The typical real estate brokerage firm will have a great understanding of the market within a 3-5 mile radius of their office. Agents there know their specific geographic area very well and are dedicated to opening up as many doors as need be till you find the right home/condo/townhome, etc. Ask them however to tell you about or show you real estate 20-30 miles from their comfort zone and well, chances are they might refer you to another firm.

To be considered for a Broker position at CPs, one must obtain knowledge of all the major plantations/communities within a 30-50 mile radius. This is a lot of knowledge, and we are not exaggerating as very few brokerages, if any, can show you homes at Brunswick Plantation in Calabash in the morning, homes in Landfall @ Wrightsville Beach in the afternoon followed by homes at St James and Brunswick Forest tomorrow.

We know that in order to serve our clients proficiently, we need to be able to learn about what is important to them and in essence, prescribe a solution. And for those of you not yet familiar with our almost famous Martini Theory, not only do we know the plantations, but we will point out all the good restaurants, shopping venues, golf courses, medical facilities, culture and more shopping!

To no surprise, the majority of our clients require at least one visit if not two or three visits. And if we could pass this along to you if in fact you are searching for a place to retire or purchase a second home, your goal is simple: Eliminate, eliminate, eliminate! The last area/plantation/home left standing wins!

Nancy, Pat, Chris, Patty and myself thank those of you who are currently working with us or have done so previously. Oh, and we certainly cannot forget Haley Wilson, the most decorated custom home designer in Brunswick County. Haley is the Vice President of our sister company Plan View Design, which is the only firm in Southeastern, NC that designs your Dream Home in full color 3D, utilizing the power of Chief Architect Software. The process is extremely interactive as your feedback is crucial to your finished design plus, you get to see your future residence from the comfort of your own home or office prior to groundbreaking. www.PlanViewDesign.com

In 2012, Carolina Plantations was the 19th largest by volume real estate Company in Brunswick County while Plan View Design was probably the #1 custom home design firm. We sold more real estate in fine communities like Brunswick Plantation, SeaScape, Brunswick Forest, Rivers Edge and RiverSea than any other firm in our area. We did it though by having fun along the way and are always honored to be involved in one of the most important decisions in your life!

Carolina Plantations Real Estate: #1 Selling Team at Brunswick Forest!!

Carolina Plantations Team

For the second year in a row, Carolina Plantations Real Estate, a 6 year old real estate brokerage, had more joint sales with the Sales Team at Brunswick Forest than any other real estate firm in North Carolina. Brunswick Forest, located just 5 minutes from downtown Wilmington, is also the fastest growing community in North & South Carolina.

Jerry Helms, Director of Sales at Brunswick Forest, presented the award to owner of Carolina Plantations Doug Terhune, at The City Club in downtown Wilmington. In addition to the #1 Brokerage firm, Pat Coye of Carolina Plantations was presented with the award for the most sales by a broker!!

Doug Terhune and OthersCarolina Plantations Real Estate is dedicated to insuring that our clients see all of their options, from Sunset Beach to Southport to Shallotte to Leland to Wilmington. We believe strongly in the Martini Theory, which simply states that the first priority is finding an area that satisfies your basic needs – such as medical, shopping, restaurants, culture, transportation, etc. Once you have selected your area, then you focus on which community/plantation best suits your lifestyle and budget requirements. Then and only then do you focus on the well soaked olive at the bottom of the glass, and that is your home.

According to Nancy Boston of Carolina Plantations, “we are proud to have welcomed nearly 40 families to Brunswick Forest during the past couple of years. It’s a great community and while it is not for everyone, it offers a whole lot more than just a great location!” And broker Christopher Columbus Creekmore adds “the Brunswick Forest sales team and entire management group and staff are always eager to assist us and our clients, which is not the case in every community.”

In 2012, a sampling of our clients that we helped introduce to Brunswick Forest came from South Dakota, Pennsylvania, New York, NJ, Virginia, Connecticut, Massachusetts and several other states. The opening of Park Landing, which is a neighborhood with prices beginning in the mid $200s, has been a very hot commodity for us as these prices allow people the opportunity to enjoy Brunswick Forest without being house poor. And be sure to ask us about the newest neighborhood to open in Brunswick Forest in 2013, along with all the new great floor plans!

If you have any questions at all about Brunswick Forest, such as land sales, new construction, town homes, amenities, lease backs and all resales, please contact Carolina Plantations today!

“Livin’ la Vida Loca”

Carolina Plantations Real Estate

Every day from Maine to California to Florida, real estate professionals are urging people to get off the sidelines and jump into the market of opportunity.

Unless you are in your 80s and 90s, the average adult has never had the ability to purchase real estate at such low interest rates. Want to guess what my first interest rate was when I purchased my home in the 80s? It was 13 ¼% and in the North Atlanta suburbs we mortgaged $70,000 in 1982 and our monthly mortgage (P&I) was $788. Today, someone leveraging the same amount would pay $314. That is 39% of what we paid in the early 80s!

In 2006 when I opened Carolina Plantations, real estate prices were high and almost every commercial building was occupied. So as a hedge bet, I purchased 1.5 acres zoned Highway Business in Shallotte on Hwy 17 with hopes of building my office on it one day. In the meantime, I lucked out with a long term lease on the building that we have called home for the past 6 years.

This summer an opportunity arose in Shallotte with a friend of mine and he wound up swapping the old Huddle House restaurant for my property. Finally we could have an office with more than two paved parking places. (of course after a major renovation!! 🙂

Seven days a week the team at Carolina Plantations does our best to convey to people that if you have the means to secure real estate now, than by doing so you will rest easy knowing that you got in at an incredible time. So, instead of just preaching “Living the Crazy Life”, Carolina Plantations went out and joined in the frenzy because we believe in the market here in Brunswick County, NC. And while it has been slow in many markets up and down the east coast, Brunswick County has been on fire in 2012 with an increase of more than 50%.

Make no mistake about it, we are two small businesses (including Plan View Design) but we impact a lot of people’s lives. For example, every time Haley designs a home, our clients choose a builder and the economic impact of $400,000 being infused into our economy is pretty amazing. Now consider that Plan View Design works with over 50 clients a year and we are the catalyst for $20,000,000 being spread amongst building supply companies, county employees (inspections, zoning, etc.), electrical/plumbing contractors, developers, builders, framers, HVAC firms, concrete companies, painters, flooring companies and so much more. And this does not include the economic impact our great real estate team is contributing.

A little over eight weeks ago, the inside of our new building looked like this:

Waffle House Shallotte, NC

Today, after a tremendous effort by a local contractor and their subs, we look like this:

New Office: Carolina PlantationsNew Carolina Plantations Office

We are proud to be a small business that has survived probably one of the most uneasy economic times of our lifetimes. No lie – at times since 2007 when we opened it has been challenging. However, our vision and perseverance won out and America needs to continue rooting for Mr. & Mrs. Small Business, as free enterprise is one of the greatest principles our great country was founded on.

If you have ever owned a firm or managed people, than you know that your success is tied to your strategic partners, and we are no exception. I must first thank my good friends at Inter Coastal Net Designs in Ocean Isle Beach, as we are probably the #1 real estate website in Southeastern NC. www.CarolinaPlantations.com Also very deserving is Carol Holmberg of the Bellamy Law Firm in Shallotte, the finest closing manager in NC! Vince Bacchi with Union Mortgage Group, Laurel Bellamy with Farm Bureau Insurance, Jim Giuffre with National Property Inspections and Bobby Long Surveyors are also reliable professionals.

So on behalf of Haley, Pat, Nancy, Court, Carolyn, Chris, Pam and our business partners, thanks to all of you who have believed in our team for our first 6 years. We are honored that you have trusted us to help you live the crazy life ( “Livin’ la Vida Loca”), and we look forward to seeing everyone at our new office at 4660 East Coast Lane in Shallotte, NC.

Carolina Dreamin’

Premiere Edition by Douglas S. Terhune

In the Spring of 2007, I swam upstream and fought a quickly deteriorating real estate landscape by opening Carolina Plantations Real Estate in an old junk store that I renovated on Hwy 17 in Ocean Isle Beach. In 2011, our real estate team topped $13,000,000 in sales, landing us in the top 20 real estate firms in Brunswick County. We sold more real estate in Brunswick Forest & Brunswick Plantation than any other firm in 2011 and continue to be among the leaders in Sandpiper Bay, Crow Creek, Ocean Ridge, Rivers Edge, SeaScape, RiverSea, Winding River, Waterford and many more. The key to our success is our visibility visa vie our top rated website www.CarolinaPlantations.com, as we are almost always #1 on the search return for the plantations here in Brunswick County.

Since the acquisition of Plan View Design in the summer of 2008, Plan View has grown to be the #1 custom home designer in Brunswick County. We work with over a dozen local builders but most importantly, we offer our clients a service that nobody in Southeastern North Carolina can. We design your Dream Home in full color 3D, which allows you not only to see your home before you break ground but, you are an integral part of the design with your feedback. And our home designs have earned more blue ribbons than any other firm in Brunswick County.

Today we are launching a website that arose from years of working with clients considering our area for retirement and/or, for a second home. And instead of spending years attempting to write a book and chasing publishers 24/7, I have created www.TheRetirementHandbook.com – which provides you with thoughts & ideas on “How to Retire”. As you are well aware, retiring is the last major (unknown) frontier for most of us and in this age of information, I believe we have compiled something unique.

The Retirement Handbook presents you with stuff you may find useful along your path to retiring. Areas of concentration include 6 GeoCenters, Medical, Retirement Trends, Beginning Your Search, Financial Calculator and more. Retiring is a very scary word for millions of Americans as there is no school to attend or degree to be obtained. You are on your own and until now, there has not really been a road map to help guide you.

Carolina Plantations Real Estate, Plan View Design and The Retirement Handbook will show up on your pc at the beginning of each month visa vie our eNewsletter, Carolina Dreamin’. Our goal is simple –“provide you with the information you require to make a well informed decision”.

We encourage your thoughts and comments and on behalf of the best real estate sales and home design teams in Southeastern North Carolina (Pam Silberman, Nancy Boston, Christopher Columbus Creekmore, Pat Coye, Carolyn Rosenberg, Court Terhune, Haley Wilson, Daniel Stiling and myself), we wish you a continued pleasant summer. If we can ever be of assistance, we’d be honored to do so.