Unemployment Falls Locally In September – Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender County

In September, unemployment rates fell in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender, as they did in all but two counties in North Carolina, according to the N.C. Division of Labor and Economic Analysis.

The September county-by-county data, released Wednesday, show that unemployment in Brunswick County was at 6.6 percent, down from 7.3 percent in August and from 7.5 percent in September 2013.

New Hanover registered… 5.6 percent unemployment in September, dropping from 6.5 percent in August and 7.1 percent in September 2013.

Pender County’s September unemployment was at 6.5 percent, down one percentage point from August’s 7.5 percent rate, and down significantly from September 2013’s rate of 8.3 percent.

Other highlights of the monthly report include:

Currituck and Chatham counties were tied for the state’s lowest unemployment, at 4.2 percent. Highest unemployment is found in mountainous Graham County, which has a rate of 12.2 percent. Scotland County is next highest, with 11.3 percent.

Of North Carolina’s 14 Metropolitan Statistical Areas, the Wilmington area, with a September area unemployment rate of 6.0 percent, had the sixth-lowest level, behind Asheville (4.6 percent), Durham-Chapel Hill (4.9 percent), Raleigh-Cary (5.0 percent), Winston-Salem (5.6 percent) and Burlington (5.9 percent).

Currently, North Carolina still considers the Wilmington MSA as including Brunswick County, although the federal government has reassigned Brunswick County to the Myrtle Beach MSA.

The North Carolina MSA with the highest unemployment was Rocky Mount, at 8.8 percent in September.

Year over year, the Wilmington area showed increased employment in every sector except for manufacturing, in which employment decreased 4.1 percent. The sector showing strongest growth was leisure and hospitality, at 7.5 percent growth. Logging and construction was second, with 3.7 percent growth.

Designing Your Dream Home

For those considering Brunswick County as a place to possibly retire to, one should be aware that our market for homes here is vastly different than what you have probably ever experienced before. It’s estimated that 80-85% of those who do settle in Coastal North Carolina wind up building their own home. Why? Because that is really the only way to truly get what you want.

So if you are a statistic in the vast majority, you really have some very important steps ahead of you in order to find your little slice of heaven here:

  • Find the area that best suits your needs (as in The Martini Theory
  • Find the Community/Plantation that matches your budget and activities
  • Find the Home (to be built) that meets your daily requirements
    • Find a Homesite to build your Dream Home on

Back in the 1990s and early to mid 2000s, anyone who wanted a custom home bought a homesite, found an architect/custom home designer, interviewed various builders and bid out their job. Today that probably represents 30% of the market as many local builders are building model homes again and 70% of those heading south are simply choosing an existing floor plan and modifying it to their liking. This accomplishes several things for the buyer:

  • The future owners can see the house before it is built. This alleviates the stress of making mistakes
  • This helps control costs as you are working from a base price for the home plus all the add ons.

The largest drawback to going in this direction is… that you could live in the same house as every 4th home on your street – thereby eliminating your signature on your Dream Home. The solution is designing your own home or making significant changes to an existing plan whereby the home would not be confused with the original plan.

If you venture in the direction of a Custom Built Home, you first start with a homesite. Purchasing a homesite is an art, if not a science, and this process should never be taken lightly as your homesite can drastically affect your lifestyle. Be sure you work with a land expert as there is much to consider:

  • Slope – the contour of your land can/will affect your drainage, cost to build, determine the style of home you can build, etc
  • Sun – knowing where the sun rises and sets is critical as a hot sun can ruin your late afternoons
  • Soil – homesites that are naturally wet can cause the owner significant water and or mold issues in the future
  • Shape/Dimensions – your home must fit comfortably on your homesite
  • Setbacks – you have to know these. Typically you cannot build within 10’ of the side of your property, 20-25’ from the front and 20-40’ from the back

So, let’s say that the below homesite is the one you have selected to build on. The dimensions are all shown and the setbacks are in place (gray shaded areas cannot be built on), so your home must be built within the white building envelope.


As you study this plat of this homesite, there are 3 significant issues that must be taken into consideration before you consider placing a home on it.

  1. There is a small pond and nice but distant golf view available from this back left corner
  2. The back of this homesite is a Nature Preserve – so lots of privacy
  3. This part of the building envelope is the largest and offers the most room to build

Because of this information, there are a few things that the owners have determined:

  • They want to take advantage of the golf/water views
  • They want a pool but only if it is private
  • The garage will go on the right side where there is ample room

Based upon this information, designing the home is really quite simple and fun as you already have considerable information that will determine the floor plan. Yes there are a ton of details to work out, but we already know where certain rooms will be.


From the above, we add in the topography of the homesite, location of trees and the dimensions of the home, and Voila!


And if by chance you work with www.PlanViewDesign.com, you will be able to see the inside and outside of your home in full color 3D before you ever put a shovel in the ground. In addition, you will have tremendous input on what your Dream Home will look like as your feedback is critical to the process. This is YOUR HOME, not ours, so the more details you provide us, the more Haley from Plan View Design can incorporate into your home.


And FYI, Plan View Design has designed homes in the following communities: Landfall, Ocean Ridge Plantation, St James, Brunswick Forest, Rivers Edge, Winding River Plantation, River Landing, Sea Trail, Brunswick Plantation, RiverSea Plantation, SeaScape at Holden Plantation, Ocean Isle Beach and more. Call Haley today for a free over the phone consultation at 910 754-9999 or Haley@PlanViewDesign.com

Join Rotary International

You wake up on Monday morning, go to Sam’s, Office Depot and the grocery store and are home by 10:30 am. You head to the golf course for your noon time round with the usual suspects, come home, take a dip in the community pool and then have your next door neighbors (to the right) over for dinner. Repeat 7 days a week until done.

The question that many retirees need to ask is that while retiring is fun, how many rounds of golf or tennis matches do you need to participate in before you need some outside stimulation?

Enter Rotary International.(www.Rotary.org) In 1905, four friends met in room 711 in the Unity Building in downtown Chicago. They thought it would be great if they would do business with each other and in the room was a stone mason, engineer, lawyer and a tailor. The tailor agreed to work with and promote the engineer while the lawyer promoted and worked with the stone mason. Simple business networking 101.

Within a few years, the members began to look outwards instead of inwards. They realized that while networking was an admirable result of their friendships, they also realized that they were business leaders and could help those in need in their area. The word of Rotary, albeit this was way before email, the internet, faxes and social media, began to spread across America and soon the world.

Rotary International has over 33,000 clubs in 200 countries and enjoys a global membership of over 1.2m members. In 1985, Rotary International passed a bold new rule which permitted women to join Rotary, and thank goodness because many of the clubs consist of 50% women today!

So what does this have to do with you?….

Think about it, you have a world of business and life experience that others can benefit from if you shared your talents. Rotarians are everyday people that simply want to make a difference in the town/area that they live in. Chances are you have already moved to your retirement destination and or are contemplating such a move, so this is to gently remind you that there is an interesting and vibrant world outside your gated golf community.

On a personal note, in 2002 I moved to Shallotte from the north side of Wilmington. I had spent the past 23 years living in the suburbs of Atlanta, Milwaukee, Boston and Wilmington however; it wasn’t until I joined the Rotary Club of Shallotte that I finally felt like I was part of a community. In fact the last time I felt like I was part of a town was in 1975 when I graduated from Ridgewood High School in NJ.

In an effort to appeal to both younger and older members, Rotary today is not the Rotary our fathers belonged to. For example, attendance requirements have been relaxed, meeting times are adhered to, fun is involved in every meeting, fundraisers are successful because of solid team efforts and, each club is always open to learning on different ways on how it can be of assistance to those in need.

One benefit I enjoy is that if I am traveling out of town I always take a look at where there might be a Rotary Meeting that I can attend. Over the years I have attended Rotary meetings in St. Petersburg Russia, San Francisco, Nassau Bahamas, West Palm, West Virginia and more. And when you become a Rotarian, you automatically have over 1.2 million friends around the globe – which is like really cool and especially true for those who like to travel.

Rotary clubs either have breakfast, lunch or dinner meetings. The meetings last one hour and three of the four weeks per month there is guest speaker. Generally clubs have one main annual fundraiser and support over a dozen local concerns. Clubs can range from 15 members to over 200 however; the average club has 35 members. In Brunswick County, we have four clubs:

  • Rotary Club of Leland (Friday Breakfast)
  • Rotary Club of Shallotte (Thursday lunch)
  • Rotary Club of Southport (Wednesday lunch)
  • Rotary Club of South Brunswick Isles (Sunset Beach and Ocean Isle Beach) – Friday Breakfast

From my earlier days when I was a training manager for an industrial components supplier, I learned that if the average adult does not learn new information on a regular basis, that our brains turn to mush – and we don’t want that to happen, do we?!! So when you get settled into your new community or if you already are, make good use of your talents and go to this website and find the closest Rotary International club to you. Go and visit them and if the club feels right, then don’t be afraid to join. And if the club/s don’t feel right, don’t be afraid to look up the local Lions Club, Kiwanis Club, etc.

Rotarians care about the people in the community they live in and enjoy giving back, so if this sounds like you or someone you know, go to this website today to find the Rotary International club closest or most convenient to you.

Thank you and have fun! Oh, and in case you are wondering, this is what we call our 4 Way Test:

Of all the things we say and do:

  • Is it the Truth
  • Is it Fair to All Concerned
  • Will it Build Goodwill and Better Friendships
  • Will it be Beneficial to All Concerned

Carolina Plantation Real Estate – Best of Brunswick Award Winners!


After over 7,000 ballots were tallied, the readers of the Brunswick Beacon selected the winners of the Annual Best of Brunswick Awards – which are presented to the winners of over 70 categories. Out of  nearly 180 real estate agencies in Brunswick County, the people chose Carolina Plantations Real Estate as their third favorite real estate firm!!

I am extremely proud of our accomplishments as a small firm and it proves that our unique business model is successful. We were runner up to two extremely larger firms and congratulations to them for their efforts, and for us to even be considered amongst the giants, well, we truly are honored.

The teamwork in our office is unlike any real estate office in the region. We have weekly meetings where we share what is current in the market and trends in the industry. Our goal is to continually keep learning so that we can provide as much information as possible to our clients so that they can make well informed decisions.

Patty McGrath, Nancy Boston, Christopher Columbus Creekmore, Court Terhune, Nolan Payne, Peggy Earwood, Pat Coye and myself, Doug Terhune, make up Team Carolina Plantations. Our knowledge of the market is vast and of the area even larger. Our website has over 12,000 visitors per month because we make searching real estate easy and rewarding. Our office location on Hwy 17 is the best in the county and I think we have the largest real estate sign in North Carolina! And as you are probably aware, our monthly eNewsletter reaches over 27,000 email addresses – and its goal is to bring you interesting stories about real estate, local commerce, local movie production and more.

And to those of you who voted for us, we thank you for your support and next year we will add in a link to Carolina Dreamin’ where everyone would be welcome to vote on your favorite categories.

Promises, Promises


In early spring of 2002, I was having lunch at the golf course clubhouse where I worked as an on-site agent, and struck up a conversation with a gentleman who just finished his morning round. Come to find out, he moved into the community back in 1998, which made him one of the first 100 or so homes built in the development.

Anyway, I was eager to learn how to sell this community and felt that asking for testimonials was incredibly important. After a five minute ditty on why he and his wife selected this community, he shared with me that he had one regret. Apparently he and his wife LOVE Chinese food and where they lived up north offered 3-4 local restaurants that delivered to their home. That wasn’t the case at their new community.

He went on to say that when they want Chinese food delivered, they call the closest place, which is about 17 miles from their home. When the food is ready, the delivery person calls and they both head out towards their common destination. When they meet, it is under a dim light at an old gas station and the gentleman said he always feels kind of funny paying some young kid twenty bucks for Moo Goo Gai Pan and Szechuan Chicken.

What he admitted is that when he moved to the community in 1998, the developer promised them that there would be grocery stores and restaurants at the entrance to their development built within 3-4 years. Well, it’s now 16 years since those promises were made by an anxious agent and developer and this couple, if they still live in the same home, still have to drive 16 miles roundtrip (as does the delivery person) each time they want to pick up their delivered Chinese food.

In the mid 2000’s, Brunswick County was famous for building ‘Virtual Communities’. People came down for a weekend and enjoyed Big Tent Events that included boat rides, helicopter rides, hot dogs & hamburgers, clever marketing material and so on. They were taken to newly cut in roads and purchased homesites left and right. Unfortunately, communities up and down the entire east coast starting going belly up at the end of 2008, leaving many angry customers in their wake. Customers mind you that spent $100,000 – $450,000 for a 1/3 acre homesite.

The one word that seems to have been erased from the English language with regards to real estate over the past 7 years is “Risk”. People have zero tolerance for it as nobody can afford to make mistakes of this magnitude and retire happily/successfully.

So if you have yet to find your perfect place to retire, just keep in mind that if someone tells you to close your eyes and imagine a road, swimming pool, clubhouse, golf course, houses, etc., that this might be the closest anyone comes to seeing those items become reality. Virtual communities are no longer considered something of the future, as they are now a thing of the past.