Brunswick County: Thousands of New Homes Approved & Proposed

If there is one thing that we have a lot of in Brunswick County, it’s land. If there is one demand in and amongst Coastal NC that we have an abundance of, it’s for more homes. Put them together, and BOOM!!

From Sunset Beach to Shallotte to Bolivia to Leland, developers are pulling out their checkbooks and doing everything they can to get new homes out of the ground at lightning speed. America is shy 4,000,000 homes to satisfy consumer demand. Yes, we said 4 million homes shy?? That is like 8,000 homes per county, give or take a few thousand. That’s nuts and quite frankly probably conservative because not every county has a bullseye on it for retirees, as does Brunswick County, NC. It has been one of the top three retirement destinations on the east coast for years, but with COVID-Flight happening in so many New England, Mid Atlantic, and Midwestern cities, Brunswick County is en vogue! Check out this article that Wall Street Journal has recently put out on the housing shortage.

For decades, Brunswick County has been one of the leading growing counties in America, but don’t let that scare you, as that is based upon a percentage of growth, not by population numbers. For example, here are several of the largest cities and their respective counties population in North Carolina:

CHARLOTTE – Mecklenburg County                                                   1,143,570

RALEIGH – Wake County                                                                    1,142,740

ASHEVILLE – Buncombe County                                                         265,055

WINSTON SALEM – Forsyth County                                                   388,453

WILMINGTON – New Hanover County                                               238,907*

Brunswick County, NC                                                                       154,700*

*One interesting note is that Brunswick County encompasses 1,050 square miles, while New Hanover County to the north of us comes in 328 square miles. We have over three times the amount of land and only 64% of the population that Wilmington/NHC has. That is probably the #1 contributing factor to the continued growth of our little slice of heaven – we have the land!

If you are thinking of retiring to Brunswick County, give us a call today and allow one of our agents to help you in the process. Our little slice of heaven is waiting for you to call it you’re forever home today!

When Will it Stop? Not for a Long, Long Time!

A very dear friend of Doug’s, a giant in Brunswick County, said to him last week that Carolina Plantations should enjoy unparalleled growth for many years. His family were earlier settlers on one of our barrier islands, and he and his real estate empire focus on beach business. He mentioned this because beach real estate has slowed quite a bit due to a lack of inventory. At the same time, hundreds of thousands of people are doing everything they can to escape colder climates and higher-tax states and find their place in the sun. We could not argue his point.

Covid, which hopefully will be under control soon, has merely accelerated the retirement plans of millions of Americans. Why live in cold weather when your kids have moved out of state, taxes only seem to be increasing as winters continue to be too long and too cold, and your homes can sell for more now than possibly ever?

A couple of weeks ago, Doug watched Chairman Powell of the Fed speak about the US’s chances of experiencing another 2008 debacle. Check out the 60 minutes interview.

He indicated that many factors are in place today that would severely decrease the chances of ever happening again. The first was changing predatory lending habits of lenders, which we can attest to. Years back, you might recall “No Doc Loans,” which allowed a person to walk in off the street and, without any documentation, secure a loan. Is anyone surprised that 2008 happened? Oh, my goodness, what were we thinking?! Oh, and one more thing Chairman Powell shared is that he does not see inflation on his radar. Chairman Powell believes the Fed has that well under control through the end of 2021 and beyond.

So, barring an economic meltdown again any time soon coupled with loads of Baby Boomers retiring and looking for a more economically feasible lifestyle, Coastal North Carolina is smack in the crosshairs of untold numbers of soon to retire Americans. And according to Wharton’s Professor Jeremy Siegal, stocks could post yet another 30-40% gain before any kind of a pullback. Check out some tips for buying a home during a pandemic here.

On a different note, a few days ago, Doug spoke with a client that said he is going to wait until fall to consider purchasing a home here on the coast. The reason, in his opinion, all this craziness with multiple offers and rising prices has got to end soon. Nope, it doesn’t.  Keeping this all in perspective, while our prices have increased this past year, most of it was driven by a hopefully once-in-a-lifetime pandemic. These prices, though, have been felt in just about every market, so if you are selling your home today in Princeton, NJ for $525,000, that’s probably $50,000 more than you would have sold it for last summer, right?

Coastal North Carolina is still VERY affordable. We have inventory, and if we run lean, our builders build it because we are truly blessed to have an abundant inventory of land! Approximately 70% of our clients build new homes here because:

  1. They can!!
  2. They get to select all their floorplans, colors, flooring, countertops, appliances, etc.
  3. It fits into their timeframes with regards to retiring, selling, and moving.

So, when you consider Covid Flight (to the burbs), people retiring earlier than anticipated historic low-interest rates for mortgages, millions of Baby Boomers have yet to retire. A stable/growing economy, Carolina Plantations is expecting the real estate market here in Coastal North Carolina to stay very strong for the next 24-36 months. And as the adage goes, if you snooze, you lose. If you’re ready to start your search for your home to retire to the Coast of North Carolina, give us a call today!

Why Are There No Trees?

In January of 2002, Doug began his real estate career working for the Blue Green Corporation, as an on-site agent at Winding River Plantation in Bolivia, NC. They sold dirt and nothing but the dirt.

Why Are There No Trees?

When we sold a homesite (learned to never call it a “lot” because a woman would never build her Dream Home on a “lot”!!), the dirt came with all the trees, valleys, gullies and pitches. So, when it came time for your builder to prepare you dirt for your Dream Home, the additional costs to clear, level and bring in soil could have bee a few thousand to over $20,000. These costs were often overlooked in the budget and quite honestly, stretched more budgets than people would have thought.

In a response to the negative press from builders and property owners, sometime around 2013, local developers here and from coast to coast, began “wholesaling” homesites – which is the practice of preparing the homesites to the point where they are referred to as “pad ready.”

Why Are There No Trees?

To provide a “pad ready” homesite, this is what a developer must do:

  • Remove the trees from the homesite. Keep in mind that in the past 10+ years, the average homesite decreased from 1/3 acre to 1/4 acre in size, so in essences, it’s almost impossible to save trees on 1/2 acre for by the time you place your Dream Home on the homesite and make room for the driveway, walkways and porches, you really have very little dirt left.
  • After the trees have been hauled away, it is time to dig down 3-6′ and clear our the twisted roots, dead branches and vines – otherwise known as mat.
  • Once the mat is removed, soil experts/engineers will weigh in on what needs to be added, such as crushed stone, fine gravel, sifted soil and/or sand.
  • The homesite will them be shaped properly, with the center being crowned and tilted back to front, as this will allow for proper drainage to the street and stormwater system. In essence, it will look like the field at the Giants Stadium, with a slight back to front tilt.
  • Lastly, the homesite will be compressed according to local engineering standards, as the soil needs a specific PSI (pounds per square inch) in order to be built upon.

If you have yet to build your Dream Home, there is a lot to know about with regards to dirt, so be sure to find a real estate Broker that is educated in these matters and can best represent your interests. A few more items worthy or passing along to you:

  • Be sure to ask if the homesite is in a flood zone. Walk around the property and up and down the streets of all homesites and locate the closest ponds and/or creeks/rivers/streams, for water damage to your home can be life-altering.
  • Ask and/or look-to-see if the developer has installed storm water drainage. If not, then there will be swales/gullies in your front yard that collect water when it rains. Many people do no like having a lake in their front yard every time they get a hard rain.
  • Ask neighbors about drainage. Don’t be shy either, as just about everyone will be more than happy to share whatever date/info you are looking for.
  • Don’t be afraid to reach down and put some of the topsoil in your hand. If it is hard and clay like, then you either might have to pay a lot for new sandy soil or, be stuck with drainage issues on your homesite.
  • Drive out to the homesite after or during a heavy rain. If you are purchasing a homesite, you more than likely have a 30-45 day closing, so you really do have plenty of time.

If you want to get the dirt on the dirt, call any of our Brokers today, as many of us worked previously for developers/builders. If you are looking elsewhere in the country, well, at least you know enough to be dangerous.

And, don’t forget about Haley Wilson with www.PlanViewDesign.com – who has designed more award-winning homes in Brunswick County than any home designer or Architect! If you’re ready to find your homesite to build your Dream Home, then contact us at Carolina Plantations to get started today!

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