COVID-19’s (Real) Impact on the Real Estate Market in Coastal North Carolina

Nobody saw COVID-19 coming. Not Donald, Joe, the Amazing Kreskin, Gov Cuomo, Bill Maher, or Steve Wynn. And, like a bad dinner guest, it’s still here, and we’ve tried our best as a country to show it out the door.

2020 real estate closings here in Brunswick County were off the charts the first two months of the year, and ends have remained steadfast through April. If COVID-19 had not struck us down, Doug guesses that the area would still be upwards of 20-30% vs. YTD 2019. That would have been an enormous increase.

CAUTION: Interpreting the above numbers is imperative to understanding the real numbers. The numbers in the graph show closings on sales that were made before COVID-19, as in December 2019 – early March 2020. The effect of COVID-19 on our real estate sales will not likely be known until we have our final numbers from the end of June – August, as closings generally take 1-3 months to occur.

What we can offer you is a glimpse of is into the world of Carolina Plantations. Each week we run a Pending Sales Report through the end of the calendar year, and as of today, we have $12.6 million in Pending Sales for 2020. At the same time last year, we had Pending Sales of $14.7 million through the end of 2019 – so our Pending sales are off 16%.

Our closings through YTD are $29m vs. $26m YTD in 2019 – so closings wise, we are up 13%. If you had asked Doug in March when we were closing down the country what our Pending Sales would be today, he would have probably hoped that they were in the $5-7m range. Instead, they are $12.6m, which quite honestly, is astonishing – and Doug is serious about that. So, if our amazing sales team continues to be strong even amid a true global pandemic, who the heck is buying real estate here now?

Here are some examples:

  • Linda & Tom from Long Island is purchasing a transitional home sight unseen. They know the area and community they are buying in because they own a homesite there, and they trust their Realtor!
  • Diane & Steve live in Leland and are helping their daughter, SIL, and two children living in New Jersey purchase a home here. The family is moving from a 700’ condo to a 2400 ‘ new home. Woohoo!
  • Mark lives in Grand Junction, Colorado, and has wanted to move to the east coast for years and is building a new home here to fulfill his dream.
  • Paulette lives in Michigan and has a sister in Charlotte & Wilmington. She is a widow and is under contract on a home here on the coast. She is moving to a community that offers a lot of social interaction and clubs.
  • Jan and Doug are initially from CA and NJ, respectively, and currently live in Colorado. They visited Coastal NC last year and fell in love with the area. They are recently under contract on a home near the beach.
  • Robin & Dwayne live in North Carolina and have been looking near the coast for a year as they love the beach and family nearby. They closed on their home last month and are living the dream!
  • Tammy and Steve are from Winston Salem, NC, and for years have been looking for a vacation condo at the beach for their families to enjoy on long weekends. With COVID-19, they thought the time was right and are under contract, having won a competitive bid situation.

One additional set of matrices that we monitor are our YTD total leads received and how many of our customized Coastal Guide Books we have send out. (A CGB is custom made for each client and is chock full of great information on beaches, weather, dining, shopping, medical services, entertainment, etc.) And if by any chance you are wondering if this “small business” is going to make it through this pandemic, we believe our numbers should diminish those fears…!

So, is it a good time to Sell, Buy, or Ponder real estate? Yes, Yes, and Yes! The key for our firm though, is has COVID-19 affected the markets to sell homes (primarily up north)? From what we are hearing from our friends in Boston, NJ, NY, VA, MD, and elsewhere, is that demand, in general, remains stable for well-priced homes. Coastal NC has long been a trickle-down real estate economy ever since we began building communities here to retire to, so what happens in the areas mentioned above affects our market for sure.

If Coastal North Carolina is on your radar, contact one of the professionals on our team so that they can provide you an overview of life here on the coast. We hope that you and your family will find the perfect home, whether it’s a vacation home or your permanent residence here on the coast!

How to Give of Yourself this Holiday Season

When it comes to Christmas it’s an excellent time to give to others. The age old adage that it’s better to give than to receive never made sense to us as children but now, as adults, we have quite a different perspective on it. We’ve learned that it feels good to give, especially when we can make a difference. There are as many ways to give as there are people and places to give to. Whether you’re walking dogs at the Humane Society, donating blood at the Red Cross, or visiting patients at a hospital or nursing home, it really does make a difference when you reach outside of yourself to give to another.



Volunteering Your Time

There are many places that would thrilled to have you volunteer your time whether it’s right now during the holiday season, or at any other time during the year. Following are some places looking for volunteers to give of their time this holiday season. 

Brunswick County Literacy CouncilThe council helps students with reading, writing, math, computers and English-speaking skills, in either a one-on-one or small class confidential setting, by pairing them with volunteers who are carefully trained and matched with each student. 

Cape Fear River WatchVolunteers are needed to assist with many programs, including outdoor education and recreation, clean-ups, outreach, wetlands restoration, fundraising and administrative tasks. 

Brunswick Family Assistance AgencyThis agency needs volunteers to help in their pantry, at the front desk, in the Family Thrift store, during fund-raisers and with quarterly commodities distributions. Volunteers are also needed to assist with distribution of the Christmas in July and Christmas Tree of Hope programs yearly. 

Coastal Horizons CenterVolunteers are always needed to respond to New Hanover County and Brunswick County hospital emergency departments to assist rape victims and their families, to mentor youth staying at the emergency shelter and to assist with answering Crisis Line and First Call for Help Hotlines. A 48-hour training program is provided. 



Salvation Army – Volunteers may serve on the Advisory Board and Ladies Auxiliary and in the shelter, which serves men, women and children. Volunteers are needed to work at the thrift store, in the soup kitchen, the Woodlot Project, Christmas fundraisers, the toy and food distribution center, the annual Coats for the Coatless drive and on disaster relief teams. 

Elderhaus, Inc. Volunteers are needed as program aides, activity assistants and meal servers. Volunteer board members oversee fund-raising, public relations, educational activities and more.

Hope Harbor HomeVolunteers are needed at this domestic violence shelter to work on the speakers bureau and in the office, provide childcare, help organize and implement fundraising activities, assist clients in preparing paperwork and provide moral support during court proceedings. Volunteers are needed as well for transportation and to help distribute and sort donated clothing at the Hope Chest Thrift Stores in Holden Beach, Leland, Bolivia and Oak Island.



Other Volunteer Opportunities

Following are some other websites offering additional volunteer opportunities:

United Way of the Cape Fear Area
Arboretum Center, Bldg. II, 5919 Oleander Dr.
Ste. 115
Wilmington, NC 28403
(910) 798-3900

The Volunteer Center
Brunswick County Government Center
25 Referendum Dr.
Bolivia, NC 28422
(910) 253-2574

All of us at Carolina Plantations would like to wish you and your family a very happy and safe holiday season!


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