Crystal Ball for Current, Local Real Estate Trends

Every week, the team of Brokers at Carolina Plantations is asked if this is an excellent time to buy or sell. Since timing is just about everything in life, here are some crucial factors about our market here in Coastal North Carolina (Wilmington & Brunswick County). What we need to know about the market here by no means should or could be relatable to any other market, for we know our market and only our market.

crystal ball showing 2022/2023 Real Estate Trends with hands of a woman gypsy

What We’re Seeing

Doug spoke with two builders recently, and both said that the increased costs in building products have hardly come down. Yes, it was expected to drop; however, demands remain incredibly high for new homes in our area. In the spring of 2021, our region saw a surge of buyers coming here and scrooping up homes left and right. It was similar (from what we heard) to the Western Land Grab of 1889. This unexpected tidal wave of buyers just depleted our usual level of homes on the market. Most of the demand was fueled by COVID-19; however, one should keep in mind that Coastal NC is still one of the Top 3 Retirement destinations on the East Coast. With little to no inventory of homes to sell, buyers turned to builders despite the increased pricing of lumber and virtually all building materials.

Good Examples

  • Our firm helped launch the building career of a local builder in our area in 2019. Doug spoke with David last week, and in early 2020 (pre-COVID), he was in the process of building ten homes, which is excellent for a small builder. Today, he and his team have 30+ homes under construction, and the demand has not slowed for them as we still have very little inventory of any kind of home to sell.
  • One of our long trusted regional builders, who we have worked with on over 100 homes being built for our clients over the past 12 years, is now quoting an 18-month turnaround on the completion of their homes. Two years ago, they were quoting 8-9 months for delivery of a home after breaking ground. Shortages of skilled labor and never-ending supply issues are the two caustic factors contributing to the delay.
  • With the Fed doing its jobs to slow down the economy, reports that it is affecting the real estate markets in major cities are actual, as inventories are climbing.
  • We still see multiple offers on homes and condos if the product is in good condition and reasonably priced. Bargains are not yet on the table here as we are still in a Sellers’ market along the coast.
  • We had a team meeting recently with a prominent builder in the area, and they have 17 rooftops for sale. A couple of townhomes are complete, but the homes are all under construction with a completion date of September to December. This is GREAT news as we have many buyers who have sold their homes elsewhere and need a home ASAP.
Picture on left has builders on a home and picture on right has a house with green grass and a for sale sign

Much of what we have shared with you regarding our current conditions in Coastal NC can be found in a recent Forbes article on 2022 Housing Market Predictions. This article focuses on macro while our thoughts are micro. Click Here for a good read from Forbes.

Warnings for Buyers & Sellers in our Market

Buyers

  • We do not see prices for new homes going down anytime soon. Perhaps, mid-late next year, if our country can get a grip on supply issues, but we can’t guarantee it.
  • Resales prices are already leveling off, and many knuckle-headed Sellers are finding out that their asking prices are simply ridiculous.
  • You still need to act quickly on a new or resale home. You might not have as many offers to contend with, but don’t get lazy or too confident that your green money is greener than others.

Sellers

  • Listen to your Realtor. Don’t ignore them. We provide you with real numbers, history, and statistics, so don’t toss those out and list your place at a price it will not sell.
  • Prices are declining nationwide, so don’t sit back and wait too long.
  • Know where you are going. Just don’t list and sell unless you have somewhere to move to. Rentals are almost non-existent, and prices for rentals have increased significantly.

We have shared with you some significant trends in our market, so now it is up to you to consider this information if you’re buying or selling soon. And as always, please contact our team at Carolina Plantations at 910-755-7557 for friendly, informative, and timely conversations.

To Sea or Not to Sea…

The three most common types of areas Americans like retiring to are (and not in any order):

  • Lake
  • Mountains
  • Ocean

Please note that two of the three retirement destinations focus on water – lake & ocean. Let’s see if we can delve into the subject and uncover why moving to water, particularly the sea, is such a popular move for many seeking to retire.

First, Doug’s good friends at PrivateCommunities.com, who promote retirement communities throughout the USA on their website, recently completed a survey of homebuyers who are performing research on where they plan to retire to. This first slide corroborates his insight as to the top three geographic destinations that our clientele is seeking out retirement destinations:

  • Beach/Ocean
  • Lake (generally inland)
  • Mountains

In their survey, PCR included golf as a destination; however, golf is available at the beach, the lake, and mountains. So, for the sake of this discussion, we will stick with the top three destinations. We found it interesting that 76% of those who responded to the survey indicated that they plan to depart their current state. That means 24% are intended to stay in their current state, and you can probably break that down as follows:

  • The majority, 24%, will continue to live in their current home for retirement.
  • The minority will sell their existing home and purchase another home in their current state.

But hello? Three out of four surveyed indicate they are ready to leave dodge and find a warmer, friendlier, and more economical state to dwell in during their retirement years. Guess as the old saying goes, “Last one to leave New Jersey – Please turn the lights off!

So, just what is it about the ocean that draws so many? Here is a very un-scientific assessment as to why:

  • MEMORIES – did anyone NOT go to the beach as a kid or young adolescent? Some of the world’s most incredible family vacations are spent frolicking and thrashing along America’s coastlines. Be it renting a home, staying at a friend’s house, or securing a hotel for a week. It didn’t matter where you visited if you could run and jump into the ocean, right?
  • CASUAL WEAR – You could put your trunks on at 7 am and not take them off until 10 pm. Nobody cares what you wear or don’t wear at the beach. No one cares how your hair looks or whether you shaved or not. Who cares if your shorts or jeans have a hole in them? Being at the beach means you can relax. You don’t need to press your shorts, roll your hair, spend 33 or0 minutes applying make-up, or shave. Why? Because you’re at the beach!
  • FAMILY/FRIEND TIME – Just about 100% of all families get along well when enjoying a fun vacation. Whose kids don’t like Pop-Tarts and oranges for breakfast, peanut butter & jelly sandwiches for lunch, and cheeseburgers for dinner? Mom has more time to relax as everyone is close by; Dads spend quality time playing with the kids, and the kids play nicely together.
  • WEATHER – One goes to the beach in anticipation of sunshine, which means lots of suns. And beaches, often, provide just that – sunlight. But with the sunshine comes working on your tan, boogie boarding, surfing, fishing, biking, boating, and much more.
  • MAJOR ATTRACTIONS – One of Doug’s best friends growing up in NJ was Christopher L. His family owned an amazing (yet simple) beach house in Normandy Beach, NJ (the shore). On Friday & Saturday nights, they’d looked to his older brothers Peter & Johnny to see if they would drive them to the boardwalk at either Point Pleasant or Seaside Heights. Doug & Christopher would save up their nickels and dimes so they could ride the Ferris wheel, play Skee Ball or buy some cotton candy. Was there anything better at the age of 14? And you can’t forget that beaches usually indicate you are not far from miniature golf, go-karts & more.
  • FRESH SEAFOOD – Have you ever been to Chicago and had fresh seafood? We think not. Fresh to us is being brought to the surface at 11 am and on our plates at 6 pm. Do we need to continue steamed shrimp, crab cakes, blackened Mahi Mahi, or fresh lobster?
family playing on the beach with people in the background and family posing for a family portrait on the beach

For adults looking to retire, a number of these still come into play. Perhaps one of the most significant benefits for retirees moving to the beach is if they have grandchildren. Whose grandkids wouldn’t want to visit Grandma & Grandpa at the beach? We know plenty of kids will want to visit just to be able to have that free vacation with the family at the beach.

We aren’t sure that with all the information in the following graph, but it shows that 6 of the ten most popular states to retire has an ocean. Doug guesses that Tennessee is the most popular because it offers lakes & mountains and is a shorter drive from many Midwestern states.

graph showing of where retirees retire to

If you are considering retiring near the sea, then come down soon and visit the greater Wilmington/Brunswick County area – also known as Coastal North Carolina. Here you’ll find many fantastic retirement communities and all the fun and excitement of a city (Wilmington). Plus, miles and miles of sandy beaches at Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Ft. Fisher, Oak Island, and more.

picture showing coastal north carolina

No wonder Coastal North Carolina is one of America’s top retirement destinations!

Building Boom in Full Stride

home on left is only the frame of a new home and the home on the right is one that is finished and ready to move in.

If anyone says that they predicted our current real estate market correctly two years ago when Covid was spreading faster than a forest fire, we’d love to meet them. If we can go back to April/May of 2020 and be objective, we must be able to recall our country’s state, rightfully? Everything was closed, and scientists were scrambling to understand this virus. Our red-hot economy was tumbling, and nobody had any conclusive answers on the pandemic.

As people began leaving significant cities in droves, the burbs became hot hot hot – with many Baby Boomers deciding to take advantage of the prices increases and retire a bit early. This created a significant trickle-down effect on real estate in Coastal North Carolina. We were already experiencing a voracious retirement market here, but our inventory of new and resale homes was depleted in no time at all.

Carolina Plantations opened in March of 2007, and for years Doug has been touting that probably 60-70% of our client’s “build” their dream home down here. Why, you ask? Because our clients have the time and want their homes to build to their specifications, not someone else. However, when the pandemic struck, and home building prices shot through the roof (get it?), we figured that home building would slow down. Au contraire, it didn’t.

Even with the building costs up 20-30%, give or take, people are still opting to build as much today as they were two years ago. What is driving this is the lack of inventory of resale and new spec homes on the market. What we do have, though, is a supply of homesites that are just sitting there waiting for our clients to come along and place a home on them. Mind you, some of the communities are void of new or resale homesites while other communities are flush.

Let Us Help You

The team at Carolina Plantations has been working hand in hand with a myriad of builders in Coastal North Carolina for 15 years. We know where the homesites are and which builders might be the best to help you build your dream retirement home. Contact us today, and let’s get this party started!

Call us at 910-755-7557 or send an email over to Doug at Doug@carolinaplantations.com. We have long-standing relationships with the following leading builders in Coastal North Carolina. Don’t get outbid on a home or ten, BUILD your retirement home!!

Different builders in the area

We are Not Normal!

Please do not expect the Brokers/Realtors at Carolina Plantations to be anything like other Brokers/Realtors you’ve dealt with in the past. It’s just not fair to the other Brokers at all.

carolina plantations brokers and realtors

In the Fall of 2006, the real estate conditions in Coastal North Carolina were as ripe as a sun-laden peach basking in the Carolina sun for weeks. There were numerous successful large communities (referred to as ‘plantations’ up and down the east coast and the southern states) selling every parcel of land they could develop. For a bullseye was forming over Brunswick County as more and more Mid-Atlantic, Midwestern & New England retirees were discovering our well-kept secret.

Carolina Plantations Real Estate opened in March of 2007 to assist those considering Brunswick County as a place to retire. Doug saw a need for a company almost solely focused on helping future retirees with a daunting task – and that is, where to retire to? We opened serving a focused market, and while that is not particularly unusual for real estate companies. We are a group of realtors aiming almost strictly at retirees is. Fourteen years later, we are one of the Top 10 real estate companies in our area, and we have helped thousands of clients find their dream homes. We are by far the #1 Team in North Carolina, assisting the people in determining if our area meets their retirement needs.

The Difference of Carolina Plantations

So, this is where the differences begin. And, of course, we are aware that other real estate firms might be large enough to offer future retirees something that Carolina Plantations cannot. However, there are far more factors in our favor because we specialize in one thing – assisting people with their search for a place to retire to.

One thing we will not do is waste your valuable time. We are not going to open the front doors of countless homes until you cry, “Uncle”. We employ “The Martini Theory” with every client we interact with, as this is critical knowledge for our Buyers. The top part of the martini glass is for you to find an AREA that needs your needs. Whether it’s for health, beaches, culture, shopping, and more, we can help. Once you have found an area, you are comfortable with, selecting a community that matches your requirements is next. The third and final component of the Martini Theory is finding a home for you.

The Advantages of Working with a Broker from Carolina Plantations

  • We can go in and out of any community in Southeastern North Carolina
  • We can show you everything for sale, including New, Spec Homes, Resales, Foreclosures & more
  • We specialize in selling homesites and assisting our clients through the building process
  • We will take you on a tour of our area(s). Why look at homes if you don’t like the area?
  • We are funny. Finding a place to retire to for the rest of your lives should be enjoyable!
  • We represent YOU. Many developers and building agents represent their employers, not you

We have no idea if you’re going to like Coastal North Carolina, but there is no better way to get a good sampling of it than spending time with the #1 company assisting retirees. We at Carolina Plantations look forward to helping you find your perfect dream home and visiting the area

Inventory

What’s the number one subject today in real estate? Inventory, err um, the lack thereof. It seems that everyone can talk about it at the water cooler, tennis courts, or cafes. So, does “inventory” affect you? Yes, if you are a Buyer or Seller. And for the sake of discussion, we will focus here on those of you who are Buyers or about to become Buyers and how you might be able to circumvent inventory issues.

In the past two years, the team at Carolina Plantations has nearly doubled our number of listings. It has been a concerted effort as everyone on the team must send out a quarterly newsletter. Most of our Brokers send out postcards and or marketing material to targeted communities. This effort has yielded many happy clients on both sides of the transactions. Buyers love us because we know of upcoming inventory, and Sellers love us because they do not have to vacuum their homes and clean the entire house daily or weekly for months on end.

The majority of good homes listed at fair prices on the southernmost coast of North Carolina sell within 1-2 days, and in many cases, have multiple offers and bidding wars. FYI, it’s an excellent time to be a Seller providing you don’t have to turn around and find yourself bidding on a house – for any quick profits you earned could be eliminated.

Here are three issues to keep in mind as you look for a Buyer’s Agent in today’s fiercely competitive real estate market below.

#1 Working with Agencies That Have (Access to) New Listings

Say you are interested in a Palm Tree Plantation community and want to buy an existing home. You contact your local Realtor named Bob to assist you with your search, and he is willing to help. However, there is little to no inventory of homes there, and Bob doesn’t know anyone at PTP because he has never sold a house there. Again, Bob is a nice guy willing to help but, can he help you?

So, instead of selecting Bob, you research Palm Tree Plantation and find a Realtor named Sally, who sells 30-40 homes a year in PTP. You contact her, and she agrees to assist you in your search. You provide her with the parameters of what you want your home to look like, and while there is no inventory of homes that matches your requirements, Sally is already making calls and checking in with clients of hers to see if anyone is thinking of selling soon.

#2 Working with Brokers Who Are Connected

Once again, your focus is on Palm Tree Plantation. You contact Marcia, a relatively new Broker in the area, to help you with your search. You ask her if she knows of any upcoming listing in PTP, and she doesn’t because she has no clients in PTP, plus she doesn’t know any Brokers to call there. Marcia’s ability to help you has been severely compromised. Yes, she can add your email address to a portal that shoots you all new listings, but more often than not, if a listing makes it to MLS, the clock is ticking, and you better get an offer in soon if you want o to have a chance.

Conversely, you make a call or two to find a seasoned Broker in the area, one that knows most, if not all, of the local Brokers. Randy has been selling in the area for 15 years and knows PTP well, and has lots of friends in the industry. Randy is not only willing to assist you in your search but probably more capable than a Broker with little to no contacts in the industry.

#3 Seriously Consider Building Your Dream Home

Since Carolina Plantations opened in 2008, probably 70% of our clients looking to retire to Brunswick County have built their Dream Home. Why? Because they can wind up with a home exactly how they want it and on the homesite that also meets their requirements (as in, backing up to nature, in a cul-de-sac, backyard facing south, near the clubhouse/pool, overlooking water, etc.)

Yes, prices of lumber have spiked due to COVID; however, in keeping the big picture in mind, many builders here still change $150-$200’ to build a wonderful home. Compared to other markets we have personally witnessed across the states, that is a bargain. The most significant impact COVID has had though on our new home market is lead times. A year ago, builders would typically quote 6-8 months from groundbreaking to completion, and now you are looking at more like 12+ months.

In essence, do some research before you randomly select a real estate broker to assist you with your search, as not all Brokers are created equal. You will need one that has good contacts within the resale market and can introduce you to builders if you decide to go in that direction. Carolina Plantations looks forward to helping you find your dream home that you can retire in here on the coast of North Carolina!

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