Hurricanes

coast guard hurricane warning signs

In early 2002, when the Blue Green Corporation hired Doug to sell land at Winding River Plantation in Bolivia, NC, he taught him to refer to hurricanes as “storms” and do all he could to change the subject if it came up. Talking about hurricanes while trying to sell real estate is like asking a Yankees fan to root for the Red Sox.

With Ian wreaking havoc on the Caribbean, Florida, and the Carolinas a few weeks ago, we are going against the grain and speaking openly about one of mother nature’s worst occurrences. Wish us luck!

A Little Peek at Facts

First, though, let’s take a quick peek at some interesting statistics about the population of the US and where it resides:

  • About 94.7 million people, or about 29.1% of the total US population, lived in coastline counties in 2017, a 15.3% growth since 2000.
  • 81.4% of the population lives in coastal states on 57% of the nation’s land. 37.4% of the population can be found in counties adjacent to the oceans and Great Lakes. These counties occupy less than 18% of the land.
  • About 60.2 million people lived in the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico regions – those most vulnerable to hurricanes. These areas added 8.3 million people between 2000 and 2017, a 16% increase.
  • Florida’s net annual gain of 404,000 (or 1106 a day) new residents in 2021 has increased Florida’s population to over 22,000,000. Only Texas and California are more populated.

We think you get the point. Coastal states and cities are popular destinations for people escaping the brutal winters and high taxes of the Mid-Atlantic, Midwest, and New England. The first goal is to find a warmer climate; for many, it is also to live somewhat close to the ocean. So, if the trends are for more Americans to move closer to the sea and warmer climates, then don’t these people know about hurricanes?

photo of the ocean, sand and a walkway to the beach with blue skies

It would be hard to believe that someone moving to a saltwater coastline is unaware that hurricanes are brewing in the oceans. The draw of living near a warm ocean is powerful, for here is where you’ll find more favorable weather, a plethora of beautiful, planned communities, a laid-back lifestyle, and tons of year-round activities.

Elevations

However, the downside is that you must be on the lookout for storms instead of hurricanes. For example, Governor DeSantis announced that Ian is a 500-year floodplain storm – so they got to go back in history to find similar damage in that area.

Oh, and Florida is quite different from North Carolina in elevation. The highest peaks in most of Florida are overpasses, with most people living on 3’ – 10’ of elevation. In Brunswick County, we are blessed with higher inland elevations, such as Brunswick Forest boasting 30’ – 40’ above sea level, Ocean Ridge is 30-55’, and Compass Pointe is 25-40’, etc.

Below you can see the paths of 57 storms that have landed on the shores of the US since 1985 (Ian is not on the map below.) It is safe to say that even people who live inland in coastal states experience their level of storm hits. What is also true is that there is no actual safe place on the coast from Brownsville up to Bangor. Doug has some friends in Winston-Salem, which is easily 3 hours from the NC coast, who received a bunch of rain and experienced high gusts from Ian.

photo showing a hurricane models

Flooding

One other item worth mentioning about hurricanes is that over 80% of the damages (and therefore costs) come from flooding. Winds will always be responsible for some damage, but the water produces most of the damage. Did you see the damage to Ft. Myers beach? Devastating is an understatement.

Picture on right is the water damage on the Federal Court House and the picture on the left is after the damages happened

And water damages occur in many ways. There is the obvious, such as water in buildings and homes and erosion, but in 2019 in downtown Wilmington, we experienced Florence. On Doug’s daily morning on the Riverwalk, he passes by the Federal Court House (formerly the US Customs House). Directly after Florence, none of the maintenance staff for the building came to check on the structure and air it out. What transpired during those 4-5 days was unimaginable. Mold spores grew inside the building because it was usually hot outside after a storm, and because they had some minor water intrusion in the building, it was like a terrarium inside. Today, over four years later, that building is still not inhabitable. They have been sucking out the moisture for four solid years, 24/7. Eventually, government officials decided to remove most of the drywall and replace all the windows. The repair cost to this building is astronomical now, and we still have no time on when it will reopen. Therefore, water damages come in all shapes and sizes and should be feared.

Hurricanes happen, and no place is without weather drawbacks. Since 1999, Doug has experienced two direct hits (relatively mild, though) and many drive-by’s. Before moving to Coastal NC in 1999, he lived north of Boston for seven years and experienced at least 4 Nor’easters – which is code for a wicked lousy winter storm. And before that, he spent three years in Milwaukee, where winter lasts seven months. No place is perfect. But if you are on the hunt for that Coastal NC home to retire in, then allow us at Carolina Plantations to help you with your search!

Sunlight: Why We Need it so Much

yellow sunshine with flares and orange background in sky

We can’t believe it’s September already, and winter will be here before we know it. We at Carolina Plantations wanted to shine some light on the many benefits of sunlight. We see our fair share of the sun year-round, but we still wanted to share some key benefits with you all.

Improves your Sleep

Your body creates a hormone called “melatonin,” which is critical in helping you sleep. Because your body starts producing it when it’s dark out, you will usually begin to feel sleepy two hours after the sun sets. This is one of the main reasons why we’re able to stay up later during the summer compared to the winter months. Research indicates that an hour of natural light in the morning will help you sleep better at night. FYI, a little unknown secret is that in our brain, the Pineal Gland is the one producing melatonin. If you have heard of people going crazy from light deprivation, it’s because your pineal gland produces too much melatonin, making you tired.

an older couple with white hair sleeping in bed on pillows covered up with a white comforter

Reduce Stress

Melatonin also lowers stress reactivity and being outdoors will help your body naturally regulate melatonin, which helps reduce your stress level. Additionally, because you’re often doing something active when you’re outside (walking, playing, etc.), that extra exercise will also help lower your stress level.

Maintains Strong Bones

One of the best (and easiest) ways to get Vitamin D is by being outside. Our bodies produce Vitamin D when exposed to sunlight – about 15 minutes in the sun a day is adequate if you’re fair-skinned. And since Vitamin D helps your body maintain calcium, this helps prevent brittle, thin, or misshaped bones. Soaking in the sun may be just what the doctor ordered this winter.

Strengthens your Immune System

Vitamin D is also crucial for your immune system as it will help strengthen it with constant exposure. A healthy immune system can help reduce the risk of illness, infections, cancers, and mortality after surgery.

Fights Off Depression

It’s not just in your head; there’s a scientific reason being in the sunshine improves your mood. Sunshine boosts your body’s serotonin level, a chemical that enhances your mood and helps you stay calm and focused. Increased exposure to natural light may help ease the symptoms of seasonal affective disorder. This change in mood typically occurs in the fall and winter months when there are fewer hours of daylight.

one older couple with woman looking sad and another woman with a family member making sure their ok looking depressed

We are astonished by how many current and past friends have trouble falling asleep. It never occurred to us to recommend more sunlight to them. Luckily, we live in a beautiful area that does get a lot of sun, so falling asleep for many is no issue.

Carolina Plantations opened up 15 years ago with one simple focus: Help people find the sun. If NJ, NY, MA, PA, or any other northern/midwestern states experienced as much sun per year as we did, very few people would be moving here, right? Find your sun today and see what you can find in Coastal, NC. Give the #1 Team of Sun Finders – Carolina Plantations Real Estate a call today!

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

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