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

Finding You a Solution

Many moons ago, Doug coined “The Martini Theory.” It’s a simple analogy for a place to retire:

  1. Top of Glass: Find the right AREA.
  2. Middle of Glass: Find the right COMMUNITY.
  3. Bottom of Glass or Well Soaked Olive: Find your DREAM HOME.

Tens of thousands of people have been introduced to this catchy analysis, and one thing that was always a given about the theory was finding your DREAM HOME. If you found the right area and community, one of the professional Brokers at Carolina Plantations would always find you a home.

That is not as quickly said as done today, but approximately 70% of our clients built a new home in years past. Why? Because after living in homes where there was no pantry, the laundry room was in the basement, the rooms were choppy, and the bathrooms & closets were minuscule. Therefore, the building has been the overwhelming choice of people migrating to Coastal NC for nearly three decades.

Two homes, one home on left in the process of being built with a construction worker and home on the right is gray with being brand new

A lot has changed in our landscape today with regards to building:

  • Most of our large developers have sold out their inventory of homesites.
  • Building costs have skyrocketed, mainly in part to supply issues and Covid.
  • Trained labor is limited in our area, so builders can only build “X” number of homes a year.

St. James Plantation, one of the oldest gated communities laden with amenities, has SOLD OUT of its inventory of over 6,000 homesites. Only resale homes or homesites remain. At Brunswick Forest, there is just a tiny handful of homesites remaining, but new homes are popping up. Compass Pointe is expecting a new crop of homesites within the next few months, but it has been slim pickings there since last summer. And at River Bluffs, they too have new homesites coming down the road but not anytime soon.

The number of inquiries at Carolina Plantations continues to set annual records, as many people have been itching to sell their homes up north in the congested and colder climates and move to the sunny and warm coast of North Carolina. We are fighting a daily supply and demand situation as we’ve never seen before, yet the fantastic team at Carolina Plantations keeps finding solutions.

Our company sales are almost equal yearly versus the 2021 year to date; however, our pending sales are nearly 40% more. This is almost inexplicable, ladies & gentlemen, for our top developers are virtual without new products to sell. So, just how are we keeping pace with last year?

Expanding our Search Criteria

Instead of limiting oneself to just one town or one or two communities, our Brokers are as well versed as any local real estate firm within a 50-mile radius. This is very beneficial to our clients because we are not limited by town borders or only a small handful of beautiful communities.

map showing of coastal brunswick county nc showing new communities

We Work with Local Builders Extensively

Even though building material costs have gone up significantly across the country, building a new home in Coastal NC is still a bargain compared to where most clients live. With homesite inventory dwindling, builders are being more creative and finding new/er communities to put up spec homes, for if they don’t have land to build on, they will go out of business. And for 15 years, no real estate firm has guided more people through the building process with our local builders than the team at Carolina Plantations.

Increased Listings and Teamwork

In addition to our monthly Carolina Dreamin’ eNewsletter, each of our Brokers sends out a quarterly newsletter. This helps us stay in contact with our potential Buyers and previous Buyers, who often sell their homes, condos, and homesites. Possibly knowing about inventory coming on the market provides us with a valuable “heads up,” so to speak.

We probably have over 50 people in the queue to purchase. We have seen a nice increase in inventory in specific areas or markets recently, making solutions possible again. And as we all know, life and real estate are cyclical, so be sure to have the best trained and most responsive real estate Broker fighting for you, for if you don’t, you will receive rejection after rejection – and that isn’t fun, is it?

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