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NEW HANOVER COUNTY The 2016 real estate market did not top 2015’s 18 percent gain in New Hanover County and was described by brokers as a more normal market, but it was still a big year for the 1,421-member Cape Fear Realtors. The over-all sold volume in transactions these 281 companies handled was up more than $181 million to $1.5 billion, a gain of 14 percent. The number of sales increased just shy of 12 percent. “It was obviously a very strong year; there were more units sold, fewer days on market, overall it’s showing the market just continues to strengthen,” says Jessica Edwards of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast, who ranked No. 10 in sales in New Hanover County with 57 closed transactions totaling $21.5 million. The growth continued the upward trend of the last few years. “This market is finally in a good rhythm after an eight-year recovery from recession,” says Vance Young, the No. 2 ranked bro-ker in New Hanover County, and No. 2 in Wrightsville Beach with a combined sold and list county total of 92 sales, totaling $61.7 million in property sold. The top sale in New Hanover County was 7 Skimmer Road, Figure Eight Island, a sound-front house built in 2010, offering 6,190sf in three stories, 5 bedrooms and 6 baths. The home closed for $4.54 million in September. The sale represented an increase in top sold for the county of 24 percent. Broker Buzzy Northen of Intracoastal Realty, who was ranked No. 6 in New Hanover County sales, No. 1 at Figure Eight Island and No. 15 at Wrightsville Beach, represented the buyer and seller. The buyers were lifetime Figure Eight people. The sellers moved from the sound to the ocean, building a new Figure Eight Island home at 4 Beach Road. Kirra Sutton, of Figure Eight Island Realty, represented the buyers who purchased the No. 2 sale in the county: No. 1 Banks Road, a 5 bedroom, 7 bath, 6,000sf sound front home that sold for $3,537,500 on Oct. 10. Sutton is ranked No. 2 at Figure Eight Island and No. 19 in New Hanover County sales. The buyer, a Midwestern business executive, will use the house as a secondary home and a vacation rental. The seller was a long-time Figure Eight family, Northen says. Top sales jumped 32 percent at Figure Eight and crept up at Porters Neck but declined at Wrightsville and Pleasure Island. Still, high-dollar home sales are commonplace. “We have seen a return of the high-end buyer, not so much the super-high-end buyer, but certainly I would say the million-dollar buyer — that part of the market is much healthier than it has been in eight years,” Vance Young says. In New Hanover County alone, Realtor sales of houses, condos and lots selling for more than $1 million totaled 83. Of these, 21 were $2 million and up. “At Figure Eight we had three properties over $3 million (one was over $4 million) this year sold; last year we only had one prop-erty to sell over $3 million,” says Sutton. “Regionally, our recovery in the high end has probably been a little behind some other places, but we’re starting to see that The No. 1 sale on Harbor Island and the No. 16 on Wrightsville Beach was also the oldest home to sell. 113 S. Channel Drive, a 1929 renovated cottage, sold for $2.18 million in September. 58 WBM february 2017 PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIQUE MEDIA & DESIGN


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