BWHAT IS DRAWING PEOPLE UYERS from all over the country and abroad
were seeking and snapping up property in the
“We are starting to see a lot of people come
from California and other places they want to get out of,”
says Tim Milam.
As a result, the market dynamic has shifted. It’s not a
seasonal market anymore, but a year-round market and
there’s been a geography shift.
“Covid has made Southeastern North Carolina so very
attractive because of our climate,” Milam says. “Why live
in New Jersey, New York or Virginia where there is cold
and snow, let’s move to North Carolina where taxes are
low. It’s been a dynamic change none of us expected.”
Regardless of where they were coming from, continu-ing
themes were a desire for great outdoor entertaining
space, dedicated work and play areas, and room for
“The biggest thing buyers want is seeing their family
fit in the space — it needs to make sense for their family,”
says Donna Waller of Landmark Sotheby’s International
Realty. “I am seeing a little shift from open concept to
people looking for more actual rooms. They are looking
Because COVID-19 was such a factor in 2021 and
travel has become more challenging, people have poured
themselves into their homes — as a haven for some but
also a replacement for vacation traveling.
“Pools have been a big request, and more outdoor
entertaining living space has been something of impor-tance
to clients. The views are always going to be a big
feature, but we’ve seen more of the grounds and outdoor
living space being an important factor in 2021,” Kirra
Intracoastal Realty’s Amy Formanek points to strong
community activities as another reason for buyers
choosing the area. Enhanced educational opportunities
through UNC-Wilmington and Cape Fear Community
College add to the area’s resources.
“Many of my buyers were looking in South Carolina
and N.C. They decided on Wilmington for many reasons
— lower taxes, the airport, historic downtown, cultural
arts center, music venues, and a slower lifestyle than
where they lived. It just so happens we have beautiful
beaches, boat clubs, and a strong sense of community and
clubs to interest residents,” Formanek says.
Another dynamic is with the housing inventory so low,
people are filling up the plethora of apartments that have
“People cannot find what they want, and want to move
here, so that’s why all these apartments are filling up,
there is a need for housing,” Tim Milam says.
The fifth highest sale in New Hanover County, six-bedroom 7817 Pine Ave., was
built in 1948 and is protected with a conservation easement but zoned R-20. It is
located on a 4.32-acre peninsula at the mouth of Pages Creek, across from Figure
Eight Island. The 3,280 sf, three-story house was a summer home without heat,
cooled by just window air conditioning in the bedrooms and main level sunroom.
It sold for $5,207,960 in June, which was 99.2 percent of list price.
INTRACOASTAL REALTY CORPORATION
TIME IS MONEY
Partly due to the extreme supply chain delays in receiving products,
appliances and furniture, and the escalating cost of building and
renovation materials, time became a factor in purchasing, renovating
“If the price factor isn’t coming into play, the time factor is. I’ve
heard crazy things about getting appliances for renovations being
delayed month after month,” Jessica Edwards says. “And installing a
pool can take a year.”
Houses ready for a buyer to step into and start living were in high
“If someone is selling a property furnished and in good taste, that’s
going to be very attractive to a buyer,” says Edwards. “The buyer wants
up-to-date, current trends, big kitchens done and move-in ready. Those
homes are selling at higher prices than something that needs renova-tion.
People are willing to pay for a property that is ready to go. And that
is at every end of the market. Those truly perfect move-in ready homes
are selling at the top, top prices, including in Landfall.”
Realtor after Realtor agreed that current buyers are drawn to turn-key
“The level of modernization of a particular residence, be that a
house, condo, or townhome, is certainly one of the biggest compo-nents
of its value,” says Ace Cofer. “The 2021 consumers really were
willing to pay a premium over retail for a modern, turnkey interior. Late
in the year, when we put two properties up in original condition, they
just sat on the market.”
However, perhaps because of the lack of inventory, teardowns and
renovations are occurring all throughout New Hanover County. Hot
spots include Porters Neck and the area near Cape Fear Country Club.
“A lot of areas have gone through transformative periods with tear-downs,
waterfront Bald Eagle Lane in Porters Neck is one of them,
obviously Wrightsville Beach is another,” says Max Smith with Cadence