May OBX Market Update

May OBX Market UpdateIn a nutshell, the market here is changing…slowly…but surely.  These types of cycle shifts don’t happen all at once.  Fortunately, because I study the market every day, I can help you see it coming.  After all, you can get out of the way of what you don’t see!

Here are the basics we are watching:


Total Everything – up 27% since January (currently over 1,000 listings)

           Homes, Single Family and Condos/Townhomes – up 24%


Absorption Rate has gone from 4.8 months to 5.5 months since January

This means it would take longer to sell the homes we currently have on the market.  Once this goes over 6 months, we enter a Slow Market


53.5% of homes are still selling within 0-30 days, of those…

97% of asking price is what they are selling for

67% of homes are now selling under asking price

Basic supply and demand economics tell us that when supply is inching up, demand is inching down that prices will start to waiver.  How long will this current market last?  We just have to keep watching. We are noticing more price reductions coming in and fewer multiple offers.  This is an active situation.  Stay tuned for next month’s report!

If you have thought about buying or selling, let me know so we can plan your strategy.

First Quarter 2024 Comparison to First Quarter 2023

OBX Real Estate Market - Crystal Ball and upward graphWhat a difference a year makes!  Long story short, there are some BIG moves that are happening.  I’ve talked before about algorithmic decay.  This chart here is exactly that!  Little, by little, by little, then bang.  That’s how markets change.  Tale as old as time, song as old as rhyme, it’s almost as good as a crystal ball.

Anyone saying the real estate market on the Outer Banks is not changing is just not paying attention.

But, look here, and you decide:

Image of the differences between 2023 and 2024 in the OBX Real Estate Market

We are on the cusp of a price shift potentially starting this fall.  Here are the facts about our market:

  • Insurance costs are rising and coverage dropping
  • Interest rates are not changing any time soon
  • Rental income is back to pre-pandemic levels

If you are on the fence about selling your home, your window is closing before we start to see quantifiable price shifts.  Call me today to discuss the best strategy for selling in today’s changing market.

New Septic Rules Effective January 1, 2024

New Septic Rules Effective January 1, 2024

New septic regulations adopted by the NC General Assembly become effective on January 1, 2024. These rules affect the repairs of existing systems and establish guidelines for new systems classified as high-capacity uses, such as restaurants, churches, and other similar uses. The information included below is from the Dare County Health Department, listing several concerns with the new rules:

  1. The applicability of the rules as it pertains to the installation of repair systems for systems permitted prior to January 1, 2024 The new rules are not supposed to apply to systems that have an IP (Improvement Permit), EOP (Engineered Plan), NOI (Notice of Intent to Construct), etc. issued before January 1, 2024 except for when the repair system is to be installed.  This means homeowners will now be forced to contract with an engineer to design advanced pretreatment systems for the designated repair areas (see concern number 2 below as concerns 1 and 2 are closely linked).
  2. Loss of best professional judgment for EHSs.  The ability for local staff to use their experience working with local soils and environment has been severely restricted.  DEH staff will no longer be able to work with people on challenging repair situations.  Forces use of designated repair areas which often may involve use of some form of advanced pretreatment creating an exceptional financial burden on property owners.
  3. The labeling of all uses that fall into certain categories as high-strength wastewater Churches, schools, RV parks, restaurants/food service, etc. The rules force the use of advanced treatment equipment when designing systems to serve these uses. These systems cost more to install and require significant ongoing O&M costs.

Dare County officials are evaluating the potential for revisions to the rules in the 2024 legislation session. The Government Affairs Committee will be discussing these new rules at their December meeting, and additional information for OBAR members will be forthcoming following that meeting.

The “Raw Truth” about the OBX market right now.

It’s no secret the real estate market is in very bad shape right now.  And in an effort to be as up-front as possible about the pros and cons, I wanted to create this quick list of the main things to consider before buying or selling.

One of the biggest questions I get as an agent is around timing.  When is the right time to buy or to sell?  Truthfully, there is not a one-size-fits-all answer to this.  The best time is when you want to.  Rarely do we have clients who HAVE to buy or sell out of some distress.  That’s just not the norm.  So, does it make sense for YOU to buy or sell right now?  Let’s look at the raw truth.

  1. Outer Banks homes have the ability to generate quite a nice rental income. If you want to insure your long-term capability to own the home, only look at homes with income that is enough to cover the mortgage.  If it’s not going to cover at least that part, it may not be the right house for you.
  2. OBX home purchases are primarily a lifestyle choice. It’s not the norm to make bank on rental income, so only buy a home you know you will get a lot of personal use from.  If it’s not really ideal for your family, you won’t use it.  That time spent is priceless.  Be sure it fits your future family, too.
  3. With banks failing as what seems to be a regular occurrence now, real estate is an actual tangible asset. While the prices do fluctuate, it will never go to zero.  The inflationary dollar is in real trouble.  Why not park some cash in real estate, especially with passive income and personal use on the table?
  4. However, real estate appreciation or value is NOT capable of instant liquidity. Unless you consider 30 days instant.  Pulling liquidity out of real estate takes some financial investment and, most importantly, time.  If you need liquid cash fast, this is not the right investment.
  5. MAINTENANCE IS MANDATORY. Let me say that again.    Do not become one of those lax owners who collects the money and does nothing to the house for 20 years.  It will only cost more later.  The environment here is harsh.  Annual maintenance to keep the home in top condition is expensive.  Be prepared for that, or just buy raw land instead.
  6. While we benefit from low taxes here, insurance is most definitely on the rise! It may soon be unaffordable for many.  And, there is talk of no longer offering coverage for natural disasters.  I can’t imagine they get away with that, but be aware it’s being talked about. To be properly insured could be pushing $15,000 for many homes these days.  It’s nothing to take lightly.  Make sure you aren’t currently under-insured.  Construction costs for a new build START at $300/sq.ft. now!  (I hope you were sitting when you read that)
  7. Interest rates aren’t forever; you can refinance! Granted, you will need equity in the home to do that, so be aware it does come with some risk if that is your plan.  You will need to refinance before the market price eats up your 20% down payment, or it will require more cash to make it happen.
  8. As a Long-term investment plan, real estate is actually very low risk – high reward. Even if someone bought in the last boom of 2005, just 16 years later, even they would have made a handsome profit.  Not to mention 15 or 20 years of someone else paying your mortgage…all that equity for you to capitalize on at the end.

If you would like to discuss your specific circumstances and find out the best timing to either buy or sell, just contact me and we will go through everything you need to know!

August Market Update 2023

August on the Outer Banks

We are closely watching the main stats on supply (up 33% since January) and demand (down 44% since January).  Part of that is watching more specific pockets of activity to glean a closer insight into future trends.  One of those trends I’ve noticed in my near 30 year career is that of high-end home sales.

Take a look at the numbers for Duck and Corolla.

Homes sold $2M and over:

2019 –              6

2020 –              26

2021 –              64

2022 –              51

2023 –              17 YTD  (Likely on track for 27 total)

    • Even if we end up at 27 sold, that will be a decline of 47% year over year.
    • Number of price reductions to get homes sold is going up; 60% of properties sold are under list price, compared to 51% last year.
    • Median days on market for the high-end sales has gone from 21 days to 93 days year over year.
    • There are currently 30 homes for sale in Duck and Corolla $2M and over. With basically 2.4 buyers a month this is over a year worth of inventory.

With interest rates rising, insurance costs rising, rents stabilizing to pre-pandemic times, it’s really clear that a shift in pricing has to take place.  The timing of this is what’s left to be seen.  This strange anomaly of still very low inventory (although is starting to slowly climb) is keeping us stuck in limbo.

If you’re thinking about selling, let’s talk about what your home’s value may look like in this market.

July Market Update

Happy 4th of July on the Outer BanksMid-year is upon us and not much has changed since the last report.  I did notice an interesting trend regarding CASH in our marketplace.  Here’s the deal.  There have been 136 home sales in Duck and Corolla since January.

Of those 136 home sales:

  • 32 Cash
  • 13 Jumbo Loans
  • 91 Conventional Loans

A conventional loan amount is $726,200.  With the typical 20% down, that means a purchase price of around $875,000.

  • Only 53 of the 136 homes sold were under $900,000
  • 83 homes sold over $900,000 up to $6,300,000
  • 13 were jumbo loans
  • 22 were cash
  • The average price is $1,251,000
  • The median sales price is $992,500

A jumbo loan amount is anything over the $726,200.  There were only 13 of those reported.  There were 48 Conventional loans in the $900,000 and up price range.  This means that 48 buyers out of 83 brought enough cash to the table to get their mortgage at or under $726,200.

To paint a clear picture – 32 cash buyers, 48 mostly cash buyers.  That’s 80 buyers (60%) who brought a ton of cash to the closing table to buy a home on the Outer Banks.  Including the highest sale of the year so far – $6,300,000 ALL CASH!!!!  This just seems amazing to me. (Here’s a link Click Here to View Listings to that home if you want to see what $6.3M gets you)

This is a clear indication that buyers have no problem parking cash in a beach home right now.  I mean, why not?  Let’s look at the 3 main reasons this could be a good idea.

  1. Rental income – If you choose to rent, the income will at the very least cover your mortgage. That means, future equity you reap, all paid by SOMEONE ELSE.
  2. Bank Failures – With banks failing across the country, and the Dodd-Frank Bill legalizing, if not mandating, “bail-ins” a lot of people don’t feel safe keeping their cash susceptible. Rather, they are investing in a tangible asset, and one they can enjoy themselves and have others pay for!
  3. Inflationary Fiat Dollar – Let’s get real, the price of real estate will NEVER go to zero. As inflation spikes even more and more out of control, the dollar is tumbling closer and closer to zero.  It seems buyers are hedging their bets on the tangible asset of real estate versus the tumbling value of the dollar.

We haven’t even begun to see the effects of the commercial real estate crisis looming.  This is widely affecting regional banks who are holding the notes on these buildings that are sitting empty in record numbers across major cities.

Don’t get me wrong, my message is not of doom and gloom.  What’s going to happen is going to happen.  My point is, what is your best move?

If you are considering selling, there are cash buyers waiting for your home.  We do have investment vehicles where you can put your money and AVOID capital gains tax in the meantime.  Contact me for more information.

If you are thinking about buying, get off the fence and don’t let the interest rates deter you.  You won’t have much competition buying right now and there are some great opportunities out there!

Welcome Summer!

Welcome Summer! Now that Memorial Day is behind us, it’s officially our summer season. It started with some interesting weather! I read that June is predicted to be cooler than normal. Once again reinforcing my pick for September as the best month on the OBX.

Market Report – I have to say in 26 years of being in this business, the market we have right now is the most odd I’ve ever seen. We have a lack of buyers AND a lack of inventory. With two major banks pulling out of the resort markets, there’s a bit of uncertainty to come. Read June’s FULL Report Here!

Mid-Currituck Bridge – No real construction news, but a win in the fight. The SELC has decided NOT to appeal the recent court’s decision. This will certainly save some time. While the plan seems to intend on moving forward, the environmental studies will all have to be re-done since they are more than 3 years old. Full article here.

Tax Deferred Exchange – Did you know it’s possible to sell an investment property and defer capital gains tax, WITHOUT having to do a 1031 Tax Exchange and buying another property? I have a handy PDF document I can send with more information if you’re interested. Just email me back to request it.

Happy March! 

The Month of MarchWhat a mild winter we have had here at the beach so far.  We are not complaining, that’s for sure.

I’ve got a couple of pretty interesting topics this month…let’s dive in.

Market Report

Anyone who knows me knows I’m generally an optimist by nature.  I have to say some of the economic factors going on are raising my level of concern for our local market this year.  While the OBX is a primarily second home market, we are late to see the effects of the primary market shifts.  Believe me, changes are on the way, click here for more.

Mid Currituck Bridge

Ah yes…the long-awaited bridge.  If you’ve been waiting around for this thing since the 90’s like me, you will probably see this as a nice reminder this project is not completely dead, and also hard to get hopeful again.  Read more here.

Taste of the Beach

Yes, it’s March and time for my absolute favorite OBX Event of the year!  If you’ve never been, you are missing out on some of the best dining experiences we have to offer.  If you can make it to town the weekend of March 24 – 26th, you won’t be sorry!  Let me know what some of your favorites are!  Click here for the event website.

Agent of the Year

I was honored and excited to receive this award again for 2022.  I’m grateful to my wonderful client base and friends for the amazing support I’ve had in my career.  This is year 27 for me in the business.  I have been very blessed. Read more here.

Hurricane Names for 2021 Season and Preparedness Checklist

Outer Banks Hurricane names 2021

Hurricane Preparedness

The 2014 Outer Banks Fall Market Forecast

 There are 5 separate aspects to this market analysis/forecast.

  1. Land Sales Data
  2. Home Sales Data
  3. Rental Report
  4. Home Starts Data
  5. Finance Market Data

The purpose of this report is to provide an accurate accounting of what is currently happening in our local market and based on factual statistics, what is most likely to happen for the remainder of the 2014 calendar year.  While we don’t have a crystal ball with markets, we do have trends.  Those trends can give a fair gauge of what decisions need to be made and when.  Let’s get started!

*The data below analyzes the difference between January 1, 2013 to August 1, 2013 and the same time frame for 2014. 

Part 1 – Land Sales Data


2013                                  2014

Total Sold –                    69                                        22                         (68% drop)

Avg Days on Mkt –      273                                     266

Avg List Price –             $300,000                         $258,000          (14% drop)

Avg Sold Price –            $272,000                         $250,000          (8% drop)

Currently Available – 84  (28 month supply)

Average Price – $223,000


2013                                  2014

Total Sold –                    4                                          4

Avg Days on Mkt –      267                                     1010

Avg List Price –             $370,000                         $349,000          (6% drop)

Avg Sold Price –            $320,000                         $311,000          (3% drop)

Currently Available – 27  (47 month supply)

Average Price $296,000

Southern Shores

2013                                  2014

Total Sold –                    10                                        21                         (52% increase)

Avg Days on Mkt –      454                                     384

Avg List Price –             $185,000                         $249,000          (26% increase)

Avg Sold Price –            $171,000                         $193,000          (11% increase)

Currently Available – 31  (10 month supply)

Average Price $181,000

Southern Beaches (KH, KDH, NH)

2013                                  2014

Total Sold –                    50                                        49

Avg Days on Mkt –      266                                     304

Avg List Price –             $130,000                         $161,000          (19% increase)

Avg Sold Price –            $113,000                         $143,000          (21% increase)

Currently Available – 147  (21 month supply)

Average Price $290,000  (This includes 7 oceanfront lots for sale over $1,000,000)

Final Analysis

  • Land is a better value in Corolla
  • Southern Shores has the lowest supply of inventory relative to the number of buyers
  • Duck is the most expensive location with the most supply available
  • Unless your price is super aggressive, you can expect it to take almost a year to sell a vacant lot

Top Prediction – Land sales will continue to stay low due to the greater availability of larger homes at lower prices (higher end properties cannot be rebuilt new for the same price as an existing home at today’s lower prices).

Part 2 – Homes Sales Data


2013                                  2014

Total Sold –                    107                                     91                         (15% drop)

Avg Days on Mkt –      261                                     254

Avg List Price –             $672,000                         $741,000          (9% increase)

Avg Sold Price –            $627,000                         $698,000          (10% increase)

List to Sale % –             93%                                   94%

Currently Available – 360  (28 month supply)

Average Price – $750,000

Breakdown of Sold by Price

Under $350,000           18 (17%)                         14 (15%)

$351,000 – $500           42 (39%)                         29 (32%)

$501,000 – $700           21 (20%)                         21 (23%)

$700,000 – $1M            13 (12%)                         14 (15%)

$1M – up                          13 (12%)                         13 (15%)

While it may look like the prices in Corolla are going up, looking at the break down of price you can see that fewer homes sold in the under $350,000 range as well as 30% of homes sold were over $700,000 in 2014.  That was only 24% in 2013.  So more of the higher end homes are selling.


2013                                  2014

Total Sold –                    60                                        59

Avg Days on Mkt –      247                                     288

Avg List Price –             $723,000                         $674,000          (7% drop)

Avg Sold Price –            $665,000                         $628,000          (6% drop)

List to Sale % –             92%                                   93%

Currently Available – 150  (19 month supply)

Average Price – $706,000

Breakdown of Sold by Price

Under $350,000           12 (20%)                         19 (32%)

$351,000 – $500           17 (28%)                         8   (14%)

$501,000 – $700           15 (25%)                         11 (19%)

$700,000 – $1M            9   (15%)                         16 (27%)

$1M – up                          7   (12%)                         5   (8%)

While it may look like the prices in Duck are going down, looking at the break down of price you can see that while more homes sold in the under $350,000 range, 3 of them in 2013 were co-ownership (avg price $30,000) and in 2014 there have been 7 co-ownership sales thus far.  This is creating a small skew in the numbers.  There was a noticeable jump in sales of the $700,000 to $1M price range.

Southern Shores

2013                                  2014

Total Sold –                    42                                        59                         (29% increase)

Avg Days on Mkt –      210                                     194

Avg List Price –             $577,000                         $555,000          (4% drop)

Avg Sold Price –            $545,000                         $520,000          (5% drop)

List to Sale % –             94%                                   94%

Currently Available – 96  (12 month supply)

Average Price – $599,000

Breakdown of Sold by Price

Under $350,000           12 (29%)                         14 (24%)

$351,000 – $500           14 (32%)                         24 (41%)

$501,000 – $700           5   (12%)                         12 (20%)

$700,000 – $1M            7   (17%)                         6   (10%)

$1M – up                          4   (10%)                         3   (5%)

The best news for Southern Shores is that activity has taken a sharp turn upward.  Notice the months of supply is a year or less and the average price is under $600,000.  This time last year, $599,000 was only 12% of the price range selling there.  Today it’s 20%.  This is a location to watch!

Southern Beaches

2013                                  2014

Total Sold –                    322                                     289                      (10% drop)

Avg Days on Mkt –      211                                     184

Avg List Price –             $322,000                         $363,000          (11% increase)

Avg Sold Price –            $302,000                         $348,000          (13% increase)

List to Sale% –              94%                                   96%

Currently Available – 538  (13 month supply)

Average Price – $451,000

Breakdown of Sold by Price

Under $350,000           241 (75%)                      208 (72%)

$351,000 – $500           51 (16%)                         31 (11%)

$501,000 – $700           16 (5%)                           26 (9%)

$700,000 – $1M            7   (2%)                            15 (5%)

$1M – up                          7   (2%)                            9    (3%)

Same story in the Southern Beaches.  Fewer homes selling under $350,000 and more expensive homes selling.

Final Analysis –

  • Good news for those higher end sellers.  While your price may still be lower than you want, we have more buyers willing to spend in that price range.
  • All areas have at least a year of inventory going up to as much as over 2 years.
  • Corolla still seems to be the market with the biggest struggles
  • You can expect to sell within 93% to 97% of your asking price, ONCE THE HOME IS PRICED CORRECTLY
  • Average days on market is on average over 200 days which indicates the home goes through multiple price reductions before selling
  • The best strategy is to price the home aggressively from the start to avoid further losses

Top prediction – inventory levels being so high will continue to stifle prices.  There is still another 3 to 5 years minimum before a rise in prices of any substance can be expected.

Part 3 – Rental Report 

The following data comes from a consensus of interviews with multiple property management firms.  I have no hard data to support this information.  It’s based on several interviews conducted.

  • More weeks are 100% sold out this year than last
  • More guests are booking “pre-reservations” for the same home next year upon their departure
  • More guests are waiting until the last minute to book reservations in order to obtain a lower rental rate
  • There is a higher percentage of weeks booked at a discounted rate than in years prior
  • More damage reports are being filed
  • More complaints and overall “difficult people” were mentioned

Top Prediction – As the population of sites like,, etc. grows, the trend of seeing more last minute bookings and requests for a discount will rise as well.  Be prepared with your property manager to do an advertised rate and a secondary, discount rate in advance so you don’t loose a booking while the agency is trying to track you down for a decision. 

Part 4 – Home Starts Data 

This data is for Dare County only. 

2013 January to May

68 new starts

$17,900,000 volume

$263,000 average price

2014 January to May

78 new starts

$22,800,000 volume

$292,000 average price

It seems that the spike in sales of vacant lots in 2013 is parallel to the spike in new home starts for the first part of this year.  With lot sales being down drastically in 2014 it will be interesting to see the impact on new home starts for the remainder of this year.

Top Prediction – A number of spec homes were sold in the last 6 months in Kill Devil Hills Westside.  I think we will see more specs built in the lower end price range (under $350,000) as long as builders can continue to buy land under $100,000.  With fewer homes for sale under $350,000, this could be a real winner for investors. 

Part 5 – Financial Market Data

The following report is from a local lender, Drew Wright with OnQ Financial.  He can be reached at [email protected] or 252-562.0194.  He is happy to provide info on prequalification to buy or refinancing an existing loan.

Here on the Outer Banks we defy the rest of the country that typically see sales grow through the spring and into the summer. As is typical, our market slows down in the peak tourist visiting summer season. The reason is pretty simple- it is hard to show a house full of guests who want a week of uninterrupted vacation. Most rental companies and sellers are adamant about not showing a home that is occupied by guests.

I am optimistic about what we see for our upcoming fall buying season and the biggest time for new construction. Inquiries and prequalification for both purchases and new construction are steady and higher than a year ago. So what can we expect for rates over the next three to four months taking us into 2015?

First, just one year ago before the Federal Reserve announced they would begin scaling back mortgage backed bond purchases, rates were well below 4%. Closer to 3.50% to 3.75% for 30 year fixed rates. Rates quickly rose to about 4.50% and have pretty much quietly stayed in this range, until recently as they trended lower- closer to 4.25%.

Most of the experts thought rates would continue to rise for all of 2014 and by most accounts should be higher than 4.50%.  By all accounts rates probably should be headed higher but there are many head winds to rising rates. Yes, the economy disappointed for the first few months but other factors outside of the Federal Reserve control also contributed. Other parts of the world even those with growing economies are scared to death of deflation and as a result are exporting their deflation to us, therefore keeping inflation as measured by the Federal Reserve in check.

While I do believe the world economy is not as well off as ours, I do think our growth in the second half looks to be impressive with job creation above 200,000 for the next few months.  Also, unemployment claims just last week were below 300,000 for the first time in several years.  This will lead to higher rates by the Federal Reserve in 2015. Credit markets that determine interest rates will not sit idly by waiting for the Federal Reserve to act the and as a result we could be seeing the last rally in rates before they turn upwards closer to 4.50% in the next few months and closer to 5.00% in 2015.

If you read Fortune Magazine (and the editor’s opinion) Andy Sewer thinks we are in a sweet spot of low inflation and increasing unemployment that will translate into a stronger US economy. He is a fan of the current administration, so personally I think he has an agenda, but his case of a growing economy is not totally unrealistic. Yes if you read the other popular financial magazine, Forbes, things do not looks so rosy.  I sit more in their camp and somewhere in the middle they are both right, which means a better growing economy. I do think we will hit better employment numbers and to most this means a rising Feds Fund Rate.

Rates if they do rise, and I think they will, generally rise very gradually.  We may have a week of headline news of impending higher rates but it is just to gain attention mostly. Rising rates will make Adjustable Rate options more attractive. Right now the spread between 30 year fixed and ARM rates make the fixed rates for most buyers the better choice. If you are borrowing 750k or more the long term ARM’s are a better play but again you have to be in that loan amount category for me to really suggest it is the better option.

Top Prediction – Rates will eventually go up.  This year is a pretty safe bet.  In order to offset just a 1% rise in rates a buyer has to spend MORE than 10% less just to keep the same principal and interest monthly payment.


$500,000 Loan – 4% interest – 30 years  = $2387 payment

$450,000 Loan – 5% interest – 30 years = $2,415 payment

Final Analysis

  • The fall market usually results in an 18% rise in inventory and similarly a 20% rise in buyer sales.  (versus spring, which is much higher for both)
  • Threat of interest rate hikes will likely cause some buyers to get off the fence and buy this fall
  • Multiple offers on the best priced homes will rise
  • Short sale and foreclosure home inventory will continue to drop
  • Prices will stay the same or slightly drop (less than 5%) due to inventory levels for most areas of the Outer Banks
  • Price reductions will continue to be the main tool used to get most homes sold, keeping the average days on market high
  • To beat the curve, price your home 5% to 10% below market value to entice multiple offers (driving up the price) and to sell quickly, avoiding the price reduction method of selling as well as further out of pocket costs
  • Rental income will continue to be strong and will support roughly 75% of the expenses of owning  (for most homes)

My goal is to always provide unbiased information to every prospective buyer and seller.  I want you to have the FULL PICTURE of the market today so that the best decision for you and your family can be made.  I hope you got a lot out of this report.  I know I learned a lot in putting it together.

If you have questions about buying or selling on the Outer Banks, I hope you’ll contact me to assist you in that endeavor.