The luxury home market in the Cape Fear region had its worst month in six years in September, according to a report Thursday.
Only two high-end homes priced at $1 million or more were sold during the month when Hurricane Florence made landfall near Wrightsville Beach, the report by Wilmington-based firm Just for Buyers Realty said.
One of the homes was sold in New Hanover County for $2.1 million and the other in Brunswick County for $1.2 million. That's compared to a total of 16 homes sold in New Hanover and Brunswick in September last year, the report stated. Just for Buyers Realty uses the N.C. Regional Multiple Listing Service's data to compile its monthly luxury report. No homes at the $1 million-or-more price point sold in Pender County this year or last year during the month of September.
"This is the weakest showing of high-end home sales since the bottom of the market in March of 2012 when only one home sold in the area for $1.4 million," the report stated.
But despite the storm-month slump, luxury home sales are up year-to-date (January through the beginning of October) in New Hanover County, according to N.C. Regional MLS data compiled by Wilmington-based Intracoastal Realty this week.
The number of homes priced at $1 million that have sold are up 7 percent in the county overall, 17 percent in Landfall, 16 percent in Wrightsville Beach and 3 percent on Figure Eight Island, said Jim Wallace, founder and CEO of Intracoastal Realty.
"That's a good area luxury market," Wallace said Thursday. "There's a lot of demand out there for high-end real estate."
One example: Agents with his firm helped place a $2.3 million home on Figure Eight Island under contract on Tuesday, Wallace said.
As for the September decline, the Just for Buyers report cites the storm, which made landfall Sept. 14, as a major factor.
“Like everyone else, buyers and sellers had other things on their mind,” said Kathleen Baylies, broker-in-charge of Just for Buyers Realty, in a news release. “The storm affected every aspect of every category of the local real estate business. Real estate companies, attorney offices, lenders and insurance companies all closed.
"To complicate things further, many of their offices suffered damage, delaying their ability to reopen for as much as two weeks. Right now everyone is working on rescheduling transactions.”
Seven luxury homes were added to the market before the storm but only one house after Hurricane Florence, the report stated.
The house at 1520 N. Shore Drive in the Brunswick County town of Sunset Beach was listed Sept. 27 by Coldwell Banker Chicora Real Estate. The custom-built waterfront home has a solar heated pool, sauna, private boat dock, six bedrooms, five bathrooms and an elevator, and is on the market for $1.525 million.