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Economic Development
May 16, 2018

Nonstop Flights Drive Real Estate Investment While Keeping Family and Friends Connected

Sponsored Content provided by Julie Wilsey - Director, Wilmington International Airport

This Insights article was co-written with Erin McNally, Marketing Specialist for ILM

It’s no secret that Wilmington and the Cape Fear Region are a great place to live.  

More and more, individuals and families are deciding to relocate, retire or buy a second home in the Cape Fear area. The reason to move to a particular community is a personal one. For some, they are drawn to the pristine island beaches, historic Riverwalk and southern charm.  For others, they love the burgeoning craft breweries, local restaurants and vibrant arts and culture scene.  For some, they are simply looking for a location along the coast that is affordable, with close proximity to a reputable health care network and convenient airport. 

According to Cape Fear Realtors, closed sales in the three-county area of New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender were 11,505 in the 12-month period between April 2017 to April 2018. This figure increased 9.2 percent over the prior year. Neighboring Columbus and Bladen counties also experienced positive growth during this same time, with Columbus County experiencing a 14.4-percent increase in closed sales and Bladen County, 6.5 percent. 

With this increased interest in the Cape Fear area, local realtors and housing communities are speaking with prospects from near and far. The sales team at Compass Pointe travels to the Chicago area, particularly Schaumburg, in order to meet face-to-face with new prospects. 

When connecting recently with Amanda Marks, Director of Sales and Marketing with Compass Pointe, she shared that nonstop flights are seen as a significant benefit to prospective homeowners. The new nonstop flights from/to Chicago O’Hare (ORD), such as those offered on United, make it much easier for perspective homeowners to consider relocating to our area. 

They can easily fly nonstop to visit, see the area firsthand and explore the community.  For many, convenient nonstop flights “back home” factors into the decision making; knowing travel back to family and friends will be quicker and without a connecting flight. Compass Pointe itself currently has approximately 4,000 families that have expressed interest in Compass Pointe from the Chicago area. Of that, nearly 10 families have already purchased property to make Compass Pointe their retirement destination. Most of the buyers are purchasing land or a home to use as a permanent retirement home.

Sentiment is similar when speaking with others in the industry, such as Alison Bernhart, Broker in Charge with Landfall Realty. She shared that Landfall Realty has just begun new marketing efforts in the Chicago suburbs by attending the area’s recent real estate trade show. The nonstop flights between ILM and ORD are attractive, since folks can now come to Wilmington without a layover or a two-hour drive coupled with the hassle of a car rental. 

For all, they express having the nonstop flight is a desirable marketing aspect that attracts new prospects and new residents that long to call the Cape Fear Region their home. As our community continues to grow, here at ILM, we are always proud to welcome travelers to our community for the first time… or, for those that have made the decision to stay, we say welcome home.

Julie Wilsey has been the Airport Director of Wilmington International Airport (ILM) since December 2013. After six years as an Army Engineer officer, Julie joined the ILM team as the Director of Facilities.Since 1999, she has helped ILM grow with airfield and facility improvements, completing over $100 million worth of capital projects. A career milestone includes earning her accreditation as an airport executive with the American Association of Airport Executives in 2008. Julie holds an MBA from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University and a Bachelor’s Degree from the United States Military Academy at West Point. An active member of the community and aviation industry, Julie serves on the North Carolina Environmental Management Commission, the NC Aviation Task Force, Cape Fear Area United Way Board of Directors the Downtown Wilmington Rotary Club, WILMA, the North Carolina Airport Association and the Southeast AAAE. Julie is married to LTC (Ret) Donald Wilsey, USA, has a stepdaughter, Lauren, and two cats.

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