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Real Estate - Residential

Top Stories No. 2: Realtors: Housing Market Still Strong

By Cece Nunn, posted Dec 14, 2018
A home is shown under construction at The Creek at Willowick, a Stevens Fine Homes neighborhood off Navaho Trail in Wilmington.
Out of the gate in 2018, home sale statistics in the Wilmington area – including New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender counties – remained on an upward trajectory, in some cases eclipsing last year’s all-time high figures.

But a few factors, not the least of which was Hurricane Florence in September, reined the numbers in a bit, with expectations that the number of home sales by the end of the year will likely be flat.

“We had a very strong first six months of the year with lower inventory, less days on the market and just a high demand,” said Tim Milam, president of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, a Wilmington-based firm and one of the largest residential real estate agencies in the Cape Fear region. “Second half of the year, we saw inventory increasing a small amount and at the same time, interest rates started to rise, so we saw the market ‘slow a little.’”

Hurricane Florence “killed the third quarter stats as we were basically shut down from closings for a few weeks,” Milam said.

But Milam and other Realtors described a healthy market for 2018.

“It definitely slowed down during Hurricane Florence, but still, the average number of units [sold] is down 7 percent on the market, but there’s still 1,300 pending [units under contract] right now, so I don’t think we’ll be too far off from 2017’s numbers, and the average price is up 3 percent from last year,” said Amanda Parmer, broker in charge at Wilmington-based Blue Coast Realty, referring to early December statistics for the year-to-date.

She added, “There is definitely a supply problem. There’s not a lot of sellable listings on the market right now, and there’s definitely buyers in the market, and that’s probably helping increase the price a little bit. Overall, it’s still a fairly healthy market.”

Trey Wallace, president of Wilmington-based Intracoastal Realty, said 2017 was one of the best years the region has had for home sales in the past decade. Even after the storm, in October “the market pretty much rebounded. It was about even with last year. With those gains and also some gains in November, the year ended up basically flat. That’s with the storm. So certainly, 2018 is still a very strong year despite the hurricane,” Wallace said.

He added, “This is still a great place to live. The story nationally with the economy is that it is still very strong. Consumers are confident. The millennials are starting to get into the market.”
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