December 2021 Real Estate Market on the Outer Banks, NC

December 2021 Real Estate Market on the Outer Banks, NC

OBX Finishes Out 2021 on High Note

December 2021 was another record month for the Outer Banks in real estate, capping off what can only be described as a blockbuster year. Inventory remained low and sellers continued to control the OBX real estate market throughout the month.

December was not the only month to include chart-busting statistics in 2021. The entire year can be defined by its record-breaking moments. According to the OBX Real Estate Market wrap-up report from the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, 2021 broke MLS history with the highest number of sales in a calendar year. Residential sales volume increased 49 percent over 2020 to nearly $2 billion.

Another factor that remained consistent throughout 2021 was the favor it showed to sellers. Low inventory coupled with high demand produced the perfect market conditions for those with property to sell, placing them firmly in the driver’s seat. Bidding wars among prospective buyers netted most sellers well above their listing prices.

Residential unit sales were up 13 percent over 2020 at 3,139, and 60 percent higher compared with 2019 transactions. Residential properties were not the only hot-ticket items on the OBX real estate marketplace in 2021. Both land sales volume and commercial properties also experienced a 125 percent increase in demand.

2021: A Tale of Diminishing Availability

Much to the dismay of prospective buyers, inventory is not expected to rebound much in 2022. According to the National Association of Realtors, a 0.3 percent average expansion in nationwide inventory is all the more movement predicted.

While certain factors — including the covid pandemic — accelerated the issue of low inventory, the decline in available properties has been a work in progress since 2010. A review of statistical data from the Outer Banks Association of Realtors from 2008 until the present reveals a trend that leads to the current 85 percent decline in inventory.

The first notable drop in inventory happened in 2010 when it dropped below the previous 2,000 average monthly rate to 1,984. While not much of a drop, it signaled the start of something big. For two consecutive years after that initial dip, available properties continued to decline to 1,867 (2011) and 1,791 (2012).

A brief uptick hit the marketplace in 2014, with a monthly average of 2006 units available, with a high point in August 2014 with 2,119 units. However, November 2014 was the last time available inventory in the Outer Banks would top 2,000 units.

OBX realty 2021 by the numbers

The 2021 year-end report revealed more than a continued decline in available inventory. Other highlights include:

  • An average median sales price increased 17 percent to $479,000.
  • Kill Devil Hills and Kitty Hawk beat the residential average days on the market of 52 for 2021 for all areas of OBX, with 26 and 29 respectively.
  • Distressed inventory remained flat for December, with distressed sales posting a 67 percent decrease from 2020.
  • Under contract listings for December 2021 were down 13 percent compared with December 2020 but are the second-highest numbers for any December on record since 2005.