January 2022 Real Estate Market on the Outer Banks, NC

January 2022 Real Estate Market on the Outer Banks, NC

Inventory Declines Continue to Stress OBX Marketplace

The months on the calendar may change, but the story remains the same. Inventory continues to decline in the Outer Banks real estate marketplace, making things tough for prospective buyers and profitable for sellers.

According to the January 2022 MLS Statistical Report from the Outer Banks Association of Realtors (OBAR), inventory decreased an average of 29 percent across the board. A breakdown by inventory category revealed a 36 percent decrease for residential properties, a 25 percent decrease for land and lots, and a 7 percent decrease for commercial spaces.

January 2022 Real Estate Market on the Outer Banks, NC

Breaking the OBX “Bubble”

Recent theories predict the Outer Banks heading for a bubble burst that will cause prices to crash. Buyers and sellers need not fear. The OBX real estate marketplace is not experiencing a bubble. Low inventory, coupled with high demand, continues to be the driving force behind the higher pricing and reduced time between market debut and closing.

However, property owners still debating whether to sell may want to think fast. While reduced inventory is expected to continue for the next several months, that trend likely will break later this year. Likewise, buyers desperately searching for the best deals are looking in the wrong real estate market. With about 281 active listings currently available compared with more than 1,300 last year, sellers hold all the power and are unlikely to negotiate.

OBX by the Numbers

Low inventory was joined in January 2022 by a 17 percent drop in overall sales. Residential transactions decreased 16 percent, lots and land were down 22 percent, and commercial sales remained unchanged. Under contract listings also declined 13 percent for January compared with data from a year ago.

Other year-to-date MLS statistics of note:

The average median sales price increased 38 percent across the board to $591,932.
The average number of days on the market was 41 compared with 92 last January.
Distressed sales were down by half over last year’s figures, with distressed inventory remaining flat.
Ocracoke Island had a 50 percent increase in sales over January 2021, with a 53 percent increase in the median sales price of $662,000.
Duck experiences the second-highest number of sales, posting a 42 percent increase over the previous year. The median sales price also grew by 21 percent to $786,000.
Colington saw the least amount of growth among its year-to-date sales, posting a 37 percent decrease over the previous year. Median sales price enjoyed a 39 percent boost to $499,450.

Looking Ahead

For the last two years, the OBX real estate marketplace has enjoyed double-digit increases. Home price appreciation was expected to decelerate during the last quarter of 2021. That simply has not happened. Prices have plateaued, but appreciation has not slowed. Appreciation has remained steady at around 18 percent for the last five months both in the Outer Banks and across the nation. Price growth is expected to hold steady, with nationwide double-digit appreciation, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller Index Report. A similar outcome is expected for the OBX market according to OBAR MLS data.