Real Estate Market on the OBX
Outer Banks Real Estate Market Thrives Amid Global Pandemic
When news of the COVID-19 pandemic first hit the States, the real estate market responded with uncertainty. REALTORS were concerned that the mitigation efforts to fight the spread of the virus would hamper sales.
Those concerns, coupled with some restrictions on normal business operations during the spring, did not seem to impede the homeowner seller’s market in the Outer Banks. REALTORS reported brisk sales continued for the most part during the height of the pandemic, with monthly sales increasing by 7 percent for March. Those figures reflect a 14 percent increase for the same period in 2019. According to the March 2020 MLS Statistical Report, lots and land for sale also experienced a 23 percent increase over the same period in 2019.
Sales took a bit of a plunge in April but that was to be expected with transactions in a holding pattern. Due to the lockdown, Outer Banks REALTORS were unable to complete the final stages of the home buying process with clients. The work performed by home inspectors, appraisers, and attorneys was slowed down, making it difficult to complete transactions.
The downward trend was short-lived, as the Outer Banks Real Estate Market soared back to life. Data from the Outer Banks Association of Realtors MLS Statistical Monthly Reports for the last couple of months show a wild wide in the real estate market. The report covers Currituck and Dare Counties and Ocracoke. A record-breaking 549 Outer Banks homes were under contract, according to the MLS report for May. The July report brought with it another new record, with the closing on 441 properties.
Outer Banks Homes for Sale by the Numbers
Outer Banks REALTORS have not seen this kind of boom in the market for about 15 years. The number of homes available for sale may be tight, but that certainly is not keeping interested buyers from immediately snapping up anything that hits the market.
- The trend for breaking sales records in July carried over, with residential sales up 23 percent and lot/land sales up 9 percent over the same period in 2019.
- The number of properties under contract increased by 127 percent over the previous year.
- Total active inventory (residential and lots/land) showed a 41 percent decrease from August 2019, leading to a seller’s market.
- There were only 5 total distressed sales for the month, which was on par with figures from 2019 for the same period.
- Distressed inventory available dropped by 50 percent from 2019.
- The top three towns for completed transactions were Corolla and Duck, both at a 69 percent increase over 2019, with Roanoke Island at a close third at 59 percent.
September sales continued to soar, with inventory remaining tight and buyers willing to spend a little more to secure a property.
- Total sales for residential and land/lots were up 30 percent over September 2019.
- Residential sales experienced a 32 percent increase over last year, with lots and land transactions occurring at a 23 percent higher rate.
- Residential inventory was down by 53 percent, keeping it a seller’s market for the region.
- The number of residential and land/lot properties under contract increased by 127 percent.
Homeowner Seller’s Market
Despite the ongoing pandemic, it is clear the Outer Banks real estate marketplace is favoring sellers. Listings barely make it a few days before they are scooped up by eager buyers looking for a great deal on properties, especially oceanfront and soundfront. On average, homes new to the market last just 52 days before changing hands.
There are several reasons why it is a homeowner seller’s market.
- Inventory is extremely low. According to data in the MLS Statistical Monthly Reports for the months of May through September, inventory is down about 40 percent from 2019. The number of buyers far exceeds the properties available. Inventory is not expected to increase anytime soon. Prospective buyers who are interested in snapping up properties as soon as they become available should work with a REALTOR to increase their chances of success.
- Ridiculously low mortgage rates. Securing a mortgage is an extremely cheap deal these days. Interest rates for borrowers are hovering right around 3 percent. At those prices, it is entirely possible to own an amazing property in the Outer Banks for a $1,400 to $1,900 monthly mortgage payment. Financial forecasters predict interest rates will remain low for the foreseeable future as the economy works hard to recover from the pandemic.
- Rising prices. Another surefire sign of a seller’s market is rising prices over time. The MLS reveals home prices, on average, increased by 20 percent over 2019. Kill Devil Hills was the superstar this summer with the largest jump in median home prices compared with 2019. Homes there were selling for 13 percent more than last year.
The only real advantage to buyers in this current market climate is the lower interest rates for borrowing. The rest of the benefits rest solely with homeowners. Residents who have real estate in the Outer Banks and are thinking of selling their homes should strike now while the iron is still hot.
Future Trends for OBX Real Estate
As we head into the fall months, there is little indication of the surge in interest in Outer Banks Real Estate will falter. With more people interested in moving from the big cities to live and work near the beach, Outer Banks REALTORS expect demand to continue to outpace supply.
Taking Advantage of the Market
The Outer Banks real estate team of Madonna and Michael VanCuren has been helping buyers and sellers find their dream homes in OBX since 1988. Affectionately known as The M&M Team, the VanCurens attribute their long-term success to old-fashioned hard work, a devotion to their profession, and a customer-centric mission.
Now is the best time to buy or sell a property in the Outer Banks. Give the M&M Team a call at 252-202-6702 or contact us online for a no-risk consultation.