Real Estate Sales in May on the OBX

Real Estate Sales in May on the OBX

Outer Banks, NC Real Estate Market on Fire Following Reopening
Things were not looking so rosy for the Outer Banks, NC real estate market during the COVID-19 shutdown that lasted for two months. With visitors restricted from the Outer Banks, the market slumped for most of April and May. Since the reopening to guests on May 16, however, the Outer Banks real estate market has been on fire.

The May 2020 MLS Statistical Report indicates a total of 549 properties under contract for the month, a 30-percent increase from the same period last year. It reflects the highest number of homes under contract since MLS began tracking the data.

An early look into June indicates the trend will continue, with a total of 621 properties under contract when the May and June figures are combined. While a record number of properties currently are under contract, getting those listings to closing proved challenging during the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns. A backlog of approximately four weeks is expected as home inspectors, appraisers, and attorneys scramble to meet demand.

Inventory of homes for sale in the Outer Banks is down sharply from May 2019, with 19-percent and 12-percent reductions in residential and land inventories, respectively. Prospective buyers of homes for sale in Kill Devil Hills and other popular Outer Banks, NC, towns are finding the competition fierce for the limited inventory.

Outer Banks Popularity Continues to Rise
It is no surprise the market is rebounding quickly in the Outer Banks, thanks to its popularity among tourists. Recently, Forbes revealed the Outer Banks as the number one destination in its Top 20 Most Resilient U.S. Destinations During Lockdown survey done by queried 15,000 visitors to its site about their post-COVID-19 lockdown plans and which destinations were still topping their lists. Their findings were based on data relating to search results for popular destinations during the lock down. Searches for the Outer Banks only experienced a 25-percent decrease in search engine queries compared with results for the same period in 2019. Other normally popular destinations like Brooklyn, NY, experienced a 78-percent decrease in comparison.

The existing reputation of the Outer Banks as a welcoming and charming vacation destination was further solidified by the growing popularity of the new Netflix series of the same name. Netflix reports “Outer Banks” as one of the most popular shows on its platform since its debut on April 15. The teen drama focuses on the search for hidden treasure at a popular beach. While the show itself is not filmed in North Carolina, it has generated additional interest in the Outer Banks among tourists.

A Great Time to Buy
The May data suggests the real estate market will not suffer long-term from the earlier COVID-19 restrictions. Other great news for the May real estate market include:

• Median sale price increased for lots and land over the same period in 2019.

• Roanoke Island experienced a 25-percent increase in residential property sales.

• Kill Devil Hills saw an 11-percent increase in the median sale price for residential units.

• The Hatteras Islands experienced a 15-percent increase in residential properties sold.

• Nags Head property values increased by 4 percent to a median price of $417,500.

• Currituck Mainland sales increased by 13 percent, with a 2-percent increase in the median sale price.

Not all real estate news was good for May. Ocracoke Island’s sales were down 55 percent for the same period in 2019, with a 9-percent reduction in the median sale price.

In all, the average sale price for residential properties is 4.5 percent higher than in 2019. With mortgage rates continuing to hover around 3 percent — the lowest we have seen since 2006 — and lenders loosening requirements for obtaining a mortgage, now is a great time to buy a home in the Outer Banks.