Why I Love Wilmington

In my past career I was able to travel to see much of the globe and appreciate the differences in culture and architecture. Business travel was often abbreviated by embracing the culture which is foundational for international business success. One of the key elements was enjoying the architecture. Visiting London, Paris, Milan, and Hong Kong all have unique character and elegance. Even though I enjoyed foreign travel, the US still has so much diversity in climate, topography with oceans, lakes, mountains that I’m not radically drawn to further international travel in contrast to domestic travel when I’ve not seen all of the US.

However, when it comes to vacations our family are strictly “beach people” with beach time contributing to 90% of vacations (Ft Lauderdale, San Diego, Miami, San Francisco, Venice and Wilmington area beaches). The remaining 10% has been snow skiing vacations and coerced family visits. So if I am representative of most baby boomers along with many like-minded GEN-Xs, Gen-Ys and Millennials; our area has great appeal to much of the US population. Wilmington has moderate climate with warm summers and mild winters (most of the time). Regional Employers capitalize on the beach element and have no difficulty attracting talent from all over the US.

Wrightsville Beach is the “South Beach” of the Wilmington area with gorgeous wide white sand and a great population of people trending healthy. This is quite evident almost any time of day with yoga classes, beach fitness classes, cycling, cross-fit training and active water sports like surfing, paddle boarding and sail boarding. Wrightsville also has a great backdrop of upscale and intermediate grade restaurants that make it a pleasant location to visit and dine.

As you travel further south to Pleasure Island we stop at Carolina Beach. The community has undergone a renaissance/evolution over the past 15 years. The new ocean front boardwalk is characteristic of this transition. It has a fantastic design/views with many eclectic retail establishments and open-air restaurants providing pleasant casual dining. The entertainment is very much reminiscent of the Jersey Shore in the vintage times with a summer long Carnival, fireworks weekly, music several nights a week and boat fishing tours. It also has an element of untamed wildness in beach areas you can 4 wheel, camp and explore. This latitude in activity makes me feel at times like I am in Venice, CA with a lot of interesting people. So far I have not seen “Chain Saw Juggling” but would not be surprised with the next wave of activity.

Traveling a little further south is Kure Beach, one of the historic vacation villages of the area with Ft. Fisher (the last hold-out during the Civil War). However, the image of Kure Beach has also changed significantly as well. When I bought my first home in KB in 2003, there were 8 mobile trailers on the beach front row. As the area began to emerge, these smart trailer owners sold their property for approximately $1M each (not bad appreciation given what they paid for them originally). The catalyst for change was the developers of Seawatch who brought in colorful architecturally interesting homes. The bright colorful homes are abbreviated by multiple decks and elegantly landscaped yards making an interesting seaside community. This has been followed up by Seagrove in Carolina Beach with a similar Charleston- feel and the surrounding area shifting from seaside cottages to more interesting multiple story homes with DECKS……..great space for view and outdoor living. San Francisco may have the “Pink Ladies” in stunning Victorian style, but Kure Beach’s front row “Pastel Belles” stands just as stunning example of seaside community. Kure Beach has evolved into a great residential community with family entertainment with a great ocean front park setting. No wonder why I see so many mid-continent license plates like Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, and Oklahoma. The most common out of state visitors are from VA, PA, NY, OH and KY. So anyone can feel at home.

In any event, if you fit the demographics above and want a great location, I’m sure we can assist. The real estate prices are still well below historic highs of the RE bubble in 2006-2007 making our area affordable for many people to live here full time or have a secondary home. Call me at 910-458-2075.

Take a peek at why we think you’re going to want visit and then stay as long as you want! Click on any of the images below to get a chance to see each area.

Wilmington NC Carolina Beach NC Kure Beach NC Wrighstville Beach NC

Acquiring a Permanent Vacation Destination

Transitioning Snowbirds

Growing up in Northeast Pennsylvania, the summer provided the opportunity to make our family’s annual pilgrimage to the shore. We enjoyed all the great things about the Jersey shore (Atlantic City, Wildwood, Ocean City, and Cape May) that make it a wonderful vacation spot. After a brief vacation, we returned home to once again wait for next summer’s event.

Realizing the unique culture a beach community affords, my wife and I plotted our strategy to live in a pleasant beach community with cultural activities. So we waited until our kids were finished with college and embarked on acquiring a secondary home in a beach community. Since the Jersey Shore real estate was/is generally expensive with limited year-round weather, we looked at emerging areas with improved weather year-round. During vacations we periodically visited North Carolina (Wilmington) where we had family. This led to our first property acquisition in 2003, followed by our second acquisition in 2005.

The property values were and are still quite reasonable in contrast to popular shore points in Jersey. Couple that with mild winters and you get the best location between Jersey and Florida. One of the key elements of affordability was renting our beach property as a weekly/monthly rental. Rentals covered a significant portion of the mortgage and additionally allowed vacation travel expenses along with standard deductions for interest/depreciation and taxes. Presently, the top 100 market analysts are projecting real estate will appreciate by about 4 percent every year for the next 5 years. This will sweeten your investment as you build equity while simultaneously enjoying the property.

Oh, by the way, the second vacation home we flipped and paid off our kid’s college educational expenses. Then in 2011, we finally made the transition to Kure Beach, North Carolina as a permanent residence.

As snowbirds familiar with the Wilmington area since 1987, we have seen the area grow and develop into a great residential setting with wonderful beach activities. If you ever wanted to pick a great location to find a secondary home or retirement beach home, Intracoastal Realty has the resources to make a smooth the transition to a vacation destination or equivalently full-time residence. This is a place where you can be sure your grandkids will visit. Sun, sand, and surf bring out the surfers, boaters, swimmers, kayakers, sun bathers and cyclists.

Article By:

Ed Thear (see profile)
Broker/REALTOR with Intracoastal Realty