If Wishes Were Sales, Sellers Would Move

Our team at Intracoastal Realty looks at what it takes to make things happen in the real estate market this New Year, because for many, wishing may no longer be enough.

On the first day of January, last year, Ukraine hadn’t been invaded by Russia and we were barely out of Covid restrictions. Nor had US interest rates reached a 16-year high, and the real estate market only showed tentative signs of cooling.

It is difficult to imagine now how the real estate sector could not have been greatly affected by all that has happened at home and abroad during 2022.

Despite all the political and economic turmoil, real estate is still active, and, if anything, the market is reaching, what many imagine, a more normal level of activity. It’s just that most activity is down to the doers and not the wait-and-seers.

There are two ways to sell real estate. The first is to let it happen. That has worked in some capacity over the past few years when all many had to do was to open the door to lots of open-house viewers and then bask in the flood of ever-mounting cash offers that ensued.

The second way to sell real estate is to make it happen. Now that the market has, in some segments and price ranges, turned in favor of buyers, sellers can’t sit back; they have to take the initiative. So, added to “location, location, and location” as three important buying features, we must add price, price, price, and condition, condition, condition.

Just as the recent seasonal festivities wouldn’t happen without people taking control and putting up decorations and cooking special meals, a home won’t sell without some effort from sellers to prepare it for the market. If that means setting a competitive asking price and keeping a welcoming exterior and neat and spotless interior, then so be it.

Good real estate brokers and agents are doers by nature, training, and experience. But they can’t do it alone; they need their seller’s support and agreement. This teamwork is essential to get things done. So, to make things happen for the best in the 2023 real estate market, don’t be a wisher; be a doer.

We wish all our clients and friends a positive, healthy, and happy New Year.

Q3 2022 Market Update: Absorption Reports

Absorption rate, also referred to as “inventory levels” or “months of supply”, gives you an idea of the number of months it will take for the current inventory of homes to be sold out based on the last 12 months of sales.

Housing prices stabilize when supply and demand come closer together. Generally speaking, 5-6 months of supply is “normal”. Less than 5 months of supply will result in appreciating home prices (Seller’s Market), while 7 months or more of supply will result in depreciating home prices (Buyer’s Market).

Following the 3rd Quarter of 2022, we are seeing a low but increasing amount of inventory.  New Hanover County is showing a total of 1.7 months of inventory for home sales (up from 0.6 months in Q1 2022); Brunswick County is at 2.1 months (up from 0.8 months in Q1 2022); and Pender County is at 1.1 months (up from 0.6 months in Q1 2022).

As you can see from the three county charts below, inventory levels vary by price segment.  Take a look at the absorption reports for a better idea of where your house stands in the market, and contact an Intracoastal Realty agent to learn about the supply and demand for your specific neighborhood and/or price point.

Bottom Line: There are opportunities right now for both buyers and sellers. Generally speaking, buyers have a bit more room to negotiate on price and repairs and less pressure to make lightning-fast offers.  Sellers can take advantage of the tremendous equity they have built up over the past few years, and the fact that there is still a limited inventory of homes for sale in the marketplace. 

New Hanover

Brunswick County

Pender County

One for the Road

Nick Churton of Mayfair International Realty – a valued affiliate of Intracoastal Realty – looks at a transitioning property market in the wake of the incomparable past two years.

The thing with changing real estate markets is that we eventually adapt to each manifestation. Evolving markets are a bit like a pandemic. First, they are a surprise, next, sadly, some people are harmed by the new normal, and then we learn how to handle the threat.

Frustratingly, just when we begin to get comfortable, something new happens in the world and we have to adapt to a new market all over again. This is where we are now.

Property market watchers have been on high alert for some time, looking for signs that the post-pandemic real estate party is over. But they don’t have to watch too closely as all the signs are there for anyone to see. In many countries, the days of putting a property on the market at almost any price, and then exceeding that figure in a market awash with cash buyers desperate to move, are over. We may never see their like again – or, at least, not for decades. Today’s buyers are a new breed – they have to be. Steep cost of living rises, changes in working practices, difficult travel conditions, and an uncertain and often unstable world have led to understandable caution.

So, with what sort of new market must we become familiar? There are some interesting patterns emerging. It is becoming more of a buyers’ market. There will be a wider choice for buyers, who will feel less pressured to make their final choices. Sellers will have to become used to delay and uncertainty.

How often have we heard that a property’s three most essential things are location, location, location? Well in this new market those things will become price, price, price. In a market with greater choice attracting a buyer becomes more challenging. There are two ways to overcome this: correct pricing and making your home as buyer-friendly as possible – thermally efficient, clean, tidy, decluttered, sweet-smelling, and great-looking from the curb.

Oh, and there is another way to succeed in selling: make sure an experienced estate agent who understands how to adapt to changing times and markets is handling the sale – and then listen to that agent.

Finally, sellers shouldn’t despair. The post-pandemic party may be essentially over, but for sellers with a great real estate agent, good housekeeping, and accurate pricing there is still time for one for the road.

Predicting the Present

Nick Churton, from Mayfair International Realty and Intracoastal Realty’s London office, ignores the New Year crystal ball and looks instead at what is currently happening to the property market.

A recent survey by a national estate agency group in the UK revealed that over fifty per cent of home buyers make a buying decision during their first viewing. Any experienced agent would say that they don’t need a survey to tell them that.

Why are such important decisions made in moments? It’s because for most buyers a home is about the heart: it must feel right for them. A property can have the correct number of rooms, the right amount of space, face the right direction and have dozens of other desirable features, including being priced correctly. Still, if something doesn’t feel right it’s not right, and a buyer can detect that in seconds.

As we stride into 2022, the media is awash with industry experts’ property market predictions. But experienced real estate agents know that it is the present they have to address. The vast majority of home buyers and sellers are dealing with the now. Real estate isn’t the stock market. You can’t live in a share certificate.

Happily, the present is easier to comment on accurately. Early indications this year are that there is no let-up in demand. But stocks remain low, keeping pressure on prices and pushing up prices in many areas, making this a particularly good time in the property cycle to sell.

Yes, property buyers must keep their eye on cost-of-living rises, as increases will be of concern in the weeks and months ahead. Indeed, lenders might toughen up their lending criteria, especially if we see more small, incremental interest rate rises.

Buyers need to make wise decisions when choosing a home, as they should always buy within their means. But, within the bounds of fiscal responsibility, people still choose a home instinctively. For some, real estate may have become a commodity, but a home is more than that. It is shelter, security and a comfort blanket, and no one needs a survey to point that out.

What Goes Up – Goes Up Further

Nick Churton of Intracoastal Realty’s London office – via Mayfair International Realty – looks to a genius to make some sense of the current international real estate market and offer some pointers for the future.

What Isaac Newton, who formulated the laws of gravity in the middle of the 17th century, would have made of the current gravity-defying real estate market is anyone’s guess. But, no doubt, like most people he would have been flummoxed.

Even a genius like Newton, who worked from home during the plague of 1665/66, would have had difficulty making any sense of this market. Despite a global killer pandemic, tens of millions of people out of work, nations in lockdown, travel halted and national treasuries handing out trillions in support of businesses, jobs and mortgages, the real estate market booms. It should, by any calculation, have plummeted like an apple from a tree. Instead, the market didn’t fall; it held itself in suspended animation for a while before surging upwards.

By any estimation the market should at least have mirrored the slowdown experienced after the great recession of 2008. But from the Antipodes to the Americas, and from Europe to the Far East, residential property prices in many countries are soaring. According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), it’s the fastest year-over-year growth in the past two decades.

But perhaps we can learn something from Newton, whose third law stated that to every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Covid made homeowners and homebuyers react by moving from cities and buying larger homes in less crowded areas where they could work from home. At the same time interest rate cuts kept mortgage repayments manageable and vaccines have generated confidence.

It wasn’t long ago that real estate professionals were preparing for the worst. Now the market, which is experiencing low inventory levels, is seeing increasing values with selling prices often well exceeding their asking prices.

Whilst most pandemic market activity has been in domestic markets, the international market has also been defying gravity. Despite travel restrictions, international buyers have been buying property sight unseen. Many homebuyers have been re-evaluating their lives or bringing forward plans to buy an overseas bolthole or permanent home. But this is just the tip of the iceberg; once travel opens up the signs are that there will be a super-surge of demand and activity from international buyers.

Growing numbers of sight-unseen global sales, ultra-competitive bidding on most listings and incidence of gazumping are all sure signs of a property market in boom mode. But let’s give Newton the last word in trying to make sense of what is going on. He said, “I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people”.

Nick Churton and Annette Reeve, Mayfair International Realty representatives, run Intracoastal Realty’s London Office and are frequent visitors to the Greater Wilmington area.

Absorption Reports – Q1 2021

Absorption rate, also referred to as “inventory levels” or “months of supply”, gives you an idea of the number of months it will take for the current inventory to be sold out based on the last 12 months of sales.

Housing prices stabilize when supply and demand come closer together. Generally speaking, 5-6 months of supply is “normal”. Less than 5 months of supply will result in appreciating home prices (Seller’s Market), while 7 months or more of supply will result in depreciating home prices (Buyer’s Market).

Following the 1st Quarter of 2021, we are seeing an unprecedent low amount of inventory and double-digit appreciation.  New Hanover County is showing a total of 0.7 months of inventory for existing home sales (for comparative purposes, it peaked at 22.6 months in 2009); Brunswick County is at 1.2 months (peaked at 20.0 months in 2009); and Pender County is at 0.8 months (peaked at 22.1 months in 2009).

As you can see from the three county charts below, inventory levels vary by price segment.  Take a look at the absorption reports for a better idea of where your house stands in the market, and contact an Intracoastal Realty agent to learn about the supply and demand for your specific neighborhood. It is a sellers market with an incredible amount of demand from buyers.

Bottom Line: It is a great time to sell!

New Hanover County

Brunswick County

Pender County

Intracoastal Realty Website Recognized for Excellence

Intracoastal Realty has been awarded the Website Quality Certification (WQC) from Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, a global community of 550 high quality independent real estate firms in 70 countries. The certification was presented in recognition of excellence in website design, content and functionality.

Intracoastal Realty’s website, IntracoastalRealty.com, received high marks in a variety of critical areas relating to website performance, including usability, design, content, interactivity, customer service and mobile responsiveness. The evaluation was conducted by Virtual Results, LLC, a real estate internet and social marketing firm selected by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® to review the websites of participating members.

The specific measurements for the WQC are updated each year to reflect the most current online marketing strategies, as well as evolving consumer preferences. Companies must be re-certified every two years to maintain the certification.

“We are pleased to recognize the companies that earned the WQC this year. The restrictions of this past year have heightened the importance of having a strong web presence and giving home buyers and sellers easy ways to explore homes and communities online. Our WQC companies provide consumers with valuable resources through well-designed websites that offer relevant local content and up-to-the-minute housing information,” said Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® President/CEO Paul Boomsma.

Intracoastal Realty is the Southeastern North Carolina representative of LeadingRE (www.LeadingRE.com). With a global membership that spans six continents, LeadingRE connects more than 550 firms and 135,000 sales associates who produce over 1.1 million real estate transactions each year. As a member of LeadingRE, Intracoastal Realty provides a quality real estate experience, global marketing reach and access to top real estate professionals in virtually any market worldwide.

#ShineOnLocal | The Donut Inn

We love our local community and are proud to serve Southeastern NC. Intracoastal Realty is excited to announce our new initiative called #ShineOnLocal. Every month we’ll highlight a local business in the area followed by a special event at the location.

Step into The Donut Inn and you’re welcomed with the sweet smell of freshly baked hand cut donuts, scratch made bagels, and locally roasted coffees and espressos. That’s not the only thing they’re serving up, don’t miss out on their made-to-order breakfast and lunch sandwiches too. Sounds amazing right? Stop by on Friday, March 19 from 10 am – 12 pm at the Military Cutoff location and you’ll receive one free donut compliments of Intracoastal Realty.  

Owners Allen Renquist (left) and Matt Anlyan (right) – photo courtesy of The Donut Inn

Owner’s Allen Renquist and Matt Anlyan have an incredible background prior to owning The Donut Inn. Combined they spent 18 years working in international hunger relief for an organization called Stop Hunger Now (now called Rise Against Hunger) that is headquartered in Raleigh, NC. Their mission was to deliver fully nutritious, dehydrated meals primarily to education and development programs all over the world.

Continuing their humanitarian efforts with their business, The Donut Inn donates their end of day baked goods to local non-profits.

The Donut Inn Military Cutoff location – photo courtesy of The Donut Inn

What inspired you and Allen to open Donut Inn?

Matt Anlyan: We were both interested in becoming entrepreneurs. We used to have lunch once a week where we would work on business ideas. Most of our ideas were pretty grandiose, so we ultimately decided that the best way to get our foot in the entrepreneurial door was to buy an existing business. One day at lunch, while searching for businesses for sale, we came across The Donut Inn. We knew it was a special place and we knew that we could continue to grow it.

Fresh handmade donuts – photo courtesy of The Donut Inn

What’s your favorite item on the menu?

Matt Anlyan: I’ll give you my top three in no particular order.

  • Baja beach burrito (for when I’m really hungry)
  • Asiago bagel with vegetable cream cheese and bacon
  • Glazed croissant or two when my sweet tooth kicks in

Which donut do you recommend for first timers?

Matt Anlyan: I try to tailor it to different new customers. Some folks prefer cake donuts to yeast raised and for others it’s the opposite. Two of our most popular are our glazed sour cream cake and maple frosted yeast raised with bacon.

Photo courtesy of The Donut Inn

What’s your favorite part about living in the Wilmington area?

Matt Anylan: Other than being close to family, I would have to say being close to the beach and having great outdoor recreation options.

Those new to the Wilmington area, what tips would you give them or an activity they must try?

  • Explore all of the amazing locally owned restaurants and shops
  • Take in a concert at Greenfield Lake
  • Camp at Carolina Beach State Park

Shine on Local Event Details:

Pop into The Donut Inn located on 1427 Military Cutoff Road, Wilmington, NC 28403 from 10 am – 12 pm on Friday, March 19 for a free donut courtesy of Intracoastal Realty. Make sure to follow @intracoastalrealty and @thedonutinn on Instagram and use the hashtag #ShineOnLocal when you drop by. We’ll see you there!

*Limited to one donut per person.

2021 Outlook: A Perspective from our London Office

Nick Churton of Intracoastal Realty’s London office reviews a topsy turvy year in UK real estate and looks forward with confidence to the demand for international property returning with renewed strength.

In the UK, 2020 started with a bang. Brexit had passed an enormous hurdle and the property market responded quickly – but by the end of March, nothing. We were shielding, or in lockdown as we call it. The market ground to a socially distanced trickle. But by July we had no time to worry about all that because we had the surprise of our working lives. Just as they did in many other countries, thousands upon thousands of people were fleeing the major metropolitan areas. They sought a quieter, healthier life in peaceful places with room to breathe, where the countryside or coast was beautiful and smaller towns and cities were welcoming.

Suddenly real estate agents had never been busier, and there didn’t seem to be enough hours in the day. It has been an astonishing summer and autumn market.

Despite the ongoing challenges, our outstanding medical scientists and British National Health Service personnel have put us well on the road to Covid recovery, and we can look forward to a bright and optimistic New Year. Even the Brexit trade talks should have come to one resolution or another. We believe that the UK real estate market, and especially the Central London luxury market will remain active through next year with values continuing to rise.

But what does this mean for the international buyer itching to spread their wings but left only eyeing up properties on the internet? As in our experience with the domestic market, I believe that a huge pent-up demand has been growing. When the Covid thunderclouds have passed and buyers are able to travel again with impunity, then international buyers will once again be shopping for overseas homes.

We are looking ahead to an exciting and very active 2021 in real estate.

Nick Churton and Annette Reeve, Mayfair International Realty representatives, run Intracoastal Realty’s London Office and are frequent visitors to the Greater Wilmington area.

Fall and Holiday Events

Due to COVID-19 the social calendar is lacking; however, there are some socially-distanced events to consider. It’s advisable to check the website and/or call ahead to confirm details. These events are fluid and subject to change.

Airlie Gardens 8th Annual Art Exhibit: Squirrels

Pleasure Island Fall Surf Fishing Challenge

Drive-Thru Greek Festival

Carolina Am SUP Surf Competition

Art in the Arboretum

Topsail Fall Surf and Pier Fishing Challenge

Cucalorus Film Festival

Wrightsville Beach Turkey Trot

Enchanted Airlie | On-sale Oct 29, 2020

Christmas by the Sea Parade, Oak Island