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.
Bald Head Island, NC (February 18, 2020) – Bald Head Island
Limited, LLC and Intracoastal Realty Corporation are pleased to announce the
sale of Bald Head Island Limited, LLC’s residential real estate brokerage
sales and vacation rental-property management businesses to Intracoastal Realty
Corporation, and the opening of Intracoastal Realty offices on Bald Head Island.
In addition to Intracoastal Realty’s purchase of Bald Head
Island Limited, LLC’s residential real estate brokerage sales and vacation
rental-property management operations, the transaction will comprise the
purchase or lease of several properties on the island, including the real
estate brokerage sales office at 4 Marina Wynd near the island’s ferry landing;
the vacation rental-property management laundry/housekeeping facility located
on Edward Teach Wynd Extension; and part of the Island Chandler building at 6
Marina Wynd, which currently houses the vacation rental-property management
office. The sale is expected to close on or around February 24, 2020.
Intracoastal Realty’s residential real estate brokerage
sales office on the island will be managed by Ken Mowbray, previously
broker-in-charge for Bald Head Island Limited Real Estate Sales. Rob Wright and
Wendy Irick, broker-in-charge and general manager for Bald Head Island Limited
Property Management, respectively, will work for Intracoastal Realty on the
island in their same roles. Bald Head Island Limited, LLC will continue to own
and conduct developer real estate sales and operations on the island, including
the Southern Living Inspired Community at Cape Fear Station.
“Intracoastal Realty’s expanded presence on Bald Head
Island creates a sustainable third-party residential real estate brokerage
sales and vacation rental-property management platform positioned for growth,”
said Chad Paul, CEO for Bald Head Island Limited, LLC. “The strength of the
Intracoastal Realty brand, their global reach, and the company’s proven success
in the region’s residential real estate brokerage and vacation rental-property
management markets is an unbeatable combination for serving the island’s
current and future needs,” Paul said.
Led by Founder/CEO Jim Wallace and his son Trey Wallace,
president, Intracoastal Realty operates 14 other real estate brokerage offices
in Brunswick, New Hanover and Pender Counties. The company’s real estate sales
volume for 2019 was approximately $1.2 billion.
Trey Wallace stated Intracoastal Realty is poised to come
out of the gate strong, but deliberate. “In the coming months, we’ll be working
with Bald Head Island Limited’s team to seamlessly transition the residential
real estate brokerage and vacation rental-property management businesses onto
our operations and marketing platforms. The process will be gradual as we look
to marry the best aspects of both companies and leverage Bald Head Island
Limited, LLC’s tremendous employee talent pool,” said Wallace.
“This sale furthers Bald Head Island Limited’s goal of
transitioning legacy assets to a diverse and competent group of third-party
owners, operators and stakeholders,” said Paul. “With Bald Head Island in a
mature phase of development, continued diversification of business ownership
supports the island’s long-term health and viability.”
is a relationship business, and it’s not only about relationships with your
clients, but also relationships with your agents, employees and the community
as a whole,” Wallace said. “Our company is
committed to serving the entire Bald Head Island community for the long term.
Ultimately, our objective is to become the market leader in residential real
estate brokerage sales and vacation rental-property management on the island,
one relationship at a time.”
“Bald Head Island property owners couldn’t ask for a better
residential real estate brokerage steward than Intracoastal Realty,” said Paul.
“They have an outstanding reputation for integrity and real estate sales
success and are committed to serving the island’s needs for decades to come.”
About Bald Head
Bald Head Island is a ferry-accessed community located two
miles off the coast of Southport, NC. Transportation on the island is
restricted to golf carts, bicycles and pedestrian traffic. Of the island’s
12,000 acres, 10,000 acres of beaches, salt marsh and maritime forest are
protected and will remain undeveloped. To learn more about the island, visit baldheadisland.com.
Intracoastal Realty is a full-service
real estate brokerage specializing in residential real estate, property
management (long-term and vacation), and project development. Founded in 1976, the company now has more than 400 agents and has grown to become coastal North Carolina’s largest independent real
estate firm. Market-leading technology, strategic marketing, and a teamwork
approach are Intracoastal trademarks. As an independent brokerage, Intracoastal
invests its revenue into technology, marketing, agent training, and community
organizations throughout southeastern North Carolina. Through its affiliation
with Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, Luxury Portfolio
International® and Mayfair International Realty, Intracoastal delivers turn-key
service to clients locally and globally. For more information, visit IntracoastalRealty.com.
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
Following the 3rd Quarter of 2019, New Hanover County is showing a total of 2.1 months of inventory for existing home sales (for comparative purposes, it peaked at 22.6 months in 2009); Brunswick County is at 3.4 months (peaked at 20.0 months in 2009); and Pender County is at 3.1 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.
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). Each of the counties in our area are at their lowest inventory levels since 2005. New Hanover County is showing a total of 1.9 months of inventory for existing home sales (for comparative purposes, it peaked at 22.6 months in 2009); Brunswick County is at 4.3 months (peaked at 20.0 months in 2009); and Pender County is at 2.9 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.
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). Each of the counties in our area are at their lowest inventory levels since 2005. New Hanover County is showing a total of 2.5 months of inventory for existing home sales (for comparative purposes, it peaked at 22.6 months in 2009); Brunswick County is at 3.9 months (peaked at 20.0 months in 2009); and Pender County is at 3.7 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.
The state of the real estate industry, both locally and nationally, over the past decade or more has resulted in a large number of distressed properties hitting the market. A distressed property is one that has fallen into mortgage default, a scenario that may present a prime opportunity for an investor or anyone looking to snag a great house at a below-market price.
There are currently 711,514 properties in U.S. that are in some stage of foreclosure (default, auction, or bank-owned), according to RealtyTrac, a real estate information company and online marketplace for foreclosed and defaulted properties. In April, the number of properties that received a foreclosure filing in U.S. was 7% lower than the previous month and 23% lower than the same time last year, so the opportunities to get a rock-bottom deal, while still plentiful, are decreasing.
Saving money is the primary motivating factor for those looking into buying a distressed property. In March, the median sales price of a foreclosure home was $132,100, or 39% lower than non-distressed home sales, according to RealtyTrac.
There are two main types of distressed property situations, and each has a special process for prospective buyers. In a short sale, the lender and borrower agree to a deal in which the property may be sold for less that what is owed, arranged as a pre-foreclosure measure. A foreclosure happens when the borrower is not able to remedy a default on his or her mortgage and the entity that holds the mortgage, usually a bank, has taken ownership of the property with plans to sell and recoup what remains on the loan.
Either of these deals is possible to find in the Wilmington NC real estate market, but before you dive in such opportunities, it’s best to know a little more about what could be in store for you. In fact, you may want to consider finding an agent who has a Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource certification, or SFR®, from the National Association of REALTORS®. These agents can use their expertise to help you limit your risk and otherwise protect prospective buyers from the potential pitfalls of distressed properties.
Length of time
Are you willing and able to put in time and possible disappointment in exchange for the possibility of getting a great deal? If not, then you may want to steer clear of short sales and opt instead for foreclosures, which will go much quicker due to the motivated and unemotional nature of the selling bank. In a short sale transaction, a buyer may have a long wait, often for many months, while the seller’s lender decides whether or not it will accept a short payoff and the owner deals with possible mixed emotions about leaving the home, with no assurance of results. Also, with a short sale you are dealing with multiple parties – the distressed owner and one or more banks, depending on how many loans there were – so things can get very complex and frustrating. A foreclosure requires that you only deal with one party, the lender selling the home.
Condition of property
The good news about a short sale is that you may have the opportunity to view the property during the process. This isn’t always the case with a foreclosure, when you may not be able to walk through or have it inspected by a professional before buying, especially if the purchase is through an auction. Decide whether you are comfortable spending money on something sight unseen and as is, even if you are getting a steal of a deal. Some foreclosures may be left in poor condition when the previous owners were forced to vacate or from long periods of vacancy and neglect, so that’s another thing to consider when determining if it’s worth the risk. Short sales are still occupied and are likely to be in better shape.
With a foreclosed property, the bank is responsible for providing a free and clear title upon closing, so the buyer doesn’t have to worry about paying off liens or incurring any seller-related expenses. Also, the terms of the offer will stay fixed throughout the closing process. All of these factors could be variable in a short sale, so you may have more headaches as things progress.
Technology has been a game changer in basically every industry you can imagine, and real estate is certainly no exception. Buyers and sellers have more data at their fingertips than ever, thanks to those ubiquitous smart phones that we all rely upon on a daily basis. Many people look to apps for the information they need in the process of buying and seling a home. This helps educate real estate clients but does not replace the personal service that goes along with having an agent to help navigate the waters.
“While adapting to consumers’ technological needs is a primary goal of Intracoastal Realty, there will always be a need for a market-savvy real estate expert to guide you through the legal aspects of the transaction process,” said Lake Slacum, vice president of marketing for Intracoastal Realty.
Intracoastal Realty has been working to deliver digital solutions to its customers for many years. In the Wilmington NC real estate market, many look to the Intracoastal HomeSpotter App, the area’s most accurate and complete home search app, to help them stay informed about what’s happening locally in the industry. The app, which was launched in November 2014, was the result of careful planning.
“We had been looking at real estate app technology for years,” Slacum said. “We waited for the right solution to come along before investing in the technology. The solutions available years ago were not quite up to par with what we wanted to offer our clients and the home-buying consumer.
“Research led me to a company out of Minnesota that was producing a top-notch real estate app solution that was bug-free, effective, and fast,” he added. “Even though our website has been mobile-responsive, meaning it scales to any device, for years, we still wanted to provide a mobile-specific solution for those who prefer to use apps during their real estate search. With mobile usage increasing significantly year after year, it just made sense.”
The Intracoastal HomeSpotter App’s easy-to-use search functionality displays a map that the user can toggle back and forth between satellite view and map view. There is also a filter to further refine your search by price, number of bedrooms or bathrooms, square footage, and more, plus users can save their favorite properties into a folder for later viewing and reference. The most cutting-edge feature, however, is the HomeSpotter technology. Pressing the HomeSpotter button engages the user’s GPS location and produces nearby properties on the screen in a radar-like fashion.
“This is a great feature that can be used in communities that don’t allow for-sale signs or when cruising in a boat along the Intracoastal Waterway to see which homes are for sale,” Slacum said. “It is state-of-the-art, game-changing technology that no one else in the market currently has. The consumers who download the app are always amazed. It almost always evokes a ‘wow’ or ‘awesome’ when the consumer starts using it.”
Buyers and sellers can both benefit from the Intracoastal HomeSpotter App. Its ease of use and design to work on a mobile device while on the go make it a convenient tool for those searching for a home, it receives a few thousand user sessions each day to increase visibility for those selling, and the information is updated several times daily from the Multiple Listing Service. “This gives us an advantage over some of the national apps, which are notorious for frequently being inaccurate with listings that are not on the market,” Slacum said.
Even those not interested in buying or selling right away will find the Intracoastal HomeSpotter App helpful. It has the ability to display sold properties, so if you want to know what price the homes in your neighborhood are going for, all you have to do it select the “sold” option in the Filter section under Status. “There is no other app like it in the marketplace,” Slacum said. “Not even the big-named national real estate portals have the bells and whistles that the Intracoastal HomeSpotter App has.”
The Intracoastal HomeSpotter App is one component of the technology available to Intracoastal Realty clients. In addition to its websites, there is a paperless transaction program that allows completion and execution of all documents electronically.
“We have the perfect tools to help the consumer find areas and properties of interest and make the process of buying and selling them go more smoothly,” Slacum said. “We are constantly updating these platforms with new features and functionality.”
By Jim Busby, Broker/REALTOR® with Intracoastal Realty
Reflecting on the trend in the market over the past 10 years, I am reminded of our old friend Aesop with his story of the Tortoise and the Hare. To lay the groundwork for this “fable-listic” tale let’s cite a few facts:
10 Years Ago – In July 2006, the value of homes in the US reached an all-time high driven by a combination of factors including irresponsible lending practices, speculative buying and “flipping” of houses for short-term profit, and good old-fashioned greed. This “too good to last” bubble burst shortly thereafter and on a national basis, the collective value of homes dropped by an average 27% over the ensuing 5 years. Along with this drop came a number of defaults and foreclosures, throwing the market into further disarray and severely impacting the net worth and lifestyle of many Americans while shattering the American Dream of home ownership. For my purposes, this time of the market represents the “Hare” portion of the story, with exciting but unsustainable activity.
Today – It was only recently – the first quarter of 2017 – when the value of homes recovered to the peak values of 2006. This recovery involved slow and steady progress driven by fundamentals including higher employment, low mortgage rates, a compelling opportunity to “buy vs. rent”, and an overall improving economic tide that “lifted all boats”. While not as frenetic – or perhaps as exciting — as the mid-2000s period, this most recent upturn in the market was “come by honestly”, and should be more sustainable and longer lasting, as our friend the Tortoise would have it.
Current View of Local Market – Although values are back to their all-time high, do not feel like you have missed out on the market. In fact, because things have settled into a more orderly trend, there is a reasonable expectation that you would be buying into a more rational and predictable market.
Pricing – As noted above, prices have recovered to previous highs, and in the most recent report on the local market from Cape Fear Realtors Association, the median price increased 4.44% over the past 12 months to $201,025. In terms of unit volume – or number of houses sold – the total of 1160 homes was a 10-year high. We are officially in a “seller’s market” which means there are more people on the buyer’s side than on the seller’s side. According to the basic law of supply and demand, this has started forcing prices higher as buyers compete for a limited number of houses. As part of this equation, the supply of homes in New Hanover County has dropped from a 5.1 month supply in February 2016 to 3.69 months in February 2017. We generally look at a 4-5 month supply as providing a balanced market between buyers and sellers. A related statistic is “days on market” or DOM for a listed house before it sells, which decreases as an active market competes for limited inventory. This figure decreased from 109 DOM in February 2016 to 94 DOM in February 2017.
Interest Rates – Despite several up-ticks in the past year, interest rates are still near historical lows making home ownership very affordable. As of this writing on May 3rd, the 30 year conventional rate was 4.17% which should be a strong “call to action” for anyone still sitting on the fencepost on a purchase decision.