The Outer Banks in the Fall is Awesome

Fall is an awesome time of the year in the Outer Banks for visitors and for real estate.

During September and October, the Outer Banks transforms back to what I consider paradise. The weather is pretty much perfect, as the water is still warm and the air temperatures are too. The humidity drops off for the most part and you begin to get some of those mornings where the air is crisp. The stop and go traffic on 158 is just a thing of the past. Even left turns are possible again onto the big road. You typically don’t have to wait in long lines at the grocery stores, restaurants, or any of the other local establishments. It’s that time again for oysters, the return of tuna season, football, and long sleeves in the evenings. There is plenty to do without feeling crowded. The schools hold their annual pumpkin fairs. There are Halloween parties and the annual seafood festival, and the sound-front site in Nags Head has been recently, gorgeously transformed. Do yourself a favor and come out this October 17 for a great gathering of local restaurant owners who will be showing off their finest vittles. And don’t forget, you can still go anytime and enjoy our greatest asset – the beach!!

The Outer Banks in the fall is also a great time to be in the real estate market, whether you are buying or selling. Historically, between 15 – 20% of the total year sales of single-family homes occur in these two months, before falling into the winter market slumber. The average inventory tends to rise after the summer months and the demand seems to increase fairly proportionately to the rise in the number of homes for sale. Christmas and especially Thanksgiving are extremely popular off-season weeks for out-of-towners to spend here. And what better way to celebrate the season than in a new home?

Speaking of celebrating, I think we can all appreciate some appreciation in real estate prices. The overall Outer Banks single-family home market has continued to improve. Since 2013, the pricing has increased between 2.6 – 4.1%, based on three metrics I use. Those three metrics are: average sale price, average sale price per square foot and average sale price per bedroom. While 2.6 to 4.1% over three years doesn’t equate to a huge annual appreciation rate, it is a confidence booster to have positive price trending for several consecutive years. The average pricing has been actually been trending upward since the 2010/2011 time frame. Annual sales have been on an upward trend just about every year since 2008 and average inventory is down 11% from the year 2010. We would have to expect some upward pressure on pricing with those economics in place. The fact that the gains are modest keeps our market from getting “out of control”. Everyone can come out a winner in today’s market.

outer banks real estate teamFor your free market analysis or if you are interested in buying or selling real estate on the Outer Banks, feel free to contact me directly. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Please feel free to call Adam (252) 256-0086 or Shane (252) 202-1193 with OBX Island Guys of Outer Banks Blue. adam@outerbanksblue.com or shane@outerbanksblue.com.

All references to real estate statistics are sourced from OBAR MLS (01/01/04 – 08/30/15).

Changes To Flood Insurance As Of April 2015

Well ladies and gentlemen, watch your flood renewals, because as of April 1, 2015 FEMA began the implementation of the congressional mandated reforms to the NFIP – National Flood Insurance Program. Based on the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014 (HFIAA) which was enacted to repeal and modify the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2012. These new laws will slow some of the rate increases and offer some policyholders relief that saw gigantic rate increases in 2013 and 2014 based on the prior storms. The flood insurance rates and other charges were revised for new and existing policies on April 1, 2015.

One of the new laws that will affect everyone is an annual “surcharge” on all new and/or renewed policies. This is a flat fee applied to all policies based on occupancy type and is not at all associated with the flood zone you sit in, or the construction date of the dwelling. In regards to home ownership this rate will differ for year round residents vs. second home owners. A year round resident will receive a $25 surcharge while a second homeowner will be receiving $250 surcharges for each and every home you own (other than your primary which will be the standard $25 rate). Any condo or Multi-Family Residence will be set at a $250 surcharge as will any non-residential structure.

This surcharge is being used to compensate for lost revenue based on the slowing of the subsidized rates being eliminated immediately but gradually moving into a full-risk rate for some of the older homes that have been “grandfathered” in for so long. It will be in effect and collected annually until all subsidies are eliminated completely.

Another change that is being implemented is that the maximum deductible for a flood policy will increase to $10,000 for single-family and two-to-four family dwellings. If selected this deductible would apply to both contents and building. Based on the selection of the higher/maximum deductible, the NFIP claims that it could result in up to a 40% discount from the base premium. Please check with your lender if you are interested in increasing your deductible as this level may not meet mandatory purchase requirements.

There are many additional changes being made to the program that I would be glad to share with you if you are interested. Just let me know! As always, you have a trusted resource in the sales department here at Outer Banks Blue. Please feel free to contact us 7 days a week for any question you may have in regards to your home or another home in your neighborhood. We would be honored to assist you or anyone you would like to refer to us for any of your buying and selling needs.

kim endre outer banks real estate hot marketsIf you desire any specifics as to your home or neighborhood please contact Kim Endre. Just call us at (252) 255-0482 x316 or email her at kim@outerbanksblue.com.

Outer Banks Real Estate Hot Markets

According to a recent article in Money Magazine (May 2015) for more than a decade the housing market has been in flux, in between that “just right” rate of growth that offers opportunities for both buyers and sellers, but by certain standards we may be getting closer. According to National Association of REALTORS® home prices nationwide are expected to rise 4.9% on average this year. At the same time inventory is expected to loosen up with 1.9M units on the market this year vs the market saturated 4M we saw in the late 2000’s.

Being in a resort and second home market we do see these trends hit our beaches last, as no one needs a vacation/second/rental home, although the investors still want them, and are always in search of a deal. The following are the details for the First Quarter Sales for the Outer Banks:

Outer Banks Real Estate Hot Markets:
Corolla SOLD 48 units – 38 on the Ocean side and 10 on the west side of Hwy 12. The average list price was $609,304 – the average SOLD price was $569,753 – capturing 93.50% of asking price.

Duck SOLD 21 units – 19 on the ocean side and 2 on the west side of Duck Road. The average list price was $453,537 – the average SOLD price was $418,409 – capturing 92.25% of asking price.

Southern Shores SOLD 18 units – 1 on the ocean side and 17 on the west side of Ocean Trail. The average list price was $383,694 – the average SOLD price was $360,322 – capturing 93.90% of asking price.

Kitty Hawk SOLD 20 units – 1 on the oceanfront, 5 in between the highways and 14 on the west side of the bypass. The average list price was $335,105 – the average SOLD price was $315,450 – capturing 94.13% of asking price.

Kill Devil Hills SOLD 58 units – 4 on the Oceanside, 16 between the highways and 37 on the west side. The average list price was $264,042 – the average SOLD price was $252,311 – capturing 95.55% of asking price.

Colington Island SOLD 15 units – 10 in the Harbor and 5 on the island. The average list price was $269,866 – the average SOLD price was $258,166 – capturing 95.66% of asking price.

Nags Head SOLD 37 units – 30 in Nags Head – 9 Oceanside, 12 Between the highways and 9 on the west side of the bypass and 7 in South Nags Head – 6 on the Oceanside and 1 on the west side of Old Oregon Inlet – the average list price was $505,894 – the average SOLD price of $472,839 – capturing 93.46% of asking price.

So as you can see, the vacation market of Corolla is the hot one in regards to numbers although the year round market and smaller home rentals of Colington and Kill Devil Hills are hot in the percent of list to sell.

Outer Banks Blue Real Estate Sales’ Stats
1872 Active Residential Listings as of 7/1/15
272 Pending Residential Listing as of 7/1/15
167 SOLD between 06/01 – 06/30/15

kim endre outer banks real estate hot marketsIf you desire any specifics as to your home or neighborhood please contact Kim Endre. Just call us at (252) 255-0482 x316 or email her at kim@outerbanksblue.com.

Dowdy Park Update

dowdy's burnedMoving forward on the new Dowdy Park, the Nags Head Fire Department used the old main arcade building of the original park as a practice controlled burn this month.  Smoke could be seen for miles and across the sound.  It was considered too expensive to repair so instead it served as training exercise for the firemen as well as saving demolition costs as the town of Nags Head continues to make this area a real park.

The town of Nags Head has included $600,000 in the budget for next year to begin the first phase of the park.

aerial of dowdy park planIt will include an entryway with a parking area and possibly some sidewalks.  A number of grant requests are in the works to help with the cost of the park.  The final park will include a gazebo and grassy lawn for performances, a multipurpose sports area, restrooms, a children’s play area, shaded structures, a trail system with fitness stations, seating, game tables, and quiet areas with wetland gardens and storm-water retention.

7 Reasons Why This Is The Best Real Estate Market In 5 Years

Let’s take a moment and review why this is the greatest Real Estate market we’ve seen in the last 5 to 7 years. There are 7 very specific reasons why it is, although I’m sure I’m missing a few, which is motivating many, including your friends and family, and maybe even you, to consider buying or selling in 2015.

7 Reasons Why This Is The Best Real Estate Market In 5 Years

  1. Interest rates are extremely low and are projected to rise over the next 12 months.  3.625% now vs. 5.25% according to the Association of Realtors’ projection, which equals a 9% savings!
  2. The banks have money to lend and are lending it. They’ve had a lot of money for a long time and because of the nature of the market they are now starting to lend that money out.
  3. Prices in most areas of the Outer Banks are incredibly low because of the recession we’ve experienced.
  4. The inventory is low, partially because of the shrinkage in the REO side, and because demand is building.
  5. There’s a tremendous number of first time buyers for primary, second, and vacation homes in the marketplace because of points one through four.
  6. The appraisers are finally playing nice for the first time in a long time, which always makes everybody happy.
  7. In the U.S. there is a national election coming up in November 2016 and the market always gets better before a national election.

The Best Real Estate MarketFor more detailed information on the current state of the Outer Banks real estate market, please feel free to call Danny Denyak at (252) 256-1818 or email him at dfenyak@outerbanksblue.com.

Is Building A Home An Option For You?

Building a new homeDetermining whether to build a home or purchase an existing home may seem like a simple decision. Yet, in fact, there are many more factors to consider. Weighing a list of wants with your current budget and knowing all the facts are key in making this personal and very important life decision.

Questions such as these below are items to consider when looking to build or buy an existing home:

  • What is the difference in building or buying an existing home?
  • What are the costs involved?
  • What are the loan products available?
  • How do we pick a home site?
  • Which builder should I choose?
  • Do I have to pull permits?
  • What choices do I have to make?
  • Who covers the insurance while it is being built?
  • How will I know what is going on if I live out of the area?
  • Do I get a warranty?
  • Who provides the home plans?
  • What if I want to make a change while it is under construction?
  • What are the benefits to buying an existing home?
  • How long will it all take?
  • Does the community have an Architectural Review Committee?
  • Can our marriage handle building a new home?
  • Who gets the lot ready to build?
  • Will I sign a contract with a builder?
  • Is Landscaping included?
  • Can I incorporate Green/Energy saving materials into the build?

These are all questions with answers that vary with the builder, area, size of the home, and preferences of the buyer.

Building a home can be a fun process, but it’s not for everyone. Loan products generally call for 20% down (20% total-house and lot). It generally takes 6 months to a year to complete. There are many selections to choose from when picking cabinets, appliances, colors, siding, shingles etc, which takes time, coordination, and can often benefit from expert opinion.

The advantages to buying an existing home include closing, usually, within 35 days, move right in, and loans that require less money down. The advantages to buying a lot and building a home include a warranty, minimal maintenance for the first 5-10 years, designing the home exactly to fit your needs, and generally a higher resale.

The best measure for a builder that I have found is the relationship that a builder has with his clients after the project is finished. If a builder has a positive relationship with a good percentage of his past clients it shows to me that he finishes well and that everyone has a positive experience when dealing with them.

Please feel free to print the above list of questions. As a Realtor, I have had the pleasure to help several clients buy lots, coordinate with a builder, and assist them through the entire project. From 1100 sq ft Beach Box style homes to 9,000 sq ft rental machines, no project is too small or too big. We can assist you in making your dreams into reality.

Remodels can be an option too. There are many construction to permanent type loan products available which allow you to buy a home that needs updating. You and the lender can formulate a plan for the scope of the work, coordinate with a contractor, and the work begins immediately after closing.

We have several builders that we have worked with over the years, don’t hesitate to contact me, let my years of experience go to work for you.

Pete SalitorePete Salitore, Associate Broker
petesalitore@gmail.com
252-202-4868

Dowdy Park, Coming Soon!

Do you remember Dowdy’s Amusement Park? I do, and what a great place it was for all, young and old. Those rides, the arcade games, plus the popcorn and cotton candy. I can still see it now. Ah yes, those were the days when we enjoyed just being out with the family and looking at the roller coaster even if you did not ride. It was a sad day when it closed, back in the early 2000’s, after being a fond part of Nags Head for so many years.

Not long ago it was announced that Dowdy’s Park would be returning to Nags Head, not as the old amusement park we remember, but as a beautiful park to be enjoyed by all ages even without the rides! The Town of Nags Head purchased the land several years ago with the intent of making it a park to be enjoyed by residents of Nags Head and everyone else who passes by the old site on the corner of Bonnett Street and Croatan Highway. To continue to carry the name of the original owner it will be called “Dowdy Park”.

New Dowdy ParkA committee worked long and hard with residents of all ages, including children, to come up with the best design that would give everyone an opportunity to enjoy the new park. At this time the plan includes an informal trail park with play equipment, a multi-use playing field and turf area, restrooms, an event plaza, pavilion, boccie/lawn sports and a multi-use court. Keeping an eye on environmental concerns there will be a wetland garden, small dunes with vegetation plus a separate garden. There are also proposed benches, tables and chairs and fitness stations.

Funding is always the question that comes with financing such an undertaking. Currently the Town is hopeful of receiving a grant from NC Parks and Rec Fund. In addition the Outer Banks Tourism Board has been a tremendous help in the miles of sidewalks built throughout the Town and other amenities. Nags Head will be applying again for their assistance. Let’s hope they are successful!

It’s location alone should draw from the neighborhoods nearby plus those biking the wonderful sidewalks along the area. Our summer visitors will see the activity as they drive by another great addition to all the amenities in Nags Head. Way to go those of you in charge!

Understanding the Outer Banks Real Estate Process: 10 Important Terms You Need To Know

Outer Banks Real Estate termsThe Outer Banks offers one of the most beautiful beach landscapes on the East Coast. Bordered by miles of pristine sandy beaches, the islands that make up the Outer Banks serve as home to many wildlife species, including the famous wild horses of Corolla. Almost 60,000 people also make their home year-round in the Outer Banks counties of Dare and Currituck, giving the islands a touch of small-town charm even in the midst of summer’s tourist season.

If you are ready to purchase your dream home in the Outer Banks, you have undoubtedly considered a beachfront property. Homes on the beach offer beautiful ocean vistas, breathtaking sunrises, and a front-row seat for some of the best scenery nature has to offer.

Important Considerations For Outer Banks Real Estate

As you consider available properties for purchase in the Outer Banks, you should become familiar with some of the common real estate terms you may encounter. Your realtor will help you consider each property based on the unique aspects of island living. Some of the terms you may encounter include:

  • Ocean Front—An ocean front property means that the home is situated on the east side of the island, facing the ocean with no other building or structure obstructing the view. These homes offer the best view of the ocean and many also offer private beach access.
  • Ocean View—An ocean view property means that you can see the ocean from the home, but there are other houses or buildings between the home and the beach.
  • Canal Front—A canal front home is located on one of the canals leading into Pamlico Sound. The canals offer wonderful fishing and watersports while still being near the ocean.
  • Sound Front—Sound front properties are situated along the beaches of Pamlico Sound. Pamlico Sound is the area of water between the Outer Banks islands and the main North Carolina coast. The sound measures about 80 miles long and 15 to 20 miles wide, making it a beautiful view for any homeowner.
  • Erosion—Erosion refers to the loss of beach area due to the continual movement of ocean water over the sand. North Carolina maintains erosion records to indicate how quickly erosion occurs in each area along the coast. Occasionally, a home in the Outer Banks may become available for an extremely low price based on current erosion.
  • Endangered Dwelling—If erosion becomes a danger to the structural integrity of the house, the house will be declared an endangered dwelling. While not a common occurrence, it is still a possibility you should be aware of as you consider various properties.
  • Flood Plain / Flood Zone—Because of its proximity to the ocean, the Outer Banks has been designated as a flood plain or flood zone almost in its entirety. The beautiful waterfront appeal of the islands necessitates the purchase of flood insurance to protect your property in the event of a storm or flood.
  • Flood Insurance—The federal government subsidizes insurance rates for homes in the Outer Banks that comply with federal regulations. However, homes that were built before the current regulations went into effect may not comply fully with some stipulations. Your realtor can help you determine which neighborhoods are more likely to have a majority of fully compliant homes.
  • Access—Beach access means that there is an access point directly onto the beach from the property. The Outer Banks includes many public beach access points, and many homes also have private beach access.
  • Dunes—Sand dunes can reach 100 feet tall and are composed completely of sand. They offer beautiful views of the ocean as well as a great place to participate in wind sports such as hang gliding and kite-flying.

When You’re Ready To Buy A Home

When you speak with a realtor about buying a home at the Outer Banks, he or she will walk you through these terms as they relate to the properties you consider. With a good grasp of the terminology and various options already in your knowledge bank, you will be a step ahead as you prepare to visit homes.

Living in the Outer Banks provides a uniquely tranquil and enjoyable standard of living. As you anticipate the beautiful ocean vistas, abundant wildlife, and opportunities for fishing, hunting and boating, take the time to understand the unique qualities of the homes available for purchase as well. As you consider homes and properties on the islands, you will be able to make a better decision if you understand the common terminology associated with each of the properties under consideration. By knowing how to evaluate the benefits of each home based on the descriptors you see in various listings, you can choose a home that will provide many years of the life you’ve always dreamed of.

The Mid-Currituck Bridge: Will It Happen?

Anyone who has ever lived or visited the Outer Banks has heard about the Mid-Currituck Bridge. Opinions vary depending on whom you talk with at the time. Some swear that the bridge will be built and still others claim that it is never going to happen.  The truth is actually somewhere in the middle.  Let’s take a second to separate the facts from opinions.

The plan to build a bridge that connects Corolla to the mainland has been around since the 1970’s. The bridge would greatly relieve traffic congestion on NC 12 though Duck and Southern Shores and cut an hour off of trips to Corolla. On January 19, 2012, the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS) was released by the N.C. Turnpike Authority. It recommended the construction of the bridge as well as limited improvements to existing NC 12 and Us 158.  This project was slated to begin in late 2012. In June 2012 the NCDOT recommended not to fund the project.

This debate has gone back and forth from the very beginning. The opponents have cited costs as being the biggest obstacle with the bridge costing between 500-600 million to be built. There are many opinions that the funding allocated for this bridge should be used for the Oregon Inlet Bridge since many feel the Oregon Inlet Bridge is a hazard for everyone who crosses it. The question of funding has always put a damper in this project.

According to Jeff Hampton , “[As of December 2015,] the mid-Currituck bridge connecting the mainland to Corolla, N.C., is back on track”.  Kip Tabb writes, “With each hurdle that is passed, the Mid-Currituck bridge edges closer to realty”.  The feelings from many are positive that a toll bridge will eventually be constructed.  I can’t help but think that maybe some of these thoughts are more wishful thinking, but I agree and support that the bridge would supply jobs and stimulate our economy.

There are other issues that could impact the bridge being build. I’ve seen more and more closures of our beaches in recent years due to environmental activism. This same group may align itself with another species that is not in trouble to serve it own agendas to control our environment.

The question to whether the bridge will be built or not has many variables that aren’t easily answered.  Funding and environmental impact are its biggest opponent. Still most wish to dream of a time when they didn’t sit in traffic on Saturdays and early check in’s were available at every house. Whether fact or opinion, the hope for the Mid-Currituck Bridge lives on for locals and tourists alike. To build or not to build, that is the question.

mid-currituck bridgeFor more insights about the Outer Banks and surrounding area please feel free to contact Ken or Pete with Best Buy OBX of Outer Banks Blue.

Ken Baittinger
Ken (252) 305-5255
ken@outerbanksblue.com

or

Pete Salitore
Pete (252) 202-4868
pete@outerbanksblue.com

Understanding Your Insurance Policy Coverage

It’s very important for Outer banks homeowner’s and buyer’s alike to understand the differences between the two main types of policies that are available for vacation rental or second homes.  Often homeowner’s shop for the least expensive policy upfront only to have it cost them in the long run and when it comes to insurance coverage, there is no truer statement than “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR”.

The majority of insurance policies on the Outer Banks are written on either a homeowner’s policy form (HO3) or the dwelling/fire policy form (DP2).  While both policies provide the basic coverage required by your mortgage company, the homeowner policy (HO3) provides much broader coverage and has several endorsements that are simply not available on the standard dwelling/fire policy (DP2).  Most homeowner’s across the country have their primary home insured on the HO3 policy because of its superior coverage, however select a dwelling/fire policy (DP2) for their second and rental homes.

Here are some of noteworthy differences between the two:

  • The HO3 is a special form policy while the DP2 is a named peril policy. Thus, the DP2 only provides coverage for the “perils” specifically named in the policy whereas the HO3 covers all perils except that which is excluded in the policy.
  • The HO3 provides coverage for “Wind Driven Rain”, while the DP2 does not. Please note: Wind driven rain is the #1 source of claims on the Outer Banks.
  • The HO3 provides liability coverage, while the DP2 does not. A separate liability policy may be purchased with a DP2.
  • The HO3 provides coverage for theft, while the DP2 does not. A separate theft policy may be purchased with a DP2; however the coverage is very limited.
  • The HO3 provides “Replacement Cost” basis for the contents of the home while the DP2 only offers “Actual Cash Value” on a depreciated basis. Meaning, the electronics that you purchased 5 years ago for $2000 may now only be worth $200 on a depreciated basis.
  • Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the HO3 provides an endorsement called “Specified Additional Amount of Insurance”. This endorsement provides an additional 25% of coverage in excess of the insured value of your home.  Following a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, the cost of labor and materials can escalate greatly.  Without the additional 25%, the amount of coverage may not be enough to replace the destroyed dwelling with another of similar kind and quality.  This endorsement is simply not available with a DP2 policy.

In summary,  the HO3 policy is usually slightly more expensive than the DP2 policy, however most people will find themselves very disappointed with the shortfalls of a DP2 policy should the need arise to make a claim. A home, primary or otherwise, will be one of the largest investments you ever make, so make sure you choose an insurance policy that reflects that and remember “YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR”!