All I want for Christmas is… A Beach House

Christmas beach houseSo if your office is anything like mine at this time of the year it is less than a finely tuned machine running at full speed. Between the 2nd week of December and the end of the year we have staff out of the office for just under 100 days of combined work. It seems that when you call on any service firm (plumber, surveyor, electrician, etc.) to perform a job at this time of year the story is the same “sorry, we aren’t going to get to that until after the first of the year, you know with the holidays and all we just can’t get it done.”

The same may thought to be true in real estate sales at this time of year as many of our local attorneys on the Outer Banks close for that week between Christmas and New Year’s day (making it very difficult to get a sale closed and recorded), but hold on just a jingle bell minute. I am here to tell you….you never know!

There are still properties going under contract and selling at this time of the year. There is no reason to think that just because winter is arriving this month that sales on the Outer Banks go into a deep freeze. In fact if the property is listed at the right price you just never know when it will sell so be ready!

Just this past week I had notice of a property going under contract in Corolla and the buyer wants to close on the transaction before Christmas. That is less than 3 weeks between contract and close! This is a very unusual circumstance as most properties take 45 or more days to close, but it does happen that we get serious buyers and short closing times at this time of the year.

But the story to beat all is several years ago I was in real estate sales and had the experience of a real estate lifetime.

I was in the office on Christmas Eve morning wrapping up some loose ends before heading out to visit family that evening. I had some shopping to do and was organizing myself to head to the mall and do just that. As you can imagine from the 1st paragraph in this article that indeed things were pretty slow around the office. I was there, one of our receptionists was there, and someone in the accounting department was working for a half day that day as the company owner was closing the office at noon on Christmas Eve. Well imagine my surprise when I was called to the lobby to meet a prospective buyer who walked in and wanted to see a real estate agent to show some real estate. On Christmas Eve!

That surprise turned to stunned silence when I met the man, exchanged pleasantries and he promptly announced he wanted to buy his wife a beach house for Christmas.

Three hours later we had an offer to purchase written, and by 6 PM that night I had a copy of a full price cash contract to sell a house to this gentleman which he photocopied and presumably put under his Christmas tree for the Christmas present of a lifetime for his wife (no she did not see the house before he contracted to buy it). Talk about a Christmas miracle!  It was truly an unbelievable situation. To top it off the transaction closed without incident 2 weeks later.

Of course that doesn’t happen often (in fact I’ve never heard of it happening before or since), but it just goes to show you that as a seller you never know the motivation or timing of a buyer. As the great showman and World Wrestling Federation champion “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair said once “You don’t have to get ready – when you stay ready.”

Happy Holidays!

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).