August 6, 2010

Ocracoke Real Estate: Buyer activity is beginning to pick up


I don’t want to jump the gun, but I see a pattern in our real estate market. As though someone flipped a switch, the activity in buyer traffic has begun to boil. New folks are walking through the door and clients, who have made previous inquiries, are returning with more serious intentions.

One of my clients, who thoroughly researched the Ocracoke market in January, could not purchase on Ocracoke until an off-island property was sold. Off-islanders are experiencing the same flip of the switch in the interest buyers are showing in their other home.

I was joking with a gentleman who made his way into the office, saying that he had just gotten off the ferry. I finished the sentence with “...And you are ready to buy.” His answer was “Yes, I am."  Of course, I was blown away.

Bubbling sales activity produces offers to purchase. I would call the offer prices conservative as opposed to “bottom feeding.” I hear the buyers speak in terms of “This is what we can do. We mean no disrespect.”

Our office has two contracts signed and sealed, with two in the pipeline. The two signed contracts have sellers who, in their words, have accepted the state of the economy and are “choosing to move on.”

Another important factor in this equation is the current fixed interest rate on a 30-year loan. I have heard it said that today’s rates are as low as we will ever see in our lifetime.

Two weeks ago, the rate was 4.375 percent with .875 points! It makes you want to refinance -- again. If your purpose is to sell your house, these rates are an incredible tool with which to do it.

Cheap money, a passion for Ocracoke, and acceptance from the seller will bring activity back into our market. Maybe I am only witnessing a snapshot of the market in July, but I’m keeping my fingers crossed for a pattern.

(B.J. Oelschlegel has lived on Ocracoke Island for more than 30 years and has worked in the real estate business for 26 years.  She is a broker with Ocracoke’s Lightship Realty and a real estate columnist for The Ocracoke Observer. You can reach her by e-mail at [email protected])

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