May 23, 2018

Hatteras Island Real Estate:
Changes in Buyer Preferences

Associate Broker, Outer Beaches Realty

My sense is that most analyses tend to focus on snapshots of what is taking place in the current real estate market when a moving picture of what is happening over time can often contribute to our understanding of market trends. With this perspective in mind, I thought it might be interesting to look at some of the ways in which the Hatteras Island real estate market has changed over the past five years.

The following tables compare how a few key market indicators have changed since 2013.

Overall, this comparison suggests that buyer preferences have remained fairly consistent. There are few more residential sales in today’s market and a few less lot sales, and buyers seem to be taking advantage of lower prices to increase their purchases of prime waterfront properties.  The island’s commercial market remains very limited. In addition, buyers continue to focus their attention on properties at the lower end of the price spectrum.

The major change that we have seen has been a dramatic decrease in the number of distressed property sales over the past few years. The wave of foreclosures and short sales that we saw after prices plummeted beginning in 2005 has just about run its course. At one point, distressed properties represented almost 50 percent of sales on the island.

Looking at data for the 1st Quarter of 2018, the residential real estate market on the island showed some signs of weakness. The average and median selling prices of homes were down in relation to the first three months of 2017, and the total dollar value of sales declined by almost 7 percent. On the other hand, the undeveloped lot market that has languished for years showed increases in all major indicators, hopefully signaling a long-awaited turnaround in this market segment.

When looked at from an historical perspective, now appears to be an excellent time for buyers to purchase the island home or building site of their dreams before prices and interest rates rise in the cyclical patterns that they have followed in the past.

Copyright 2018 Tom & Louise Hranicka.  All rights reserved.

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