Hatteras Island Real Estate:  Fall 2015 Business Review

As the 2015 season winds down, it is shaping up to be a pretty good year for  Hatteras Island businesses. Hatteras appears to be in the early stages of recovery from the real estate downturn that began in 2005 and the national economic crisis that occurred in 2009.

Columnist Tom Hranicka takes a look at positive, negative, and mixed economic factors for the island.
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OBX tourism survives the 'summer of the shark'

Even with all the media hoopla, the summer of the sharks doesn't appear to have done any significant damage to the Outer Banks tourism industry, according to data released by the Visitor's Bureau on Aug. 27. And while the 2015 visitation numbers were up over the previous summer, that trend over a longer span is more mixed. 

Speaking at the Aug. 27 meeting of the Dare County Tourism Board, Outer Banks Visitors Bureau Executive Director Lee Nettles said he was encouraged by strong revenue figures for June and visitation numbers at key sites for July. "It's been a very busy summer both for me and our travel partners,” he said.

July 2015 visitation numbers for nearly all the key tourism sites grew over those for July 2014.  But one factor worth noting is that Hurricane Arthur severely disrupted travel to the Outer Banks in July 2014.

Read the story in The Outer Banks Sentinel.

Dare's second quarter 2015 Cost-of-Living Index is 108 percent

Among the 271  urban areas that participated in the second quarter 2015 Cost of Living Index, the after-tax cost for a professional/managerial standard of living ranged from more than twice the national average in New York (Manhattan), N.Y. to almost 20 percent below the national average in McAllen, Texas.   Dare County’s composite index was 108.6 -- or 8.6 percent above the national average. 
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Hatteras Island Real Estate: Trends in vacation and investment properties

Each year, the National Association of Realtors publishes an Investment and Vacation Home Buyers Survey that reflects trends outside the primary residential and commercial markets. The survey, which was based on a sample of nearly 2,000 home buyers in 2014, always contains some interesting insights. 
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Consumers confused by flood insurance surcharge

Some Outer Banks homeowners may be experiencing a case of sticker shock after seeing their latest flood insurance bills — thanks to a new surcharge and a letter they may not be reading closely enough.

The surcharge, which went into effect on April 1, 2015, costs $25 a year for primary residences covered in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). But it is 10 times higher — $250 a year — for non-residential properties, multi-family residential properties and non-primary residences.

The catch is that homeowners must provide documentation of primary residency to avoid being hit with the much higher fee. And it seems clear that not all of them are doing that.

Read the story in The Outer Banks Sentinel.

Complex process delays floodplain maps again

New technology made public in the spring of 2013 showed that many properties in Dare County seemed to have been mistakenly classified as at risk for flood damage. Residents and county officials were hoping for quick action from the federal government, but delays have pushed back the release date of new preliminary fl

oodplain maps at least 18 months.

According to Willo Kelly, government affairs director for the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, the potential savings to Dare County are huge if the preliminary findings are confirmed. “Eighty percent of Dare County will be coming out of the flood zone or be reclassified,” she said.
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