From the Wilmington StarNews, by Noah Johnson
Local luxury homes sales, homes priced at $1 million or higher, shattered records last month in the Wilmington area.
According to a report by Just for Buyers Realty, the previous records for most luxury homes sold during the month of October was set in 2005 in Brunswick County, when five homes were sold and in 2017 in New Hanover County when 12 were sold.
But October’s numbers saw significant increases with 22 high-end home sales closed in Brunswick County and 24 sales closed in New Hanover County.
Another 44 homes went under contract in October with sales pending in the near future.
The record-breaking numbers can be attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, which has caused many people to work from home, Kathleen Baylies, broker in charge with Just for Buyers Realty, told the StarNews.
“I think it’s caused many people to shift their perspectives, priorities and do a total reset,” she said. “When people look at what’s important to them in life and when they start being given the freedom to do their work from wherever, they start asking themselves ‘Do I want to continue working from home in the cold congestive town I live in or might I like to move to the beach?'”
In addition, the number of sales of super luxury homes — sales upward of a $3 million dollar price tag — broke a record set in 2017 when five such homes were sold. Last month, there were seven super luxury homes sold in the tri-county area, with six sold in New Hanover and one in Brunswick.
Another striking trend last month was how quick the super luxury homes were sold, the Just for Buyers Realty report shows. One of the super luxury homes sat on the market for more than three years but the other five were on the market for less than a month, and three of them were on the market for less than a week before going under contract.
In past years, it was common for a $3 million plus home that went up for sale to sit for years sometimes, Baylies noted in a news release.
“That’s just not the case now. Inventory is moving very quickly,” she said in the release.
Baylies said she’s seeing a lot of interested buyers eyeing Wilmington from California, New York, Massachusetts and many other Northeast, Mid-atlantic states. This is a trend local realtors in the commercial real estate market have noticed as well, with vacant buildings in Wilmington’s historic downtown garnering interest from buyers from the east and west coasts.
Namely, Baylies is seeing interest from individuals who live in states where the cost of living is higher, where there are far more natural disasters and where there are higher property taxes, she said.
“There is a surprising number of people who are looking at North Carolina as a place to relocate and a number of them are doing just that,” she said.
It’s too soon to tell whether the area will continue to see these recording-breaking sales in luxury homes, she said, but “unless we start to see a shift in the economy, I think we’ll see this pattern continue.”