February 2021 Market Report

WILMINGTON, NC - The new year of 2021 is off to the races.  The Southeastern area of North Carolina (including Wilmington, Leland, Hampstead, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, Wrightsville Beach, Castle Hayne, Rocky Point, Southport, Topsail Beach, Sneads Ferry, and all of New Hanover County, Pender Count,y and Brunswick County) is seeing record-high home prices, record-low interest rates and record low available home inventory.

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Hey, everybody. This is Buddy Blake, and we have gotten a good number of the January numbers in, January 2021. And it's been a crazy market. So I thought I'd walk you through some different slides that I shared with our group here at Waypost Realty today, and also too, we're sending this out to our builders and investors and also bankers and lenders because we like to share that information. But anyway, I thought I'd walked through. There are some interesting things going on in the market. Of course, I know everybody's listening to the media, how busy it is. And it is. We're overwhelmed. Just to give an example, just in one week, our website, people signing on, registering, and things like that, we had almost 500 new people sign up in one week last week. It has been phenomenal, just thousands of people hitting our website a day looking at houses and saving them and trying to schedule showings and things like that. It's crazy.

So I want to walk through this real quick. This is our Market Update for February 1st, and let's see, I'm going to click this right here. What this is, this is a national, just to give you, let me move me out of the way here a little bit, this is the home sales. These are new homes and resales for the last 10 years, and you can see right here, we are way down here. Now, you might take a look at, the issue you've got here is you're going to look back here. This was right after the crashes of '08, was way up here, the inventory really was up here. And if you take this back to '06-07, we're about at the same spot we were in '06, which was really strong. And so we're climbing on down. Now, this is a quote, and one thing that we're sharing with our agency is because we're having them go out and learn about the new home neighborhoods because that is where an awful lot of the inventory is going to come from this year.

Just because of the resales, a lot of folks have refinanced, they don't want to move, they can't find something, they're scared to sell because they don't know where they're going. Of course, we do have a good plan for that, for those. We've come up with a really neat plan that can allow them to stay in their house for 30 to 60 days after the close to give them time to find something. But that is slowing down the number of listings hitting the market. So home builders are going to take care of a lot of the inventory, but not all of it. What this is, let me see if I can move me again, in New Hanover County, this is Wilmington, Castle Hayne, Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach, Kure Beach, it's all the areas of Ogden, Monkey Junction, the places that are not in a city, per se, limits, but they have a mailing address in Hanover County.

So if you look at this, now this is homes that actually sold, because I'm going to show you some more numbers that are going to show it at a much higher day on market, but that adjusts for the homes that are still on the market and under contract. And there's a couple of things that drive that number up. Number one is, if it's new construction and it's going under contract and it's a presale before it starts, you've got that entire build time where it's "on the market". So that extends the days on market and it skews the averages on it. The other thing is, if it is for sale, we still have a segment of houses that are there that have days on market, and anything with more than 30 to 60 days on market right now, we're telling sellers, "You really need to take a look at your price." I know that might be what you want and that might be what you think. It might be what your friend said or somebody else said, your neighbor.

But the truth of the matter is, there's never been a clearer indicator of if you're overpriced or not than right now if you're sitting on the market. And normally, if a house is on the market for over 90, 120 days, you're considered stale. Well, now, that number is down to weeks now. It's just a matter of a few weeks and then people quit looking at it. And I always equate it to when I was in the video store business many years ago, we have a whole store, 5,000 square feet of movies, tens of thousands movies, but everybody would walk in and look at that 40 foot, one wall, one display of new releases. They would never even look at the "catalog" stuff, but they looked at the new releases and if they didn't find anything, they'd walk out. That's how the housing market is too. So, right now, in Hanover County, 11 days on the market of things that have actually sold. That is remarkable.

New Hanover County, here's your numbers. This is an absorption report, and what I want to point out, these arrows were on the right, this is the number of months supply of inventory for these price ranges. And what that means is, if not one more house was listed, we would run out of inventory, for instance, right here in one month even, between 400 and 600. But this is saying that we have basically less than a two months supply and, again, that includes the things that are overpriced and sitting, and some of the new construction that's sitting out there under contract while it's being built. So all the way up to 1.4 million now, we have less than two months supply. And I want you to look at this right here. There are 386 properties available for sale in all of New Hanover County. That's all of New Hanover County. 408 are under contract. So that means there are actually more houses under contract than there is for sale. I've been doing this for 25 years. I've not seen that before. That's the first time I've seen that. So this is New Hanover County.

So now I want to drill down a little bit more and talk about what's happened in Wilmington proper, things with a Wilmington address. Not Carolina Beach, not Castle Hayne, not Kure Beach, not Wrightsville Beach. Right here, there are 339 houses available, only 339. Here's the average number of days on market. I told you 115, which is skewed much higher because of the houses that are overpriced and sitting, and also some of the new construction that's out there. But the key thing I want you to look at is right here, month over month change. In just one month, our inventory has fallen almost 23%. That means we have only three-fourths of the number of homes on the market just a month ago. And the prices, the average price has gone up in one month 6.25%. The median price right now in Wilmington is almost $425,000. 18 months ago, it was below three. So the market is just shifting around and it's accelerating even harder.

All right, this is Wilmington. I've already shown you this one. Let me go back here. Okay, this is Wilmington. Oh no, that was the Wilmington right there. That's just Wilmington. I showed you New Hanover County. Wilmington also is sitting at 11 days for sold things. So the properties that demonstrated they were sellable and went under contract and sold, were on the market 11 days. Now, here's Wilmington, the absorption report. Right here all the way up to a million dollars, we're less than two months supply. In some of these areas, all the way up to 400, we have two weeks supply of inventory. And you can see also, in Wilmington, we have more under contract than we do active. All right, the next one is Leland. This is anything with a Leland mailing address. 184 properties available. And, again, Leland also has reduced the overall inventory, new and used, almost 20% down in one month, and the price has gone up almost 5% in Leland. So we're seeing the same thing, the median price in Leland has almost gone up to $100,000 in the last 18 months.

Brunswick County, the whole Brunswick County, now this is a big area. It's the biggest county in the state. It goes all the way to the state line and all the way inland up against Columbus County. So this right here, the average days on market for things that have sold in all of Brunswick County is about 23 days right now. So it's longer than New Hanover, longer than Wilmington, and longer than Leland. Brunswick County, pretty much every price range right now, every price range, the inventory is two months or less. Now, they have a lot more active. They've got 676. They have twice as many as New Hanover County active. They have 559 pending. So they're not quite as inverted as Wilmington and New Hanover County, but it's getting close. So that shows the same graph on days on market for Leland. All right, let me go back here. Pender County, Pender County is strong. Of course, it covers also a big area. Not as big as Brunswick. It's about 17 days on market for things that are sold right now, new and resale.

Here's Pender County right here. Again, up to 700,000, we have less than two months supply, and they're even more inverted than anything else. 178 properties are available, 219 are under contract. And you can look at these price ranges and see where each one is sitting at. All right, I want to show you this only because this is the cases of COVID in the United States as of February 1st morning, so I guess January 31st. And the only reason I'm showing you this is because we've been watching this since March when we started and the showings and the cases are completely a perfect alignment, it's just they're inverted. Our showings in the holiday period from December, from about December 1, through probably the first week in January, it was just dead. I mean, there were no showings, hardly. There were very few showings. But what's happened is, the case count has gone down and all of a sudden showings are picking up. So, obviously, a combination of the vaccine getting in more arms and some of the areas, the Northeast, and people are feeling more emboldened to move around.

But I just want to give you a heads up that as the case count goes down, and let's hope they continue to, even though we're hearing that they're going to go back up again in the spring, I heard that this morning, but I don't think anybody knows what's going to happen, but the truth of the matter is as the case counts go down and people start moving around more, whenever that is, the activity is going to increase even more. All right, if you have not refinanced and you're going to stay in your house and your rate is above 3.5%, you need to refinance, at least for you to talk to somebody. Because the rates are under three for a 30-year mortgage, and things have slowed down a little bit because of the holiday slowdown so you can get some stuff refi-ed now. Therefore a while, it was taking 60, 90 days, but you can get it done in 30 days now.

Paul Bowers is right here in our office, Waypost Mortgage, and he does a fantastic job. He opened up shop about two months ago, and he's got bandwidth to do refinances right now, along with the purchases. He's getting ramped up very quickly, but I just want to give you a heads up. There's this number. You can go to waypostmortgage.com and get with Paul. You can do it online. Anywhere in North Carolina, you can do this. So he does a great job, extremely competitive rates, and I think you would love to service. Very personal. All right, I wanted to point this out because this is talking about the Treasury rates. The Treasury rates have been moving up, but weirdly, the mortgage rates have kept going down, which is inverted. And I just want to give you a heads up that the chief economist at the MBA is showing that, listen, at some point, this thing's going to parallel again and they're going to go up. When they start backing off stuff a little bit and giving away the free money, these rates, are not sustainable.

So when that does go up, that is going to be the beginning of the slowdown. There is no question. So that is everything for this month. If you have any questions or you'd like copies of these reports, just hit me up or just click a button below. And if you want to have a conversation about selling your house, buying a house, or just any conversation, I'm happy to have one with you. Down below, there's a button so that you can connect to me on my calendar. Jump on it, and we can talk by phone, we can Zoom, or you can come into the office, or we can meet at Port City Java next door. Happy to help in any way we can. And if you're a realtor and you're thinking about maybe getting involved with somebody, we would love the opportunity to talk to you about some of the things that we're doing here at Waypost.

We have opportunities, we're growing quickly, and we would love to bring some more people, some good people, some hard-working people. We believe activity breeds activity, and we're looking for people. So if you'd just like to have a conversation about it, I would love to talk to you. Take care, and we'll see you soon.

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