A Year Like No Other

by Pat Bradford
February 2019

On September 9, 2018, eastern North Carolina awoke to an attention-getting weather forecast. The coast was soon forecast to face a Category 5 storm, the most powerful to ever hit the region. As most barrier island and waterfront homeowners heeded the reports and prepared, putting hurricane shutters down or boarding houses, pulling boats out of the water and beginning evacuations, Realtors were almost frantic; there was still so much to do.

On their radar was not only their homes and their offices, but the homes and offices of all their customers and clients. Every property they'd sold and each one they had listed for sale, plus those prospective buyers had interest in, all had the potential to be damaged, destroyed or even wiped off the map.

"It just puts a whole other level on it, a whole different layer to it, when you are thinking about all these people and all these houses," says Jessica Edwards of Coldwell Banker Seacoast Advantage.

The storm miraculously shed most of its strength before making landfall over Wrightsville Beach. Still, as a Cat 1, it lingered for three solid days. Copious rain fell, rivers crested at record levels. Wilmington itself became an island with no way in, no way out.

Post-storm there was a mixture of relief for those whose homes and properties were spared, coupled with horror at what had happened to neighbors, and grief over the loss of every life, home andbusiness.

First responders, emergency management and government personnel, the Cajun Navy, churches and nonprofits, and yes, even Realtors put aside the damage to their own homes to help others in need, first. Help came from far and wide.

Schools and businesses were closed for weeks. The hospital was damaged.

"The storm affected every industry; when you think about the attorneys, doctors that didn't see patients for two weeks," Edwards says.

Not to mention car dealers, hairstylists -- every conceivable type of business. For those in sales, it went dead for a minimum of five weeks. It became a time of real testing, enough to rattle the strength of even the most seasoned business veterans.

"You have to take that into consideration, it was a huge part of our market; things were delayed, things fell apart, and didn't sell at all or still haven't sold," Edwards says.

To hold pending sales together, Realtors became creative, using every skill, every scrap of knowledge they had to consummate sales despite downed trees, ponding water, moisture damage and blue tarps everywhere.

"We were all on track for an absolutely gangbuster record year until the hurricane hit. And then we were basically shut down, not only for the 10 days or two weeks the town was literally underwater and without power, but really, for about five weeks the real estate market went dark," says Vance Young of Intracoastal Realty.

Lost Momentum

The storm paused what was a sizzling market.

"The beach was on fire -- water property all up and down the coast was. We had multiple offers, quick sales, no inventory, it was pretty incredible," says Carla Lewis of Intracoastal Realty.

The extensive media coverage didn't help.

"It was a very stressful time for buyers and sellers," Sherwood Strickland of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage says.

For many, it was a renewed lesson in the intricacies of how insurance and homeowner associations work.

"It was a really good, solid year across the board. Healthy in the upper price range as we continue to recover from the Great Recession," Vance Young says.

Just after Thanksgiving, Young as the listing agent, and Sam Crittenden of Landmark Sotheby's representing the buyer, saw the biggest sale in New Hanover history close for $5 million on Bradley Creek Point, off picturesque Airlie Road and Wrightsville Sound with close proximity to the beach. Not gated, not oceanfront, but soundfront with stunning views across the ICWW to Wrightsville, and Masonboro Inlet and island. A perfect south-facing location, with boat dock.

The three-story, 6,506sf home with four bedrooms and five baths is described as Normandy inspired, with European interiors. It was lovingly put together and embellished as the year-round home by a Wilmington businessman and his wife.

The purchaser, a parent of a family nearby, has maintained a second home at Wrightsville for three or more decades.

This sale closing at the end of November helped nudge New Hanover County's year-end numbers into positive territory.

Closing at 4.17 percent higher than the previous year's top sale contributed to a 2 percent overall higher sold volume for New Hanover for 2018, an increase of just over $34 million for a year-end of just over $1.7 billion. This, however, was down in the actual number of sales, 45 fewer the previous year with 5,642. In the plus column, 518 pending sales were waiting to close.

Faring better on sold volume numbers, Brunswick County to the west and south saw an almost $105 million increase or 7.82 percent over the previous year. Hammered by Hurricane Florence, Pender County's sales volume held, only dipping less than one-tenth of 1 percent.

Brunswick again saw a 2.9 percent increase in the physical number of properties sold, 6,301 for the year. Pender didn't best the 2017 number of sales, missing by just 28 to end the year with 1,612 sales, although it did increase close to 20 percent on the top-selling property.

Median and average sold prices mirrored this with each of the county's averages increasing, but the communities of Landfall, Figure Eight Island and Porters Neck saw a decrease. Wrightsville and Pleasure Island increased in average and median sales prices, 15 percent and 5.83 percent respectively. (See the chart on page 54 for more on these numbers.)

The white elephant in the room in any discussion of real estate in this region for the foreseeable future is and will be: moisture. Wilmington experienced more than 100 inches of rain in 2018. Without the hurricane, it was still a wet year.

"In my career here, the four-letter word that scares me to death is mold," says Buzzy Northen of Intracoastal Realty.

Tightening Market

One of the biggest factors in a changing market is the number of active listings from which the buyers have to choose.

"The story of 2018? The inventory was absorbed throughout the course of the year to it being at near record-level lows by the end of the year," says Vance Young.

Average days on market, the days a property was listed until it sold, decreased in the counties by just one in New Hanover, five in Brunswick and three in Pender; but the averages of the numbers of days on market for the individual towns and communities varied from a high of a 29 percent increase at Wrightsville, or 206 days, followed by Porters Neck, with an increase of more than 26 percent, or 116 days. Figure Eight Island's DOM increased by a modest 8 days to 197.

Landfall's average dropped to 184, a 4.66 percent decrease from the previous year. Pleasure Island, encompassing the towns of Carolina and Kure beaches, saw a 14.29 percent decrease in the average number of days it took to sell a house last year, the lowest of the New Hanover beach towns.

"Definitely pre-storm we were getting low on inventory, especially New Hanover County, even Brunswick County," Carla Lewis says. "Spring into summer, for the most part, everything under $300,000 was very much in high demand, and low supply, so you were getting into multiple offers. You were able to tell your clients, you need to offer now. And if they didn't, the next day it was gone. It was that crazy."

The tightening market, some say a seller's-market, was well underway in the three-county real estate market when the storm hit.

"Before the storm, what was on everybody's mind: we were running out of inventory. It was low, lower than I have seen it in ten years," Lewis says.

The number of active listings did decrease across the board: more than 41 percent at Porters Neck, 37 percent at Wrightsville, 36 percent at Figure Eight, almost 23 percent at Landfall.

"Properties at our low end, which make great rental properties, are not on the market," says Bryant Real Estate's Joe Muccia.

And it is not just the low end.

"Figure Eight has record low inventory right now. That's the driving force. We haven't seen a huge bump in prices, still not back to the record sales of year 2006-2007, but we are getting close," says Buzzy Northen.

High End

Luxury buyers, while paused, were not deterred and continued to invest in waterfront properties.

"2018 was a year in which luxury buyers were very comfortable moving on quality assets in the market regionally," Nick Phillips of Landmark Sotheby's says.

Sherwood Strickland agrees, "I think they had more confidence in their particular investments, especially if they were investment properties or second homes where that had been holding back just a little."

Still, the luxury sales dropped by 10 percent. 2017 had seen 30 sales between $2 million and $4.8 million in New Hanover County.

"There are homes on Wrightsville Beach, Figure Eight Island and Landfall that, if they were in these other markets that are in the South, they would be $10 million homes. And $10 million transacts as often in their markets as $2.5 million transacts in our market," Nick Phillips says.

'Live Oaks'

The second top sale in New Hanover County was Wilmington's "Live Oaks," the 1913 Parsley Mansion on Masonboro Sound and the Intracoastal Waterway, which went under contract in 2017. The sale closed in February for $4.9 million. This unique, historically significant estate on seven waterfront acres was designed by Henry Bacon, the renowned architect of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.

The buyer will make it a primary residence once updates are complete, keeping as much of the original charm and architecture as possible with some interior changes to make it more modern. The buyer is a New Hanover County resident who does not live too far from the property now, and who had been searching for quite a while.

The home formerly had a stone dock and boat house, and the buyer is a boater who intends to make use of the ideal boating from this ICWW waterfront location with either a new dock or repair/renovation.

The seller was neighbor Dr. Hormoze Goudarzi. The estate land surrounding the house had previously been subdivided into lots and was recombined for this sale because this buyer wanted it all.

"Dr. Goudarzi lives two doors down. He bought the estate from Mrs. Parsley to save it from being developed into 7 to 8 lots. He did it to preserve the integrity of the estate," says David Benford, of Landmark Sotheby's, both listing and selling broker for the transaction.

Figure Eight Island

Figure Eight is a market all its own. This planned community, developed by the Cameron family in the late 1960s and early 1970s, includes 498 homes (563 lots). Fewer than 25 of these are year-round. The remainder are the owners' vacation homes. There is one way on and one way off the island, unless traveling by boat or as a few residents do by helicopter. The social hub of the island is the Yacht Club. Most homes are waterfront, either ocean or soundfront on Banks Channel, or fingers of water created by dredging when the island was first developed.

"The first lots sold in 1966 for $5,000," Buzzy Northen says.

Nine of the top 20 homes sold in New Hanover County were on Figure Eight Island, all more than $2 million. With a closed volume of more than $52 million, Figure Eight Island saw a total of 23 sales for the year. Three of these were big-ticket lots.

The top lot sale in the county and Figure Eight Island was 68 Beach Road South, which sold post-storm in October for $2.55 million. The seller was an old Figure Eight family that owned from the sound all the way to the oceanfront; they sold the oceanfront.

North of the eye wall of Hurricane Florence, the most damage to homes and beachfront was on the south end of the island.

"This was a different storm. All of the damage was wind-driven rain, there was no storm surge. A lot of roof and walls, windows and doors were compromised because of the record rainfall in the storm," Northen says. As a result, his home there was, he says, "devastated."

The top sale at Figure Eight was also the No. 3 sale for the year in the county. Located in the middle of the island at 6 Beach Road South, the home is 4,922sf, 5-bedroom, 5 and one-half bath, three-story oceanfront and sold for $4.450 million in July.

"The demand for oceanfront property was still very strong post-storm. It didn't have any negative impact. All the transactions that were pending did close. We even put property under contract post-storm, including an oceanfront property and it closed in 2018 as well, which was 32 Beach Road South," Kirra Sutton of Figure Eight Island Realty says.

A renovated vintage cottage, the sixth top sale at Figure Eight and 16th in New Hanover County, it is one of the oldest homes on the island, built in 1967. One of the originals, 3,089sf with 4 bedrooms and 4 baths, it occupies an oceanfront lot with sound views.

The buyers, currently residing in Virginia, are the fourth owners, and it will be a second home. The sale closed November 1, for $2.425 million.

The home had not turned over much, which is representative of sales on the island.

"Typically, people purchase with the intent to keep it. We don't see an influx of buy, sell and trade for the purpose of investment as much as some of the other beach communities might. Or they may have had that intent, but once here, they end up loving it so much they don't want to let it go. Sales involve switching to sound or oceanfront, wanting to upsize or downsize," Sutton says.

The No. 3 sale on Figure Eight was 7 Sounds Point Road, also the No. 7 in New Hanover County, on a cul-de-sac, sound front with a private pier and boat lift, 140 feet of steel bulkhead and wooden boardwalk on top of it. Selling for $3.5 million, this 4-bedroom, 5 and one-half bath, three-story home has spectacular views.

Demographics

The buyers of 7 Sounds Point Road were a young couple from Raleigh. For the home's listing broker, Vance Young, and his team, buyer demographics have shifted and he sees them coming from 1-40. Northen agrees, saying his buyers are coming from "mostly the Triad: Raleigh, Charlotte and Greensboro, but also Richmond and Atlanta."

Where the buyers are coming from does differ from broker to broker, one niche market to the next.

Carla Lewis' team saw strong movement within the three counties, New Hanover, Brunswick and Pender, as well as the Triangle and Charlotte, while some were relocating from Virginia.

Likewise, Jessica Edwards' team still sees a mix of buyers coming from outside the state, but says the majority are from other areas in the state, or even from within Wilmington.

This is not static.

"Twenty years ago, my buyers were coming out of the Northeast, [that] market was a huge feeder market for us. Now my biggest feeder market has been in state, buyers coming out of Raleigh, Durham, Chapel Hill, Cary," Young says. "The money up there is tremendous, it dwarfs anything we've got here by a factor of 100 or more. We're the closest beach to them, we are the logical place for them to go."

Agreeing is another veteran, Randall Williams of Hardee Hunt and Williams.

"North Carolina as a whole is enjoying an influx of population moving in from other parts of the nation. The Raleigh-Durham area in specific, which was not Wrightsville Beach's main demographic prior to the completion of I-40, is now our primary market. That metropolitan area, encompassing a robust tech and pharmaceutical sector, along with being the seat of state government and the home of multiple iconic educational institutions, continues to draw talent from around the country, if not the world."

A new motivator created a renewed source of buyers from the Northeast: high property taxes coupled with the new tax laws that limit federal property tax deduction to $10,000.

"Prior to the tax overhaul, these folks in the Northeast could write off all of their property taxes on their federals. If they had $50,000 to $60,000 in property taxes, they could write that off on their returns. The new tax laws limiting the deduction to $10,000 are driving a new wave of affluent buyers from those areas into Southern coastal markets like North Carolina, because our property taxes are so low. That is a huge thing that is happening; they are leaving the Northeast states en masse right now," says Nick Phillips.

Landfall Country Club

''There are only 71 homes for sale in Landfall right now,"Vance Youngsaid in early January. "A year ago, there were probably 120.Either 120 or 125 sales closed in Landfall or are pending. When you have that kind of difference between homes sold and pending, versus 71 currently for sale, that's a sign of a very healthy market."

The Landfall community had extensive downed trees with damage to homes and roadways following Hurricane Florence.

Alison Bernhart of Landfall Realty says pre-storm, the season was almost identical to 2017.

"We lost a good six weeks between the middle of September and the end of October because of the storm. If we had not, it would have been an extraordinary year," Bernhart says.

The No. 1 sale at Landfall, 2352 Ocean Point Drive, also the No. 6 sale in the county, closed in August for $3,519,383. Located on a high bluff cul-de-sac lot in Pembroke Park, overlooking the Intracoastal Waterway, the 5,851sf home's views from 4 bedrooms, 6 baths extend to Masons Inlet, the north end of Wrightsville Beach and the ocean beyond.

"The buyer for that property was from Bucks County, Pennsylvania, they viewed the property online and called me. They told me they had never been to Wilmington before but the property spoke to them. They traveled down to Wilmington to see this house and for me to show them Wilmington," listing and selling broker Nick Phillips says.

"They had owned a home on The Battery in Charleston, so they had the experience of living on the Carolina coast, and they said Wilmington reminded them of what Charleston was like 20 years ago."

It was a perfect match.

"It really fit the bill for their lifestyle. They were ready to get away from the Northeast winters, that was one of their motivations," Phillips says. The buyers are in the process of selling their home in Pennsylvania to live at Landfall year-round.

The No. 2 sale in Landfall was the No. 10 top sale in New Hanover County. Having 5 bedrooms, 4 full baths and 3 half baths in 6,740sf, with a waterfront pool overlooking Howe Creek, 813 Howes Point Place sold in June for $3.05 million.

Wrightsville Beach

The hurricane's eye passed directly over the two-island town. The weakened storm, and the favorable timing of the tides and wind direction, miraculously left the town far better than anyone could have imagined. Lack of power and water closed the island for one week. Businesses were hard hit. The iconic Oceanic Restaurant, Blockade Runner, the Holiday Inn and Shell Island, all oceanfront, were damaged. The beloved Causeway Caf? closed its doors.

"Experiencing the eye of a hurricane tests the fortitude of a community and its citizens," says Randall Williams.

At Wrightsville it wasn't flooding from the ocean or sounds that caused damage but the huge rain event.

''One out every 15 houses on Wrightsville Beach had significant damage, my beach house being one of them," Vance Young says. "Here it is January 9 and you still have blue tarps everywhere."

Nonetheless, the beach is open and busy.

"New Year's Day broke clear and warm, and thousands of folks came out to the island and many took a plunge in the ocean or simply took a walk on the beach. I'd say that's an appropriate metaphor for the resilience of our town and an excellent antidote to a very damp 2018," Randall Williams says.

The storm didn't kill the market.

"The big question will be if we get a bounce in inventory, people who are now working through their property damage," Williams says.

Forty-two single family homes sold. Of these 42, all but three were water view, while 15 were waterfront. Thirty-three were on Wrightsville, including 24 West Salisbury Street, the top price on Wrightsville and fifth top sale in New Hanover County, selling at $3.525 million on the water where Lees Cut and Banks Channel join. The property was the dream home built by a broker and her contractor husband who were downsizing.

"Too much house for Eddie and me," seller/broker Margaret Collins says. The buyer is a builder from Fayetteville with lots of grandchildren.

Besides Salisbury, there were 23 additional sales above $1 million, 16 between $1 million and $2 million and seven above $2 million.

The least expensive home to sell was also the oldest home to sell. No. 8 Latimer Street, built in 1910, sold for $550,000.

"The most immediate seller used it solely as a rental duplex," says Broker Alexander Koonce of Intracoastal Realty. "But the previous owners had kept the upstairs for themselves and rented the downstairs. The new owner will repeat this pattern. They plan on totally redoing it."

The below-street-level downstairs of the home contained a historical record.

"Downstairs was kind of an open kitchen, living and dining area and it had this post. On it was brass plaques marking the house's water level in each hurricane since the house was built. The water level in Florence was the same as Hurricane Hazel: 3 feet."

Possibly the best value was 1502 North Lumina Avenue, a duplex cottage built in 1946, updated in 1999 by Wright Holman, bringing in approximately $2,000 a month in rental income. It sold for $575,000.

''The house was a pre-Hazel house and it sits on a zoned duplex lot," Gwen Page-Hawley, the listing broker, says. "A local attorney had lived there for many years until she moved outside of Wilmington and bought a historical plantation to rescue horses. A local investor purchased the property and is leaving it as is for now."

A commercial office condo sale was recorded at 3 Keel Street for $267,500.

With a combined sold volume of just under $53 million were properties classified as residential condos, townhouses, and duplexes.

"There were significantly fewer condos/townhomes/duplexes sold in 2018 compared to 2017, partly because of Florence, but mostly because inventory has been very low," says Michelle Clark of Intracoastal Realty.

Less sold but the sales prices bested $2 million. Nine sold above $1 million. The best buy on a condo was at the Harbor Inn, Unit 4-A, which sold in July for $195,000.

The top two townhomes were the highest sales of a condo/townhouse. Both the oceanfront A and B units of the up-and-down duplex at 215 South Lumina Avenue closed within weeks of each other. A sold for $2 million on July 13, while B sold for $2.075 million on June 29. Both are 4,179sf with 5 bedrooms and 6 baths.

"Inventory is lower, so there aren't as many homes available for buyers, which means they need to consider building as an option," says Clark.

This is reflected in lot sales. Wrightsville saw three lot sales: 11 East Fayetteville Street sold for $960,000; 217 South Lumina Avenue sold for $1.825 million and 13 North Ridge Lane sold for $2 million.

New Construction

Even though the county had some notable sales, there are significantly higher dollars being spent on new builds, and not just at Wrightsville.

"The economy has improved the recession is behind us, so buyers feel better about spending the money to build their dream home," Michelle Clark says.

These new homes are remarkable.

"The same thing is happening on Figure Eight right now. On Wrightsville Beach, Figure Eight and Landfall ... because they can and they want to build exactly what they want," says Nick Phillips.

Wrightsville Beach issued more than $19 million in building permits.

"People are spending $6 million-$10 million on new construction building homes, including the lot. We've got world-class real estate, the land, the quality of construction can check a lot of boxes that we couldn't 15-20 years ago," says Vance Young.

Pleasure Island: Carolina and Kure Beach

Brand new construction brought the top sales at Pleasure Island.

OnKure Beach, the top sale was 441 South Fort Fisher Boulevard. This was new construction on the oceanfront with an elevator and an in-ground pool. It offered 5 bedrooms, 6 baths, in 3,442sf, closing for $1.435 million in December.

The top Carolina Beach sale was also oceanfront,1206 Carolina Beach Avenue North, also new construction, also with an elevator and a pool. It has 7 bedrooms, 7 baths in 4,113sf and closed in April for $1.4 million.

A broker at Carolina Beach described Hurricane Florence as "a very kind hurricane there," considering how badly those farther north fared. Damage to homes was mostly roof shingles, except one or two newer businesses lost their roofs. The typical high tide and rain event flooding occurred on Canal Drive and around the lake where some homes near the lake had 3.5 feet of water inside.

"We slipped into a seller's market right before 2018 started. We didn't have a lot of inventory through the entire year of 2018 so that really drove the seller's market, just the basic supply and demand," says Alecia Devereaux of Intracoastal Realty about the market on Pleasure Island.

"We saw rapid growth in terms of a little higher appreciation than probably what we see nationwide," Devereaux says. "That was also a little bit of pent-up demand, which is what drove down our inventory."

Pender County

Pender County was in the right front quadrant of the landfalling hurricane, typically the most devastating. Pender is such a large and diverse county, incorporating east of U.S. 17 the barrier islands of Topsail Beach and Surf City. Also lying east of 1-40 is the Holly Shelter Game Land. East of I-40, U.S. 117 runs by Burgaw and Rocky Point. The lower section is bisected by N.C. 210. The top by N.C. 53 running diagonally, Maple Hill to the north, Atkinson in the west.

"Topsail overall got hit pretty hard. More than half the homes were damaged," says Nick Phillips, who resides there.

Randall Williams lives along Scotts Hill Loop.

"The big story is in west Pender. A few weeks ago, I came down Highway 53 and I was astounded at the devastation," Williams said in mid-January. "There are people there who just lost everything."

In rural areas like Burgaw, houses out of the flood zone still had a lot of water damage from rain runoff, called ponding. Margaret and Eddie Collins had three feet of ponding in their houses at their Burgaw-area farm. The water was contaminated from the overflowing septic systems and hog farm waste.

"The market in general, despite the storm in Pender County, under $300,000 is very much a seller's market, not a buyer's market," Kirk Pugh of Keller Williams says.

The top sale in Pender County was 230 North Anderson Boulevard on Topsail Beach, sitting on a .73 acre, high-bluff lot, with 130 feet of waterfront, bulk-headed with a dock and boatlifts. The house has 4,886sf on three levels and sold in May for $2.165 million.

The No. 2 sale was 1212 South Shore Drive, Surf City, and closed in October. This 2,868sf home was oceanfront new construction on Topsail Island.

As elsewhere, inventory is on the minds of Realtors there, or rather the lack thereof.

"There is inventory being built, but we are not building fast enough and there's not enough supply to meet the demand," Pugh says. "A market equilibrium is where neither the buyer nor seller has a distinct advantage. You should have about six months' supply of inventory at any given time."

Looking at a December absorption table for Pender County, Pugh says, "It's not until you get to a $500,000 price point where you get a buyer advantage."

Brunswick County

''By and large last year, we saw the biggest recovery for the pricing of real estate since 2006," Tim Jackson of Signature Properties says.

Brunswick County encompasses barrier islands, mainland waterfront communities, interior towns, and agricultural land. The top half of the county saw inland flooding from the rivers as well as the sustained rain event, while the southern portion of the county did fairly well.

"Brunswick had little flooding here from the hurricane. We did have wind damage as a result of the storm going up, turning around and coming back toward us," Jackson says. "The barrier islands recovered very quickly. Inland of here was where they experienced a great deal of flooding in the aftermath of the hurricane."

This county saw increases in sold volume and in the number of properties sold. The top sale was not on Bald Head Island, but on Ocean Isle Beach, and it bested the previous year's top sale by 21.6 percent. No. 83 Ocean Isle West Blvd. sold in July for $2.25 million with very little updating since it was built by Jackson in 2003. This 6-bedroom, 7 bath home, 5,051sf on three levels, is oceanfront with a pool and soundfront dock and boat slip at the exclusive West End, a 30-house community with the sound behind and ocean in front.

"Our values have rebounded up to about 95 percent of what things were selling for back in 2006, which was the height of the market," Jackson says.

The top three sales in the county were higher than the 2017 top sale of $1.851 million. The second top sale in the county was on Bald Head Island at 20 Indian Blanket Court. This was a 6-bedroom, 7 bath, 4,252sf furnished home on the Dune Ridge. It is located on a cul-de-sac, with a rooftop deck, elevator, four golf carts and bicycles, making it a popular rental.

A Show of Strength

No look back at the dynamic real estate market on our coast would have been complete or accurate without looking at the effects of the landfalling hurricane. It left an indelible mark. Depending on the county and community, it can vary widely. But one thing remains true: our communities are strong, our cities and towns are strong, our real estate market is strong.

"It was a once-in-a-lifetime event that we all went through as a community. It goes to show the strength of the community as a whole, the strength of the real estate market. It did pause things, everything stopped, but it's not forever. That's a pretty powerful takeaway," Jessica Edwards says.

Pat Bradford has been a licensed NC Real Estate Broker since the early 1980s, and was actively engaged in real estate brokerage in the greater Wilmington area from 1993 to 2001. All numbers reported and used for analysis are from the Cape Fear Realtors MLS System as of Dec. 31, 2018. Additional 2018 sales may have posted or even been corrected after the Jan. 8, 2019, date drawn.

 


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