NEWPORT — Tourism to Carteret County has soared in coronavirus virus-troubled 2020, setting monthly records since the end of spring, but home sales and purchases have boomed, too, in this odd year.
“This year has been the busiest for myself and many other agents, even with the (coronavirus) pandemic,” said April Pike, owner of April Pike Realty in Newport and president of the Carteret County Multiple Listing Service.
She said she’s been a licensed Realtor in the state since 2008 and hasn’t seen anything like this.
Ms. Pike said “sold” listings for 2020, through Nov. 20, were at 27,390, up 15% from this time in 2019, when here had been 23,773 sales.
It’s not just sales that are up - people who sell are getting more money for their properties.
“Year-to-date the average sale price of homes for 2020 is $273,400 compared to $240,302 for 2019, a 13 percent difference,” Ms. Pike said.
It’s not that so many more people are trying to sell, just that more homes are selling.
“The number of listings from this year compared to last year have not changed much,” Ms. Pike said. But, she added, “Days on the market has changed some; the average days on the market for October 2020 is 59 compared to 64 in 2019.
“Working with buyers on a budget under $200,000 has been very challenging, especially after Hurricane Florence (in September 2018),” Ms. Pike added. “When these properties do hit the market, we find ourselves in multiple-offer situations. I tell buyers, ‘You better have your ducks in a row.’”
The main “ducks,” she said, are to get mortgage pre-approval and to have enough money to pay the due-diligence fee and closing costs.
“A buyer’s ability to pay their own closing costs can make a difference in a seller accepting the offer, especially if there are multiple offers on the table,” Ms. Pike said.
The biggest factor in the booming market is probably mortgage rates, which she said are at an all-time low.
“It’s a great time to buy and/or sell,” she noted.
Generally, the tough economy during the pandemic has kept mortgage interest rates near or below 3% in many places.
The situation is a bit different for those who seek to rent homes, though.
“There have been a lot of people who own vacation homes now staying here to work virtually,” Ms. Pike said.
Carteret County is not alone in its boom.
According to The Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk, Va., homes and lot sales from Corolla to Ocracoke on the state’s Outer Banks reached $1.18 billion through October. That's the most since the all-time record of $1.5 billion, set in 2005, according to Dan Sutherland, director of multiple listing services for the Outer Banks Association of Realtors.
Nationally, according to a Nov. 19 CNN Business article, home sales “rose again in October, at their highest pace in 14 years, according to the National Association of Realtors,” and the median home price rose to a record $313,000.
Homes across the nation sold fast in October, with more than 70% on the market for less than a month, the article added.
Sales of existing homes — which include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops — were up 4.3% from September and 26.6% from a year ago, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.85 million in October, according to the article.
Contact Brad Rich at 252-864-1532; email Brad@thenewstimes.com; or follow on Twitter @brichccnt.