Despite pandemic, New Hanover County’s homes saw a 24% increase in value in just two years

It's a sellers market right now in the Cape Fear region

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Despite the ongoing pandemic, home sales in Wilmington and the Cape Fear region as a whole continue to trend upward which means good news for sellers, but difficult times for buyers.

Tom Gale, president of Cape Fear Realtors, says the lack of homes on the market right now is shocking.

“As of today, there are 105 homes for sale under $400,000 in New Hanover County. In light of the demand we currently have, it’s a way shortage in supply,” he said.

That $400,000 and less price range is an important one for lower-income residents and employees in the area, as well as first-time homeowners. The shortage in supply coupled with the increased demand has led to significant increases in home values over the past two years.

“It’s been an interesting couple of years. Our home values in the area have gone up about 24% in the past two years, including 11% last year despite the pandemic and I tend to think that it did accelerate some folks that were already planning on retiring down here from the northeast or whatever — I think that just made them want to make the move a little bit sooner,” Gale said.

Of course, anytime there is a sharp increase in a market people will wonder if and when that trend will correct itself, sometimes in the form of a bubble burst, but Gale is optimistic. He said he does not expect that to happen in Wilmington or New Hanover County — he does, however, expect the growth to slow to a more manageable rate.

“I don’t foresee us having a downturn again I still see people that want to move here from other markets so I tend to think that, hopefully, we won’t be seeing quite the rapid appreciation that we have been seeing. That to me seems hard to sustain, but I do see continued growth in our area and we want to make sure it’s smart growth,” Gale said.

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