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Old 04-24-2008, 09:21 AM
 
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My Wife's Mother and Grandmother live near Wilmington,NC. We currently live in California which(surprise) we can't really afford to buy in anyway. So we have toyed with the idea of moving there. We're both Graphic designers with quiet a bit of experience under the belt. We have also saved up money for years now for a house. I looked at a few real estate web sites for Wilmington and was surprised to find that the prices were a bit on the high side. Almost too high especially since it appears that our line of work is less in demand there. I'm ok with say- 150k or less. But it seems like almost anything in that range was kind of... crappy.I didn't look very closely though. I'm perfectly fine living out in the sticks, as in 20 minutes out if that means a significant drop in cost.

We recently flew down there and spent a few days on the coast. There were an awful lot of billboards for snowbird retirement communities with 300k price tags. I kind of liked the area. I grew up in rural TN, so it felt sort of like home. But I'd like some honest feedback as to whether the place is yet another coastal city being accosted by Northerners with money and so on. I don't want to live in another city that prices people out like it has been in CA. Thanks for your honest answers.
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Old 04-24-2008, 10:32 AM
 
Location: Wilmington, NC
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real estate in NC is pretty stable. wilmington might be slightly overpriced and more overpriced the more expensive the house. I think you can find a house in that price range pretty easily. the $150,000 range. those retirement house going for $300,000+, those have got to be overpriced. I can put my house on the market for that price too, doesn't mean I am going to get it. it depends on how many days on the market, and inventory.
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Old 04-24-2008, 07:12 PM
 
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We moved here from LA 14 years ago and find that it's becoming more and more like LA every day--in terms of traffic and real estate prices. It's also getting that resort feel--a lot of people don't work, don't have to. But it's still a very southern city in many respects, and people are for the most part quite friendly. As graphic artists, you may have better luck with work in the Triangle.
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Old 04-25-2008, 06:27 AM
 
Location: Piedmont NC
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I, too, think the Triangle might better suit your needs, but I like it here in the Raleigh area. It would be two hours from the coast (Wilmington), and is generally a very easy drive down I40.

My husband and I are Wilmington natives, and we moved almost three years ago, to the Raleigh area, 1) because his work brought us here, 2) our daughter finished HS and didn't need us there as an 'anchor' and 3) neither of us is really crazy about what is happening to Wilmington and its surrounding areas.

We do not object to the growth, or even the influx of 'foreigners,' just don't think things are planned well, and the roads and infrastructure are in poor shape to handle such growth. We were being priced out of areas, too. For my parents' generation, it was not unheard of, for a lot of families who were wise with their money, to have a modest home in town (Wilmington) and a house down at one of the beaches (generally Wrightsville). However, when my parents wanted to give my sisters and me the beach house, between four of us, just paying the taxes was going to be like having a second house payment.

Still, all of my family, as well as my husband's, live in Wilmington (and have for generations) and it is a nice area. Not nearly as nice as it was for us growing up, but hey! newcomers don't really know the difference.
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:43 AM
 
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RDSLOTS, I appreciate the advice. I get the feeling that the Triangle might be better for us too. That or we're considering Austin TX, which has a lot of startups and tech companies that need designers.

Just like you, my Wife's mother has offered to basically let us have her beach house there, which she has owned for over 30 years and has had paid off for at least 20. The taxes are unbelievably high and forget trying to insure it. If we did decide to do that, even if it rented to capacity, we would still be having to pay perhaps more than it would generate.At best we would break even because the taxes are insane. On top of that, it is an old house and the salt air and weather beats it up badly thus it needs constant repair.

Almost all of the houses there were for sale. I mean literally 80% of them, and the one next to hers was asking 1.8 MILLION DOLLARS. I think she might have paid 20k for hers. She built it knowing that one day, a hurricane could easily blow it away. But I can't begin to imagine why anyone would pay a million+ dollars for a house just so they can be on the beach that is very prone to being wiped clean of anything man-made every 40-50 years. So in those respects, I'd say that the coast of NC is extremely overpriced and got run up by out of state speculators. There is now way that any of those properties could ever create profit for the owners. So I suspect that the reason I didn't see any of them with sale pending or sold signs is because now people realize that buying at prices like that are unsupportable. I got the feeling that some of this got spilled over into Wilmington, which is why I sort of raised my eyebrows at the prices I saw there.

It looks like Raleigh/Durahm got a little nip of the bubble, but so far I see that their sales have also slowed and at least they have an actual job market not based in retirement homes and golf course resorts. We want a place that has an actual economy that works well for young professionals rather than a place that's simply made for people with lots of cash from elsewhere. An economy based without money inwardly generated will never work long term. I see lots of new businesses setting up shop in the Triangle, so perhaps that's the way to go. We will see!
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Old 04-25-2008, 04:18 PM
 
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A nice home in a nice neighborhood for $150,000.......sorry,you're dreaming.
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Old 04-25-2008, 04:48 PM
 
Location: Wilmington, NC
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nah, I bet you could do it in leland. you can get a condo for that price in a nice neighborhood. or, you can try to get a foreclosure. sure there are going to be a few of those!
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Old 04-25-2008, 05:02 PM
 
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I didn't say I wanted a 150k house in a 'nice' neighborhood because frankly, what passes for nice thee days tends to be in Mcmansion neighborhoods or sterile subdivisions. I'll take a modest fixer-upper in the sticks over one of those any day. I did gather that 150k was in the low category in Wilmington, which again is why I was a bit surprised because those prices aren't supported by local economics. As I gather, the place is seemingly overrun with retirees with external cash resources. So if that's the case, we'll bypass Wilmington for somewhere else.Like Austin where 150k is still very doable.
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Old 04-25-2008, 06:57 PM
 
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Smart choice......not only for the home prices,but believe me the job market and pay scales in Wilmington stink!
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Old 04-25-2008, 08:31 PM
 
Location: Wilmington, NC
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this is a retirement area. it's popular for people who want to retire, but stay on the east coast. we get lots of people from the DC area, NY, and all of new england.

Quote:
Originally Posted by sliverbox View Post
I didn't say I wanted a 150k house in a 'nice' neighborhood because frankly, what passes for nice thee days tends to be in Mcmansion neighborhoods or sterile subdivisions. I'll take a modest fixer-upper in the sticks over one of those any day. I did gather that 150k was in the low category in Wilmington, which again is why I was a bit surprised because those prices aren't supported by local economics. As I gather, the place is seemingly overrun with retirees with external cash resources. So if that's the case, we'll bypass Wilmington for somewhere else.Like Austin where 150k is still very doable.
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