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Thread summary:

North Carolina: Crystal coast, buy real estate, mortgage refinance, low interest rate, market.

Old 02-28-2009, 08:37 AM
Location: Morehead City, NC
1,681 posts, read 6,027,532 times
Reputation: 1277


To buy or not to buy, that is the question!
By: Bill Hitchcock

Is now a good time to buy real estate? That is the most common question and hotly debated subject of the day. Only 3% of all homes listed this past January Along the Crystal Coast actually sold. Average sales for that month are around 15%. During 2005, the biggest sales year ever here had January sales at 20%.

So with sales so poor, does that mean it’s the wrong time to purchase real estate?

I came up with a saying many years ago that best describes buyers and what they tend to do wrong. “Buyers buy when all the other buyers are buying which is the worst time to buy”. Yep, it’s a brain twisting saying but happens to be very accurate.

Buyers need to feel like they have made the right decision. Their purchase is justified when properties around them are getting bought. It justifies the decision of the financier too. Banks and mortgage companies require “comparables” before they authorize a loan. A comparable is a home similar in size and style that has been recently purchased and is located near-by. The more comparables sold in the in the area the better! Well, the better for the loan approval and the seller. Unfortunately, as sales increase, inventory will decrease and price goes up.

Let’s get back to the question, is now a good time to buy real estate? As of February 1, 2009, the Crystal Coast had built up a 33 month supply of inventory. At no other time have we had so much to choose from. To put this into perspective a normal stable market is said to have only a 6 month supply. In 2005 when everyone was buying there was just a 5 month supply of inventory. So right now you as the buyer have the greatest selection of all times along the Crystal Coast.

A big supply of inventory usually means a lot of properties have been for sale for a long time. Frequent sales drives up price but the lack of sales drives price down. Sellers lower prices to counter the extended days their property have been on market. They also tend to negotiate down towards the buyers demands.

Does a glut of inventory and days on market really affect price? Well, All I can only tell you is what has happened. This past January the average sold price for a residential property along the Crystal Coast averaged $189,000. In 2005 the sold average price was $323,000. (Prices rounded up to the nearest $1,000). So which do you think was a better time to buy? In 2005 with a small inventory and high price or right now with historically high inventory and low prices?

And while I’m talking about historically low numbers I can’t over-look 30 year fixed mortgage rates. Already this year North Carolina lenders have offered rates as low as 4.25%. The national average has been consistently under 6%.

Hamlet asked, “To be, or not to be”.
I asked, “To buy or not to buy.
I’ll let you determine if you want to, “suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune “.
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Old 03-01-2009, 06:30 PM
Location: Raleigh
88 posts, read 321,030 times
Reputation: 36
Do you do commercials in Carteret County? I swear I saw something on one of the local channels that looked to be an infomercial from a Bill Hitchcock a few weeks ago.
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Old 03-03-2009, 07:55 PM
4 posts, read 7,534 times
Reputation: 10
That was great information. These are the questions I've had about the market. Actually I'm living on Long Island and a bit fearful to make the move. Thinking of investing with the thought of staying. Bit nervous doing this also. Thanks for the info Bill Hitchcock. Keep the info coming
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Old 03-03-2009, 08:15 PM
6 posts, read 22,740 times
Reputation: 10
I, too, would like to know the best time to buy property in coastal NC or SC. I have found that real estate agents invariably are saying "yes" now - but there's a lively discussion on the Charleston, SC forum with others pointing out that the market there (which has fallen further than Wilmington's) has further to fall still. Their point is that transplants from other areas drove up demand, and now that so much wealth has evaporated, the transplant market will be drastically reduced. Besides, Bill, I'm not sure that I agree that the inventory glut means that prices are reflecting true value. There are plenty of sellers, no doubt, who feel they "can't" sell at lower prices and won't negotiate much. Lower median prices might just mean that lower-end houses are selling now and higher-end properties aren't. What might be more convincing to me would be seeing a list of "comps" for a neighborhood from a year ago compared to prices in the same neighborhood today...and seeing a significant drop. Also, the economic news doesn't seem to indicate that we're at the bottom of the housing fall yet. Nouriel Roubini recently predicted a further 10-15% drop in prices nationally.
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Old 03-03-2009, 09:24 PM
Location: Five Points
1,190 posts, read 4,047,733 times
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Default reply

I bought in 2001 so all is good. IMO The market on bogue banks is far from the bottom. The first home market is not at bottom so the second home is lagging even further behind. The supply of folks that feel good about buying a second home right now is pretty small. That is just a fact.
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Old 03-04-2009, 07:28 AM
Location: Morehead City, NC
1,681 posts, read 6,027,532 times
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Wow! These are some very good responses.
First off, Saraswati said, "I have found that real estate agents invariably are saying "yes" now
They always will-It's their job.
Agents will invariably "yes, now" when it comes to listing a property too.
Obviously a perpetual now is the best time for either is incorrect.
I own/operate a thriving real estate business along the NC coast. The backbone to it-The guiding light if you will-is tracking and documenting actual numbers. This is done daily. We take these actual numbers for daily tracking of market trends, create detailed analysis and for creating accurate Brokers Price Opinions and comparables.

Actual numbers tells us what has actually happened all the way up until right now. Tomorrow is speculative. It always will be. But studying what was and currently is the best tool to use to guess, speculate, foretell, predict tomorrow.

And yes-That was me on TV. The lead segment for the TV Show is a news style reporting of the current market trends. It can be watched online.
We also produce a free weekly e-mailer loaded with current market trends info. We like to compare daily, quarterly and annual trends against itself (Ex: Comapre A certain month with the same month of years gone by.
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Old 03-04-2009, 09:01 AM
Location: Morehead City, NC
1,681 posts, read 6,027,532 times
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I had someone make a comment to me a few days ago about my above post, "To buy or not to buy, that is the question! ". He asked me if I was trying to convince people to catch falling knives. I asked him, "Would you rather catch them on the way up?"

Please keep this in mind-All knives do not fall at the same time nor at the same rate nor do they all land at the same time.

Every market will have opportunities, usually not apparent. Waiting for the entire market to "bottom out" means you have waited too long. Which is usually when all of the buyers start to buy and the cycle stats all over again.

Last edited by Bill Hitchcock; 03-04-2009 at 09:15 AM..
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Old 03-05-2009, 12:50 PM
4 posts, read 9,879 times
Reputation: 10
Very good information Bill. I am mortgage loan officer with SunTrust in Greenville and I see the exact same thing with refinances... I'm pretty sure (and I can even speak from personal experience) that it is a greed thing. We wait and wait for the rates to get as LOW as they can and then as soon as they start to shoot up everyone grabs on to the tail end and misses out on the lowest pricing!!

And for the record, I would MUCH RATHER buy with high inventory and lower prices than the alternative. I am definitely an Atlantic Beach girl and I think that buying at the beach is not a mistake!!! I'm ready to head that way on Saturday for this beautiful weekend!
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Old 03-05-2009, 10:26 PM
27 posts, read 103,423 times
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What about buying a small commercial property? I would like to buy a small spa or house that could be converted into a minimally-equipped spa near Beaufort or other coastal area. I am not ready to buy today, and need about 6 mths. to one year to get there. However, I would like to know what these types of properties might be priced at, and in which location. Ideally, very close to the beach and with enough parking on nearby street or lot. Any ideas/suggestions?
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Old 03-06-2009, 06:43 AM
Location: Morehead City, NC
1,681 posts, read 6,027,532 times
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You bring up many good points.
First off-The vast majority of properties available will be 15 minutes or less from the beach. Swansboro, Newport, Morehead City, Beaufort-It doesn't matter. And by the way, I'm working on the premise that the "beach" is Bogue Banks.
But proximity to the beach will greatly alter price:

2008 Averages for Residential (Homes) Properties
Atlantic Beach $697K
Morehead City: $321K
Beaufort: $259K
Newport: $189K

Right now you're dealing with a moving target. Any opportuntity that is currently available you'll just have to let pass by. Opportunities to buy (especially business) are singular opportunities.
The best thing for you to do is to first make financial arrangements and determine what you can and can not afford. Second-start your search. the more time you allow yourself for the search the better.
The best case scenario is to be financially set and ready to buy when that one special opportunity reveals itself so you can act upon it.
The worst case scenario is to find the perfect property and not have the arrangements made and loose it, or even worse-Over extend yourself to get it due to the time urgency.

I live and work along the Crystal Coast-Let me know how I can help!

Last edited by Bill Hitchcock; 03-06-2009 at 06:52 AM..
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