Wilmington Real Estate

Everything you need to know about Wilmington Real Estate all in one place. We'll be hosting weekly Q&A Live, for buyers and sellers in the Wilmington Real Estate Market. You can also search the Wilmington MLS, every home for sale in the MLS is updated on this website hourly.

Wilmington Real Estate 101:

Let’s talk about the Wilmington real estate market. Do we call it crazy? Competitive? Complicated? People are asking, with the interest rates going up, if it has affected the Wilmington real estate market. I have not seen it affect Wilmington real estate yet.

Interest rates are close to 5.5% now and it is predicted that they may hit over 6% by the end of 2022. In a few cases, It  has impacted first time buyers by decreasing their purchasing power in the Wilmington real estate market.  New construction folks may have been in the building process for a year, but are now priced out of that home because interest rates have risen and the monthly payment is now too high for them. I think that does kind of hit on “complicated.”

What the Wilmington real estate market has going for us is that Wilmington is the fastest growing city in North Carolina right now. North Carolina itself is #2 in the nation for people to relocate. People are coming from all over. We're seeing a lot from NY, NJ, CA - all those high tax states.  People are cashing in on their equity and moving here to work by the beach! 

Wilmington real estate prices have gone up, just like everywhere else. We've gone up 15 % from last year, but we're still priced fairly low, relative to other areas. Homes priced at $400,000 and under are still extremely competitive, and there's not a lot of inventory. 

I have a listing in a very desirable neighborhood priced at $357,500. It’s just over 1500 square feet, new HVAC, updated flooring, new paint. The listing went live yesterday afternoon, and we’ve had 14 showings already.

I have multiple offers already, so we're calling for best offers by tomorrow and shutting it down because the sellers are inundated with showing requests, which can be stressful. There just is not a lot of inventory in that price point, in the Wilmington real estate market, which makes it very competitive. 

However, we are starting to see more inventory come to the Wilmington real estate market. People that have been on the fence about selling, knowing that the interest rates are climbing, are jumping off that fence and getting their house listed. I think it is still a great time to sell. Another thing I've been seeing in the Wilmington real estate market are some houses that may need some work, staying on the market for a more reasonable amount of time, whereas before they would still fly off the market.  If it needs some work or maybe it’s a little overpriced, those homes are starting to sit a little bit. We're not talking about months, but maybe a week. It's not hours anymore, usually.

The Wilmington real estate market is still seeing bidding wars, but it's not that feeling of a frenzy that we were feeling. The sense of urgency to buy is not as strong as it was when the interest rate was considerably lower. It's not 15 offers or 20 offers. It’s not a sight unseen offer in 10 minutes. Most of the houses that I have listed have offers coming in at the asking price, maybe slightly above. I'm not seeing many going way over the list price anymore.  

How is due diligence impacting the Wilmington real estate market? Due diligence, here in NC, is nonrefundable amount of monies that is written to the seller.  The way the contract reads is that it is the buyer's right to terminate, within the due diligence time frame. 6 months ago, I was seeing, even on a $300K house, $20K-$40K in due diligence. Again, it's nonrefundable. It does come off the purchase price, but if a buyer decides to terminate the contract, they do not get that money back. 

What I’m seeing now is more like $5K-$10K in due diligence, depending on the price point of the house.  It’s returning to a more balanced range. The Wilmington real estate market got a bit crazy, especially for first time homebuyers, because you're thinking about how much money you have to put down, plus a due diligence fee that is nonrefundable. If you have a limited amount of cash, and you have to hand that over in due diligence just to get your offer accepted, it can be scary. If you're going above the asking price, then you worry about the appraisal and having to come up with cash for the difference between the offer price and the appraisal value. 

There are definitely a lot of factors to consider when making an offer in the Wilmington real estate market. 

With prices climbing, I've had people ask me, “Is now a good time to buy or sell?” I think the answer depends on an individual basis. I just looked from June of 2021 to June of 2022, and prices in Wilmington’s real estate market have gone up 15%. I hear a lot of people saying, “I'm going to wait and see what interest rates do.”

I don't see the interest rates coming back down. I think that rates will continue to go up, along with sales prices. I don't see prices rising as quickly as they did last year, when they jumped up 24%, but they’re steadily climbing.   

I’ve been traveling the country to meet with the top agents from around the nation, discussing different markets and trends. Everyone’s pretty much saying the same thing - that prices are going to continue to increase, but at a more historical pace. Likely 3% - 5%, maybe a 7% climb and then eventually level back off, but we don't think they’ll go back down anytime soon.

The demand is definitely still here in the Wilmington real estate market, so I think people have to adjust their expectations a bit. Someone asked me recently, “how would you advise a first time home buyer on how to shift their expectations if they're concerned about the interest rate rising?” That's a great question.

First, I would need to know how much cash they have to put down, how much money they have in savings, and what their price point is. If someone is only approved for a $100K loan, the Wilmington real estate market is not for them, especially as a first time buyer.  There's nothing listed in this area for $100K. The average price point is $425K in the Wilmington real estate market for a single family home.

We’ve got one one listed at $350K.  We’ve got one listed at $250K. The one we have listed at $250K needs a lot of work, and I would not recommend that for a first time buyer. With such limited inventory, having a conversation with buyers about adjusting their expectations is important. Whereas before we would say, “If you could get 95% of what you want in the house, that's probably the house for you.”  Now it's more like, “if you can get 80% of what you want in the house you may want to consider putting an offer in, or looking for something that has been on the market for a few more days, instead of competing against that one that has 95% of what you want.” 

In speaking with lenders and other members on the team, as the interest rates go up, looking into ARMs (adjustable rate mortgages) is a good idea for a lot of buyers. Some lenders are even offering a 15 year ARM, which is awesome! It's 1/2 of a percent lower than whatever the interest rates are going forward. 5-8 years is the average amount of time people stay in one home. Over 15 years, I would expect the interest rates to come back down, so an ARM could make a huge difference in payments. Also, lenders still have first time buyer incentive programs out there, so it’s important to see who can offer the best loan product. 

In our local, Wilmington real estate, we are seeing buying incentives. Builders are starting to add incentives for the first time in two years. Lenders are offering Arms now, which we haven't seen in the Wilmington Real Estate Market in years. And there are still some first time buyer incentives. 

That may be a positive sign of some inventory coming up.

Inventory is sneaking back in! I got 4 new listings this week, and 3 of them are now under contract.

That’s not a ton, but it’s more than I’ve had recently. Inventory has gone up in the Wilmington real estate market by 12% in the last year, which isn't a whole lot, but at least we have something to sell now.

If someone were to ask, “What’s one piece of advice you would give to buyers, and one piece of advice you would give to sellers in the Wilmington real estate market?” I would say to both, “Don't wait.”  If you're considering selling, now is the time.  The Wilmington real estate market is still hot, and we're still seeing multiple offers and full price offers. 

On the flip side, the interest rates are going to continue to rise. Don't wait too long to make a purchase because price and rate increases will only make each house more expensive next year, and rent is outrageous in the Wilmington real estate market! Being in a beach town with a university really drives rental rates up, and they’re expected to rise 15%-20% in the next year. Speaking of interest rates, if you're renting you're paying 100% interest. It's going out the window to somebody else and not a penny of it is being invested back into your own finances.

Wilmington’s real estate market still belongs to the sellers, for now. However, I think sellers are now more realistic with the prices, and they are slightly more willing to negotiate some of these repairs.

Sellers are not making demands, “I want this and this and this and this.” We’re moving back into a place where they’re actually negotiating again, and it’s kind of fun!

If you are looking to buy or sell Real Estate in Wilmington area. Give us a call (910)547-8535