Thursday, January 28, 2016

What Can You Buy for $200,000? Part 3: Wilmington South

Echo Farms Golf Course Community

The Southern Suburbs

     Part three in my series on what you can buy for $200,000 focuses on the south side of Wilmington.  Here you will find several lovely golf course communities (of course! this is North Carolina, after all); views of the Intracoastal Waterway from homes both grand and humble; some middle as well as high income neighborhoods; a generous sprinkling of manufactured homes; and pockets of new home construction. There's even an airplane community, with homes built around a small airstrip.  (Sorry, you might find a lot here for under $200k, but not a home.)  You'll also find some of Wilmington's best restaurants, tucked away surprisingly in small retail centers -- Cape Fear Seafood Company, Fish Bites, Pine Valley Market, and Niche Kitchen and Bar -- to name a few of my favorites.

"Well-located for a fast getaway to a beach, a short drive to the downtown Historic District or a quick round of golf. "

       For the purposes of this article, I've defined this area as roughly a triangle, with downtown Wilmington at the top left corner, Wrightsville Beach in the top right, and the southern point of the triangle ending just before Carolina Beach.  As you can see on the map below, this is a peninsula created by the Cape Fear River on the west, and the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway on the east.  Anywhere in this triangle, you are well-located for a fast getaway to a beach, a short drive to the downtown Historic District or a quick round of golf.  It's popular with homeowners who like a more suburban experience, larger yards, less traffic and who want to avoid the often frustrating experience of crossing Cape Fear River bridges from Brunswick County into Wilmington during rush hour.

A Little History (...because I just can't resist)

     One of the major landmarks on this side of town is an expanding retail/commercial area at the intersection of  S. College Road and Carolina Beach Road.  Known to locals as "Monkey Junction," non-natives more often refer to it as Myrtle Grove after a nearby residential area.  There are some odd stories that have evolved about how it got its name, but here's the real scoop for you newbies to the area. The intersection has been known as "Monkey Junction" since the 1930's thanks to owners of a gas station located there who kept live monkeys to attract and entertain customers from the buses that ran to and from Carolina Beach. The bus driver who stopped at the intersection would announce "Monkey Junction!"  Dina and Jack Spindle's gas station was at Monkey Junction until the mid-1970's. 

What can you get for $200,000?    

So, let me show you a sampling of what you can find south of Wilmington for about $200,000:

     6616 Lipscomb

Just a short distance from River Road Park, where you can launch your canoe or kayak into the Cape Fear River, paddle out to Shark Tooth Island and hunt for -- did you guess it? -- fossilized shark teeth!  This 3bed/2bath home is located in Tidalholms Village.

                                                                         214 Nantucket - Masonboro Golf Course 

In the Cape at Masonboro -- a beautiful and challenging public golf course.  This 3bed/2bath home is also just a five minute drive to Carolina Beach.

       215 Patalanda

With a $200,000 budget, how close can you get to the water?  Pretty darn close, sometimes! This 4bed/2bath home with a screened in porch and separate, spacious deck boasts partial water views of the Atlantic Intracoastal Waterway.

                                                                                                            310 Pettigrew

In centrally located Pine Valley Estates, near Halyburton Park and Pine Valley Country Club (and the delish Pine Valley Market Deli!)  This pretty 3bed/2bath brick has an amazing yard with mature landscaping.

      111 Disney Drive

In one of the most sought after school districts --and in the sweet spot equal distance from Wrightsville Beach, Carolina Beach and Downtown.  This 5 bedroom ranch home is on a generously sized lot.

                                                                                                         4630 Whiteweld

Conveniently located near Monkey Junction shops and restaurants, in The Arbors at Johnson Farms subdivision.  This 3bed/2.5bath colonial style home has a finished room over the garage (FROG).

Written by Mary Lynn Blake, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage
Wilmington and Carolina Beach, North Carolina

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Is the Tide Going Out on Low Interest Rates? (Well, turns out, not yet!)

Whew!   What a difference just a few weeks makes.  Much to the surprise of the real estate gurus and economists, rates have have actually fallen.   New blog coming soon about why this happened.

Where are interest rates headed this year?

With interest rates still below 4%, many buyers may be on the fence as to whether to act now and purchase a new home, or wait until next year.
If you look at what the four major reporting agencies are predicting for 2016, it may make the decision for you. The chart below averages the predictions by quarter.
Where Are Interest Rates Headed This Year? | Simplifying The Market
With the exception of Fannie Mae, the experts agree that interest rates will increase by three-quarters of a percentage point, costing you more to pay back your loan.

Bottom Line

Even a small increase in interest rates can put a dent in your family’s wealth.

Market Outlook for 2016

Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage President, Tim Milam's 

Market Outlook for 2016!

My friends,

January is a time of both reflection and anticipation. 2015 was another successful year for the local real estate industry and 2016 holds even more promise.

We have much to celebrate as the economy continues to strengthen. Home ownership continues to be one of the very best investments individuals and families can make. In 2016, we anticipate that the value of homes will increase by 4 to 5 percent, and the number of homes sold will increase 3 to 4 percent. Although interest rates recently increased for the first time in eight years, rates are still extremely attractive at around 4 percent.

Interest rates will likely creep up this year by an additional .50% to .75%. And though we don’t anticipate these increases will negatively impact home-buying, it does create a sense of urgency to buy NOW while rates are still extremely low.

2016 promises to be an active year in the Southeastern North Carolina real estate market. Here are a few trends we anticipate:

•Lending requirements have eased up somewhat from the stringencies of the recession, which has enabled and motivated more buyers to get back into the market.

•First time homebuyers made up about 30 percent of the market in 2015 and we anticipate that number will increase again this year, edging closer to the average of 35 to 37 percent.

•With interest rates inching up, inventory levels decreasing, rents increasing and the job market strengthening, NOW is the time to buy a home. Waiting could be costly, as procrastination will likely result in a higher interest rate, higher price and fewer homes to choose from.

•Technology is simplifying the home buying experience. With our DotLoop software, our agents now have the ability to conduct the entire transaction online. And our all-new website at is easy to navigate and puts all the information you need at your fingertips.

•New home communities continue to offer buyers a broad array of choices in New Hanover, Brunswick and Onslow counties, and the extension of sewer in Pender county will see several new communities come online in 12 to 18 months.

Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage has been the #1 real estate firm in Southeastern North Carolina for each of the past 16 years and we are the #3 Coldwell Banker firm in the United States. We have 11 offices and more than 425 agents serving an area from Morehead City to Myrtle Beach. We are locally owned, yet we have the support – and latest technology -- of the nation’s leading real estate firm in Coldwell Banker.

In 2015, we closed more than 5,800 transactions and more than $1.2 billion in closed sales volume.

For the 2nd year in a row and the 4th time in our history, we closed more than $1 billion in sales and were the only real estate firm in Southeastern NC to have done so.

Often I am asked,“What are you most proud of about your company?”

My response is always,“Our people.” We are a caring group of professionals dedicated to our clients and the communities in which we live and work. Our agents may donate to a local charity with
each closing, and the company matches each donation.Through our agents’ generosity, we contribute more than $100,000 to area non-profits annually.

If you want to learn more about how we can help you buy or sell a home, I hope you will feel free to call me at 910-202-2501 or email me at Our mission is to help buyers and sellers achieve their real estate goals by providing extraordinary customer service and it’s a mission we employ each day. From all of us at Coldwell Banker Sea Coast

Advantage, we wish you a happy and prosperous 2016.

Tim Milam, President

Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Do You Understand the Flood Zones?

What is Zone X?   Zone VE?   Zone AE?

FEMA has a new video explaining the different types of flood zones -- including the new  "Coastal AE Zone."   It's important to understand what kind of flood zone your potential new home is in.  It will make a difference in whether you are required to pay for flood insurance, and how much.  Be sure to consult with a knowledgable insurance agent who understands all the regulations that will impact your flood insurance rates.

Click on the link below to see FEMA's video.

                                                         FEMA Flood Zones - video link

Thursday, January 14, 2016

What Can You Buy for $200,000? Part 2: Downtown Wilmington NC

What kind of home can you buy in the Wilmington, NC area for $200,000?  This is the second in a series of blogs on this subject. This time I focus on Wilmington's charming downtown area.

But first,    A Little Background 

(If you prefer to skip the long history lesson (sorry, I love this stuff!) and description of selected neighborhoods, just scroll down to the photos and click on the links to go to the property details.)

Wilmington River Walk

It wasn't just the beaches and mild weather that drew me to Wilmington, NC many years ago.  I also fell in love with the character and beauty of Wilmington's brick-paved Historic District and vibrant Riverfront. Our downtown is the cultural hub of Southeast North Carolina, with theaters, comedy clubs, museums, great restaurants and bars, boutique stores and gift shops, as well as a lovely River Walk on the Cape Fear River, an expanding marina, weekend farmer's market, new convention center and the highly regarded Cape Fear Community College. And more!

Downtown Neighborhoods

The downtown neighborhoods are a fascinating patchwork reflecting the history of our Port City. Settled in 1732 on the banks of the Cape Fear River, this thriving city center fell into decline after World War II. An aggressive revitalization effort beginning in the 1970s brought businesses back downtown and encouraged the preservation and restoration of historic buildings, both commercial and residential. Wilmington is a preservation success story ... one that is continuing.

In the central Historic District you'll find stately Georgian manors, fanciful Victorians and charming bungalows from a by-gone era, most of them beautifully renovated.  Streets are tree-lined and full of laid-back southern charm.  Expect to pay a premium for these beautiful homes in the Historic District! This area also includes some homes above shops and riverfront condos.

North of Market Street and just a few blocks from the river is the Brooklyn Arts District, where exciting revitalization has resulted in new luxury apartments; condos created from industrial/commercial buildings; some thriving businesses and restaurants; and the establishment of the Brooklyn Arts Center as well as the new Cape Fear Community College Performing Arts Center.  It is a popular neighborhood for residents looking for urban energy.

In the 1930s, Castle Street -- several blocks south of the central business district -- was an important hub for retail and high fashion, but it also slid into decline after World War II. Beginning in the 1990's, and picking up steam in the 2000s, this area became the Castle Street Antique District with (as you might guess) a concentration of antique shops as well as other businesses. (FYI, in 2014, Meg Caswell, the 6th Season winner of HGTVs Design Star, joined the tight-knit group of business owners in the area to open her own design store in a renovated 100-year-old fire station at 5th and Castle.)  More and more investors and homeowners are buying up run-down, older homes in this area to repair and update.

The historic neighborhoods of Carolina Place, Carolina Heights and Sunset Park were "Streetcar Suburbs" -- early 20th century planned communities just beyond the city center.  This new concept in urban planning was made possible by the transportation innovation of the streetcar, and inspired by the "Beautiful City" movement of the 1890s. The elite, middle class and even some poorer citizens were able to escape the densely populated central district for new, planned developments that included modern conveniences (such as city water lines) and park-like settings. Today's residents of these three communities have worked actively to preserve the unique historic character of their neighborhoods.
    Carolina Place, south of Market and east of 17th St., was the first residential suburb in Wilmington, with building lots first offered for sale in 1906. Today it is a highly sought-after neighborhood with a strong sense of community. The homes are small to medium-sized, mostly renovated bungalows with great architectural and craftsman details.
    Carolina Heights, north of Market to Princess St, was the second development and designed for wealthier residents. Homes here tended to be larger, more opulent and with bigger yards than Carolina Place. Today, many gracious homes in this community have been beautifully restored, but partly due to the expense of renovating a larger property, some homes are still waiting for their modern facelift.
    Sunset Park, the third planned Streetcar Suburb, was initially intended to be a riverfront suburb to rival Carolina Heights; however, World War I and the large influx of workers for the newly erected shipyards, followed by a second influx of workers during World War II, meant a change in direction for Sunset Park. Although some larger homes were built in the early phase of development, there are also smaller properties originally built to accommodate those workers. The result is an eclectic neighborhood that includes still affordable homes.

Finally!  Here's a sampling of homes available in the $200,000 price range Downtown:
(Let me know if you are ready to buy and would like to look at any of these homes.  You can also search for additional homes through my website: .  )

Historic District 1920 bungalow, rebuilt to 2007 codes; 3bd/2bath

515 N. 7th - MLS Data

Sunset Park, 1943 newly remodeled cottage; 3bd/2bath, 1900 sq ft

2175 Harrison St - MLS data

Carolina Place classic 1930 bungalow, all updated!; 2bd/2bath

2023 Wrightsville Ave -- MLS data

Historic Moore-Davis Home, ca 1898, in the  Historic District; 2bd/1bath; comes furnished.

313 N. 6th St -- MLS data

Pretty 1941 home in Sunset Park with original hardwoods; 3bd/2bath

221 Northern Blvd -- MLS data

Top floor riverfront condo; amazing views! 1bd/1bath

106 N. Water St #911 -- MLS data

NEW construction downtown! Will be ready
March 1, 2016.

103 S. 9th -- MLS data

Written by Mary Lynn Blake, Realtor, Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage
Wilmington and Carolina Beach, North Carolina