Author Topic: Wilmington NC  (Read 1038 times)


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Wilmington NC
« on: January 09, 2018, 01:06:44 PM »
Hi all,
I am living in Ohio, but have wanted to move to Wilmington NC for some time.  That is where I plan to retire in 4-5 years.  I look at real estate in the Wilmington area a lot and it seems recently the prices have not gone up much.  It actually seems as though there are a lot of price reductions and foreclosures.

I wondered if anybody has any insight into that market or just the area in general.  I've been to that area about 5 times, and I Think we want to make a purchase of a single family in downtown Wilmington.  I love the close proximity to Carolina and Wrightsville beach.  I would love to purchase a fixer now and rent it until we are ready to move down there full time.

I just recently engaged a realtor down there and she sent me a list of properties matching my requirements.  Any thoughts on working with a realtor?

Thanks in advance!


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Re: Wilmington NC
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2018, 01:09:23 PM »
Wilmington is one of the places I have considered moving to.  I don't have much insight on the real estate market, but I am interested in seeing what people have to say about the area.  I have never been to the area, so I should probably visit before I decide to move there.

Mr. Green

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Re: Wilmington NC
« Reply #2 on: January 11, 2018, 01:37:06 PM »
Wilmington real estate is busting at the seams right now. I live in Hampstead, which is 10 minutes north of Wilmington up the coast and I own a house in downtown Wilmington that my father lives in. The area is expecting the population to double in the next couple of decades. Basically, southeast North Carolina is the new Florida. RE prices in the area have been on a steady rise for the last couple years. There's not much land left in Wilmington proper because it's situated between the Cape Fear river and the ocean. Growth has been pushing outward and the neighboring towns are all seeing significant real estate development. Hampstead to the northeast, Castle Hayne to the north, and Leland to the west (over the river). An up and coming town will be Navassa, which sits above Leland. There's nothing really in Navassa now but the I-140 bypass was just completed  (opened a couple weeks ago) around Wilmington and that is going to drive growth as well. The bypass has an exit in Navassa and you can use the bypass to enter the town via major roads in several different places so it makes it real easy to not live in downtown Wilmington and still get downtown in 15 minutes, if that's something you might be interested in.

Naturally, developers are snapping up all the open land they can get their hands on. In Pender County (where Hampstead is) there are thousands of homes slated to be built over the next decade. Not sure where they plan on putting all the students though. Brunswick County (Leland) also has thousands of units planned. Wilmington has one last major development being built out now called River Lights, but beyond that the city is focused on growing up since it can't grow out anymore. Redevelopment of older blocks or converting mobile home parks to apartments and condos. That sort of thing. There's a bunch of apartments in the works downtown, and those buildings are finally getting taller than 4 or 5 stories, as nothing in town is taller than that now.

The city itself has good spots and bad spots. You're likely seeing a lot of the foreclosures in rough areas. However there are also expensive areas downtown. Homes in certain historic districts bring 500k-700k. The neighborhood next to my dad's house is called Ardmore/Carolina Place and it's full of 1930's bungalows that have been renovated and it's a hot neighborhood with young folks. A 1400-1800 sq. ft. house there will go for 180k-250k, depending on what's in it.

Something to consider if you move here. Unless you buy in cash, you will have to carry wind and hail insurance on your house and it is not cheap. If your home is in a low lying area you may also want flood insurance, and you can't necessarily ignore it if it's not "necessary." The area has seen crazy precipitation events in the last few years, like other areas have and when you get 7 inches of rain in 2 hours, the water simply has no where to go. It's completely flat here and drainage ditches are not built to handle that kind of runoff. I've seen one house's foundation sink into the ground due to liquefaction of the sand underneath it and others have come dangerously close to flooding during rainfall events that would make me scared for the big one, because those homes are guaranteed to flood. Hurricane Floyd brought 19 inches of rain in 24 hours to most of the area in 1999. That's considered the worst case scenario. Most folks don't think about this when buying and builders are not building storm water runoff systems to handle 500 year events. So that's something else to keep in mind when you're looking around.

I could probably go on for hours about the area's real estate because I love dealing with RE (my hobby) and I've been involved in the area (more so Hampstead and Wilmington, not Leland or Castle Hayne) for about 5 years now. I've considered becoming a real estate agent but I'm not sure I want to hassle with all the politics that come along with that. My passion is simply real estate, not selling it. A couple years ago we bought property in Hampstead and cleared it, brought in all the major utilities, and then, when we decided not to build, sold it to a developer as several building lots. If you're ever in the area I'd be happy to meet you and share whatever knowledge I can. PM me and I can give you my contact info.


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Re: Wilmington NC
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 05:42:28 PM »
+1 to what Mr. Green said. Wilmington RE values took a hit coming out of the Great Recession but have been steadily increasing at a reasonable rate. The area is positioned well for growth, there is a growing and expanding port in the area that has contributed. Overall itís one of the nicest areas on the east coast IMHO.


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Re: Wilmington NC
« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2018, 07:01:20 AM »
In college, I dated a girl from Wilmington so I spent a lot of time there.  Now, that was 10 years ago, but one of the big things I recall was how NOT bike friendly it was.  Trying to get anywhere without a car was a pretty sketchy experience, and believe me, there's incentive to try because trying to park on Wrightsville in the summer is nearly impossible. 


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Re: Wilmington NC
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 10:25:37 AM »
thanks for all the great information!

I am excited to get out there next month.  The bike friendly thing seems true, but I would like to stay in the downtown area so maybe it's easier there?  I was also hoping I could ride my bike to Carolina Beach in about 30 minutes, not sure how that ride is though.  I'll let you know next month.

Also, curious how the schools are?  We have a 7 year old.  I know some schools right in the city are not always great.

Mr Green, thanks for the detailed post, I did pm you.


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Re: Wilmington NC
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2018, 10:34:47 AM »

Rich on Money

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Re: Wilmington NC
« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2018, 02:36:04 AM »
You should work with a realtor, but one that understands you are buying it as an investment property until you move into it.  This is not an easy thing to do.  Make sure you understand the numbers, like the 1% rule for knowing if a property will make a good rental, 50% rule for understanding the expenses from rent.  You can google these and you'll find blog posts on them.  Do your homework on becoming a real estate investor before you do this.  You'll need a good management company, you'll need to find a way to buy a fixer-upper below market and get it fixed up and rented out.  Check out my blog, listen to the bigger pockets podcasts, check out and