Thursday, September 21, 2006

With August sales results just finalized, there is virtually no change in the state of the real estate market on Hatteras Island. The inventory of property for sale is about 60 percent higher than it was a year ago, and both the number of sales and the volume of sales are down approximately 50 percent. While the average selling price of residential properties is 2.4 percent lower for the first eight months of the year compared to the same period in 2005, the average selling price of unimproved lots is up over 28 percent. The Hatteras Island Pending Home Sales Index, a leading indicator of sales 45 to 60 days in the future, has remained essentially flat since last November, suggesting that current market conditions will continue for the next few months. On the positive side, we are receiving more inquiries from prospective buyers. Hopefully, this is a harbinger of better times ahead.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

At mid-month, we continue to dodge the seasonal storms. Ernesto passed well to the west of us; Florence stayed out in the Atlantic Ocean near Bermuda; and, it looks likeGordon will track even further east. Every year at this time, we watch the tropics closely, and keep our fingers crossed that the weather patterns move the storms away from us. We recently heard an interesting statistic that 70 percent of the tropical storms occur after September 1st.

An item that has been in the local news lately relates to the disposition of the Coast Guard housing area in Buxton. The base was closed when the staff was transferred to the southern end of the state. Three options that had been discussed were: transfer the property to the National Park Service to house its employees, transfer the property to Dare County for use as affordable housing for teachers and service workers, and return the property to its natural state. County officials got a surprise last week when the Coast Guard informed them that the property had been appraised at $12 million and that the Coast Guard preferred to sell the property, not give it to Dare County. The Coast Guard base is in a beautiful location adjacent to the area where the lighthouse used to be situated. Unfortunately, there are some fairly significant issues concerning erosion and ocean overwash associated with the property. It looks like it will be a while before a final determination about the future of the base will be made.

At mid-month, we continue to dodge the seasonal storms. Ernesto passed well to the west of us; Florence stayed out in the Atlantic Ocean near Bermuda; and, it looks like Gordon and Helene will track even further east. Every year at this time, we watch the tropics closely, and keep our fingers crossed that the weather patterns move the storms away from us. We recently heard an interesting statistic that 70 percent of the tropical storms occur after September 1st.

An item that has been in the local news lately relates to the disposition of the Coast Guard housing area in Buxton. The base was closed when the staff was transferred to the southern end of the state. Three options that had been discussed were: transfer the property to the National Park Service to house its employees, transfer the property to Dare County for use as affordable housing for teachers and service workers, and return the property to its natural state. County officials got a surprise last week when the Coast Guard informed them that the property had been appraised at $12 million and that the Coast Guard preferred to sell the property, not give it to Dare County. The Coast Guard base is in a beautiful location adjacent to the area where the lighthouse used to be situated. Unfortunately, there are some fairly significant issues concerning erosion and ocean overwash associated with the property. It looks like it will be a while before a final determination about the future of the base will be made.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fortunately, Tropical Storm Ernesto bypassed Hatteras Island with only some wind and a lot of rain. While we were about 100 miles from the center of the storm, there was enough rain to close Route 12 north of Rodanthe for several hours last Friday. To the best of our knowledge, there was no damage from the storm on the island.

The new bridge over Oregon Inlet continues to capture headlines in the local paper. The latest article in The Virginian-Pilot reported that the North Carolina Department of Transportation has come out in favor of the “short” bridge. This follows on the heels of the Secretary of the Interior supporting the same option. While we personally believe that the “long” bridge is the best long term solution to ocean overwash concerns, it is looking more and more like the short bridge will be the one that is ultimately built. We have maintained for a long time that Hatteras Island is more like an archipelago than a solid, enduring land mass, and that a series of bridges over the areas of frequent overwash would eliminate the need for constantly replacing and repairing the “hot spots” on Highway 12.