Real Estate Market Sets Records on OBX in 2020

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2020 was a record-setting year for real estate on the Outer Banks. And December was another strong month. 

2020 is now in our past, and what a surreal year it was. I have to recognize the fact that not all sectors of our economy fared as well as real estate did. I hope that we can start getting our entire economy recovered in 2021. I have a lot of friends who I know are ready to get back to work.

Real estate has been healthy for most of the country with some analysts saying the sector is leading the recovery. If you have watched or read my updates through the year you already know this was a spectacular year for real estate on the Outer Banks. Residential sales are up 44% from last year; the highest number of unit sales and total volume sold since 2005. Land sales are also up 44% from last year; the highest number of lots and land sales since 2006. For the month of December total sales were up 79% over last year.

The issue facing my fellow REALTORS and I is the lack of property to sell. Total inventory is down 45%, with lots and land down 23% and residential inventory down 58% from last year. From December of 2018, it is down 65%. The numbers themselves may be more illustrating; in December 2018 1441 residential units available. That number was down a hundred to 1341 in 2019. In December of 2020, only 560 residential units were on the market for sale. Low inventory changes the way buyers need to approach the process.

I talk to other REALTORS almost every day and we are all having similar conversations with our buyer clients. In our first conversations, we are urging these clients to get the financial pre-qualification work done. Most of them will say “but we are just starting to look and we are not in a rush”. We all understand. I know I am not trying to push anyone. We’ll take the time necessary to find the perfect house. But when that house hits the market and goes under contract while you are waiting for your financial documents you will understand the need to take care of that upfront. Also with interest rates as low as they are you may find out you can afford a bigger house than you realized.

Here is how the individual areas fared in 2020, January through December residential sales:

  • Corolla up 129% – Median Sales Price up 14% to $560,000
  • Duck up 122% – Median Sales Price up 5% to $520,000
  • Southern Shores up 30% – Median Sales Price up 8% to $510,000
  • Kitty Hawk up 13% – Median Sales Price up 5% to $394,032
  • Colington down 7% – Median Sales Price up 10% to $299,000
  • Kill Devil Hills up 10 % – Median Sales Price up 15% to $329,000
  • Nags Head up 34% – Median Sales Price up 20% to $480,000
  • All Hatteras up 64% – Median Sales Price up 10% to $375,000
  • Roanoke Island up 67% – Median Sales Price up 12% to $355,000
  • Currituck Mainland up 10% – Median Sales Price up 5% to $277,000
  • Ocracoke down 5% (but that is only 1 unit) – Median Sales Price up 1% to #355,000

Is the market going to stay strong and for how long? Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors says “This winter may be one of the best winters for sales activity”, and goes on the say “this could be one of the best breakout years just based on the fact that pending contracts are at such a higher level.”

You may recall me saying in previous updates that recession doesn’t equal housing crisis. We now have the data for 2020 to back up that statement. In four of the past six recessions housing prices actually increased, including up 7.3% in 2020.

To understand how this affects you and your situation give me a shout. All of my contact information is on my website,

Happy New Year. My wish for you is a great 2021. Let me know how I can help! 

Information in this article is based on information from the Outer Banks Association of REALTORS® MLS for the period January 1, 2019, through January 7, 2021.

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