A new Harris Teeter grocery store is set to open on February 11 in Morehead City. This comes on top of the Panera, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and Bed Bath and Beyond opening in the last year.
On top of that we have seen more activity in the real estate market in the last few weeks than we have in a while. I heard that our company already has fifteen closings scheduled this month. One of the best signs that I have noticed is that lot prices are finally coming down.
Home prices have been declining for a couple of years, but in general lot prices had stayed steady. Few lots had sold and the challenges of financing lots have gotten greater over the last several months. Now it is very hard to buy a lot for an investment. However, if you are looking for a lot to perhaps build a second home or a retirement home, there is money for that as long as you have good credit.
From what I am hearing from builders, now is actually a very good time to build. Material costs have come down, and there is certainly no challenge in finding a hungry builder.
New home starts nationwide continue to fall, but as is always the case, we will eventually work through the inventory of new homes. It will happen at different times in different places. Some places are much more overbuilt than others. In areas with a really excessive number of new homes, it is likely that foreclosures are driving the prices.
All of this means that this is a good time to be an area that did not fly so high in the real estate bubble. Here on the Crystal Coast, the number of foreclosures are very small. There are no large plants to lay off thousands of workers, but of course here finding jobs was a challenge even in good times.
Still as the economy rights itself and homes become easier to sell, a number of people will be looking for areas which make a good home for retirees or people trying to escape the cities.
While no place is perfect, North Carolina's Crystal Coast still has plenty going for it. It still remains relatively undiscovered which means it is not overcrowded even in the summer.
The access to the area from the west is generally by high quality four lane roads. The schools are excellent with our local high school, Croatan, recently winning an award as one of the top six hundred high schools in the US.
We have a very unique combination of beaches, sounds, and coastal rivers which work together to make the area a wonderful playground for boaters, fishermen, kayakers, and people who just love the ocean.
The area continues to grow slowly and attract modern services. While some areas have new shopping centers sitting idle, we have a very nice centrally located modern retail center developing on the western side of Morehead City. It is easily accessible from either the western or eastern areas in the county.
On top of the national stores coming into the area, we continue to have a very healthy market for locally owned businesses especially small restaurants which seem to do well at surviving the seasonal nature of our market.
As the warmth of the February sun starts to be felt, rental statistics are only showing a 5% drop in booking so far this summer. If that trend continues, we will have a good summer, especially compared to those areas which are already seeing a 30-35% drop in summer reservations.
Of course it is a long time to summer, but we are getting ready to move into the festival season. Now that the sun will soon be bringing some serious warmth, we can hope that in the next few months people, fish, and the economy will once again be stirring.
Next weekend is the Chocolate Festival in Morehead City, and coming in the middle of March is the Swansboro Oyster Roast which is a favorite event of mine.
You can keep up with Crystal Coast events by visiting the Crystal Coast Web Village. This is a map of the area and this is an index of posts done about the area where we live in a subdivision called Bluewater Cove. Finally this is a link to my blog on the area which I try to update frequently.
There are still seats in the sun available here on the coast.