Thursday, April 9, 2015

April Newsletter Stats

2015 YTD St. James Market Stats

  • Average Single Family Home List Price: $399,829
  • Average Single Family Home Sale Price: $358,711
  • Average Single Family Home Days on Market: 170
  • Average Lot List Price: $116,075
  • Average Lot Sale Price: $92,107
  • Average Lot Days on Market: 107
Stats Shown are Jan. 1 - Mar. 31 2015

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobileEmail Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate St. James Plantation

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Bald Head Island groups host forum on offshore energy production

Although a majority of North Carolinians appear to support offshore drilling for oil and natural gas, they don’t live on the coast next to the 200-mile planning area, a university lecturer told a group of about 50 people at Bald Head Island on Monday.
Roger Shew, who has more than two decades of experience in the petroleum industry, outlined the pros and cons of drilling at a forum sponsored by Bald Head Association and Bald Head Island Conservancy. He said an Elon University poll found 66-percent of residents supported drilling, while a Harris poll put support at 71-percent.
“Coal is still the biggest source of North Carolina energy,” he said, and it is the worst for the environment. About 9.5-percent of North Carolina’s energy comes from renewable resources. State law mandates that 12.5-percent of energy come from renewable sources by 2021. Shew called that a “meager goal.”
Drilling would be restricted within 50 miles of the coast. Shew said even if rigs are built off the North Carolina coast, residents shouldn’t expect to see a lot of economic development.
“The Gulf (of Mexico) has all the infrastructure; there is none here,” Shew said. “Norfolk (Virginia) and Charleston (South Carolina) will see the most activity. We don’t have the deep water port with infrastructure.”
Eight companies currently want to survey off the North Carolina coast, he said. The best spots are 35 to 45 miles offshore along the slope of the Continental Shelf, he said. Under current rules, drilling could not happen before 2021 and it would be 2026 before production wells would be operational, he said.
He estimated there is the equivalent of five-billion barrels of oil in the North Carolina area under consideration.
Seismic testing will cause “incidental harassment” of marine mammals but will not injure or kill thousands, as some have claimed, Shew said.
The University of North Carolina at Wilmington lecturer took a moment to contrast drilling rigs with wind turbines.
A wind-energy turbine “would not bother me if it was next door,” Shew said, adding that they would visible perhaps 30-percent of the time at proposed locations. Some folks don’t want to see them at all, he acknowledged.
The state is asking that wind turbines be at least 24 miles offshore—a request that would effectively eliminate them from two proposed areas off Brunswick County.
Shew said large, modern turbines spin slowly and are designed to deter birds. There’s been no indication that they have caused harm in Europe, where they are widely used. “I actually think it would be a tourist attraction,” Shew said.

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobileEmail Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate St. James Plantation

Friday, April 3, 2015

These tiny homes are full of big ideas

When you're living in less than 200 square feet, every inch counts.

But small square footage doesn't have to mean missing out on comforts typical of larger homes, like storage and guest space. You just just have to be a little more creative.

"If you don't have a good design with a tiny home, it's not going to be possible," said Ryan Mitchell, who writes The Tiny Life and lives in a 150-square foot home. "They have to be well-designed and customized to the person living in them."
Tiny homes, which are often described as 400 square feet or less, have become a popular housing option for people looking to downsize -- whether it's their budgets, belongings or both.
Here are some cool space-saving features found in some tiny homes:
Storage everywhere, but you can't always see it
Tiny homes often have a lofted bedroom and the stairs to the space can serve double duty.
Annelise Hagedorn, co-founder of tiny home builder Brevard Tiny House, has built staircases into homes where each step pulls out as a drawer. She's also built stairs that hide a hot water heater.
Underfloor storage is also common. "We've done underfloor storage for the entire living space," said Hagedorn, whose company launched in 2014 and has completed three tiny homes and has two more in the works. The storage can be about a foot or deeper and the handles to open the space can be covered with rugs or furniture.
The space between ceiling rafters can be used for storage, and even the kick plates at the bottom of kitchen cabinets can pull double duty. "Where your feet scoot under the cabinets, that is wasted space," said Mitchell, "They turn that [space] into a drawer."
Fold down porchse
Alex Gore, co-founder of tiny home builder Atlas, is getting ready to start construction on a 196-square foot portable tiny house, and the design takes the concept of "bringing the outdoors in" to a new level.
One of the home's walls will be glass and include a sliding door. The glass wall will be covered by an outside wall that folds down. The bottom part of the wall folds down into a patio for the home, while the top part of the wall can be propped up with motors to create an awning to the patio.
Pull-out dining space
The concept of a Murphy wall bed isn't constrained to the bedroom.
Hagedorn created a home where part of a wall that divides the kitchen and living area slides to create a private space if guests are staying over, but it also has a hidden table that folds out from the wall and seats four.
Only the part of the wall with the fold-down table moves.
Gore and his team's kitchen design also includes a pop-up window bar. "You can open it and there will be a piece of wood that slides and hooks into the window." 

Original CNN Article

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobileEmail Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate St. James Plantation

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Vacation home sales exploded last year

From CNN Real Estate:

More Americans may be looking to get away as vacation home sales jumped last year.

Vacation home purchases made up 21% of all home sales last year at an estimated 1.13 million, the highest level since 2003 and a 57% increase from 2013, according to a report from the National Association of Realtors.
The stock market's strong performance and gains in the labor market are creating more confidence among buyers, according to Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "The top 10% of families are feeling much more financially confident."
The typical second-home buyer had a median household income of $94,380, 58% had two income earners and 48% financed less than 70% of the purchase price, according to NAR.
A beach location was the most popular among vacation buyers, and 54% of properties were single-family homes.
The survey included close to 2,000 adults who made a residential purchase last year, not including institutional investment sales.
Tight inventory levels continue to plague many housing markets and push prices of primary residences up. However, the median price for vacation home buyers came in at $150,000 last year, an 11% decrease from 2013. Distressed properties made up 45% of vacation home sales last year, the NAR reported.
"People looked at long-term opportunities and grabbed low bargain prices," Yun said.
He added that popular vacation home areas, like the beach and mountains, tend to have a slower economic recovery pace.
As more buyers scooped up vacation homes, the share of first-time and investment buyers declined in 2014. Investment home sales dropped 7.4% last year.
Generally, investment and vacation purchases tend to move in the same direction, Yun explained, but the recent rebound in home appreciation has priced out many investment buyers, particularly institutional ones as their main goal tends to be rental income.
A third of second-home buyers plan to use their purchase for vacation, and 46% of the homes were located in the South.
Baby boomers on the cusp of retirement are also playing a role in the sales surge, according to Yun, with 19% of all vacation home buyers planning to eventually make their second home their primary residence.
"If they have the financial capacity to buy a vacation house today, once they officially retire in three to five years, they will turn that home into their primary residence."

Ken Keegan Real Estate Broker
(910) 523-0903 mobileEmail Click here for more information on Brunswick, County Real Estate St. James Plantation