Outer Banks 2012 in Review

2012 has been a good year on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. New home construction is definitely on the rebound, OBX real estate sales are picking up and visitation has remained strong–even taking into consideration Hurricane Sandy throwing a monkey wrench into late 2012 season visitation.

Hatteras Island has not had it quite as easy as the rest of us. There are ongoing problems with keeping Hatteras Island connected with the rest of the world. Highway 12, just north of Rodanthe, seems to get washed out in just about any storm of significant size. There are a number of solutions on the drawing board . . . none of them quick, none of them easy, all of them very expensive.

Hurricane Sandy certainly threw the OBX for a loop. All things considered, the Outer Banks fared far better than our neighbors to the north, but there was damage and some flooding. Aside from Hatteras Island, Kitty Hawk, NC was especially hard hit–so much so that for the first time the town council is considering beach nourishment. In Nags Head we learned that beach nourishment efforts worked as advertised.  It’s still too early to know what the long term effects will be, but the damage from Sandy was a fraction of the damage from Hurricane Isabel (the last storm of this magnitude to impact the Outer Banks); damage to homes and businesses was minor and cleanup was mostly pushing sand back to the beach.

The Outer Banks positives of 2012 far outstripped the negatives. Our summer was stronger than ever . . . lots of visitors with great weather. OK–it got really hot for a couple of weeks in July, but that best the question, “Where would you rather be in stifling heat? At home or at the beach on the OBX?”

The shoulder seasons (fall and spring) continue to get stronger and stronger. We learned that the draw of the Outer Banks is so strong that even in the shoulder season we can put on two major events (the Outer Banks Bluegrass Festival and Duck Jazz Festival) and have both events playing to capacity crowds. The Outer Banks Marathon was more successful than ever. By adding events in addition to the marathon and half marathon to broaden the appeal (Veteran’s Day weekend), entire families are coming to enjoy a few days of fitness. The Outer Banks Seafood Festival exceeded everyone’s expectations. With over 6,000 in attendance, it was an amazing day and a wonderful celebration of the heritage of the Outer Banks.

Not surprising, although certainly gratifying–reports that the Outer Banks is the number two wedding destination in the United States are great to hear as well. It’s no wonder–breathtaking scenery, professionals who know and understand the needs of the bride and groom, and a location within a day’s drive of the major metropolitan areas of the east coast, all create an ideal setting for a wedding.The Wedding Expo is coming up January 19-20 (www.outerbanksweddingassoc.org).

From all of us here at Resort Realty, may the coming year be even better than 2012 and may it be filled with the joy of life and contentment of family.