The August real estate numbers for the Outer Banks are in and there seems to be a consistent trend toward improvement. It’s certainly not time to break out the Champagne, or even the beer, but the numbers are showing a very gradual–slow–improvement in the marketplace.

It’s certainly a good news bad news scenario, depending on where you are in the marketplace. The Outer Banks market continues to be very much a buyer’s market with downward pressures continuing to depress prices. Yet what is most striking about these numbers is the steady, if unspectacular, increase in overall real estate transactions over the past three years. Coupled with inventories that have consistently declined from their high in the summer of 2008, the trend seems to indicate that the market is coming back to sanity.

“The outline of August residential sales leads to the conclusion that with the downward movement over the last three years of residential inventory, we are headed in the right direction,” Roy Singletary, Broker, Sales Manager for Resort Realty, says. “There is still an abundance of inventory that needs to be moved before a normal market can be established. The same is true for the numbers of sales we have had for the last three years. There is a slight increase in the number of sales. With less inventory and the same or higher number of sales equates to an upward market.”

Those numbers do come with a cautionary note, though. Singletary point out that a disproportionate number of sales and potential sales continue to be foreclosed propertiesand short sales. “Distressed property sales–bank owned and potential short sale–comprised 40% of all residential sales in 2011,” he says. “The Outer Banks market will not return to normal until we get through that backlog.”

The Outer Banks market is not a monolith; there are areas that seem to have maintained property values remarkably well over the past three years, and in other areas values have declined out of proportion to the rest of the Outer Banks.

Southern Shores north through Duck and Corolla seem to have maintained their median sales values very well over the past four years. That, of course, is only part of the story, since the median price of the properties sold does not tell us what the original purchase price was. It does, however, show that property values in those areas have stabilized.

The primary residential areas of the Outer Banks continue to see the largest declines in the median price of homes sold. This is particularly true on the Currituck Mainland, Kitty Hawk and Colington.

There are a number of factors that contribute to the variation in performance in each area and the fluctuation in price. As an example, the Outer Banks continues to show remarkable strength in the number of visitors who come here–and that strength is reflected in the price of homes in areas where the majority of properties are rental properties.

That is only one factor in what  has become one of the most complicated markets we have ever seen. There is tremendous opportunity–but that does come with a cautionary note. Knowledge of this market is a must, and that’s where we come in. Give us a call, and let’s work together to find a property that is right for you.

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