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NC - Is the OBX housing boom cause for concern?

As home sales continue at unprecedented rates and housing inventories fall, the Outer Banks may be entering uncharted territory.

According to the Outer Banks Association of Realtors, every community on the Outer Banks (with the exception of Colington and Ocracoke) saw double-digit gains over 2019 in the number of properties sold – with some of these transactions removing rental properties from the market as new owners move in themselves.

Property management companies always lose some homes from their inventory for a number of reasons, but the trend is particularly pronounced this year. The bigger question is whether this boom portends a significant and long-term decrease in rental properties and what the implications could be for the financial health of the area’s public and private sectors.

Among those who can attest to the current shift from rental to owner-occupied housing are contractors. “The majority of my work right now is not building rental homes or remodeling a rental home for the next season or building a rental home for the next season,” Paul Henriques, President of Premier Contracting, said. “It’s for people who are moving here. They’re wanting to convert rentals to move here and live here.”

What no one can say with certainty is whether the trend of the past year will continue into the future.

Lee Nettles, Executive Director of the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau (OBVB), sees the pattern as part of a natural cycle in the local housing market. “I’m not as concerned about the ebb and flow on the inventory,” he said. “I’m not sounding an alarm with some of the shifts in inventory that we’re seeing.”

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