Carolina Beach, NC Market Update


Carolina Beach is located at the southern end of New Hanover County on Pleasure Island. Pleasure Island consists of Kure Beach and Carolina Beach, and in total is about 9 miles long.


The northern portion of the island is Freeman Park, which is an undeveloped strand of beach and marshland.


The southern portion of the island is Ft Fisher State Park. This is a large protected area with a small museum, the Ft Fisher Aquarium, and the Ft Fisher / Southport Ferry. The rest is all natural with stunning beaches and walking trails. Did you know there used to be two lighthouses, and a  runway in Ft Fisher?


Carolina Beach became a very popular destination in the late 90’s as Wrightsville Beach began to become very expensive. Some now like Carolina & Kure Beach more as it offers an abundance of outdoor activities, and places to enjoy them.


The Carolina Beach State Park is one of them. This is a 1,000 acre park with trails, hiking bird watching, camping and a marina.


Downtown Carolina Beach has a quaint small town feel. There are about a dozen restaurants, several bars and shopping. There is also the boardwalk which brings a nostalgic component to the town. And of course Britt’s Donuts.


The town also has a dog park, ball fields and a skate park. Surfing and kayaking are also popular activities. The town has a marina and a fleet of commercial fishing boats for charter!


As a blossoming town, Carolina Beach was susceptible to the real estate craze that hit in the early 2000’s.


Prior to the real estate boom, interior home sites on the island costs on average around $50,000. These ran up to $300,000+ during the boom, and have since fallen back down considerable.


Oceanfront lots, before the boom, were priced between $300,000 and $400,000. At the peak lots SOLD for $1,000,000+.


Carolina Beach saw its fair share of speculation and real estate investors, so the pricing curve shot up quickly. At times, homes in Carolina Beach and home sites were on the market for a matter of hours, and often multiple offers were received. It was as frenzy.


For example, in 2004 there were 908 properties that SOLD on the island (in Carolina and Kure Beach), in 2005 this number dropped to 890. In 2006 this number dropped dramatically to 329, which is a decrease of 63%.


In 2008 Pleasure Island hits its low with only 269 properties to have SOLD.


Since 2008, we have seen an increase in the number of sales, and in 2011 we are on track to see a total back near 400.


Carolina Beach is also seeing a decline in inventory. In 2006, the number of homes listed swelled near 800. Today, it’s about ½ that number.


The real estate market is far from being normal, but with the attractive prices and low interest rates, there are active buyers purchasing homes in Carolina & Kure Beach. They are purchasing primary homes, second homes and investment property.