July was a fantastic month on the Outer Banks. Occupancy hit 100% for most of the month and it was evident with heavy Saturday traffic and crowds abound. The rain took a bit of a hiatus, and we were fortunate enough to enjoy some cooler temperatures for much of the month.
Dare County approved the 1% occupancy tax increase in mid July. The rate will be 6% beginning in January of 2014, which is the same rate as Currituck County. The additional funds will be allocated to beach nourishment and shoreline management projects. The increase is expected to raise over $3.5 million each year.
If your homeowners insurance policy is up for renewal, be advised that rates increases are now in effect. The barrier island portions of Dare, Currituck and Hyde counties will see a 17% increase. Mainland areas will see a 3.4% increase. The rate increase will not apply to you if your rate was increased last year.
The Town of Duck has approved restrictions on oceanfront accessory structures such as pools, gazebos, and dune decks. These structures will now be prohibited within the first 30 feet of the fist line of stable natural vegetation. This will have the largest impact on the eroding areas of shoreline in Duck. Duck is also working on its first pedestrian plan. The goal is to improve the pedestrian experience in Duck with infrastructure improvements. The focus will be on the village center which has the highest pedestrian and bicycle usage. We hope that Corolla is going to follow suite.
In Real Estate news, interest rates have reached a 2 year high. The conforming, 30 year fixed rate is now at 4.5% and may increase a little more in the next 12 months. The year to date sales are still only down slightly compared to 2012. Residential sales are down by 3%, but the current number of under contract properties is only down by 1%, and land contracts are up by 6%. All year we’ve seen the number of distressed properties for sale decrease. At the close of 2012, distressed properties made up 13% of total inventory, and now they make up only 8%. We continue to see signs of market improvement and we are busier showing property to potential buyers than we’ve been in years.
As always please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any real estate related questions or concerns. We always like to hear from you.