A combination of a military relocations, a nationwide trend in low inventory and an uptick in those seeking refuge from big cities means those moving to Moore County are finding their housing choices are limited. Delays caused by social distancing restrictions, that initially slowed the market, could lead to even more demand in the next few months.
“The market is steady right now, overall,” Kristi Snyder, board president of the MidCarolina Regional Association of Realtors and the owner of Everything Pines Partners Real Estate, told The Pilot. “But it is not a strong market because of the low inventory. That means one side is stressed and the other side is not.”
The stress is prompting buyers to take somewhat drastic steps, with many purchasing homes sight-unseen.
“Since this is a big military area, we still have people waiting in the wings to buy homes because they have orders to move here,” says Pat Phillips of Rhodes and Co.
Jamie McDevitt, who specializes in equestrian properties and homes that come with acreage, says people are looking for homes that will allow them to keep a little distance from their neighbors.
“I’ve been selling real estate here for 24 years, and I’ve seen a lot of ups and downs,” says Jamie, who owns McDevitt Town and County Properties. “What’s happening here now is just like what happened after 9/11. People want out of the big cities. They want space.”
One recent phone call was from a New York City man who wanted to place an offer on a home, sight-unseen, but it was already under contract. A new client of Jamie’s is moving from a suburb of Chicago, where restrictions related from COVID-19 proved to be the last straw — she’ll be boarding her horse on Youngs Road and moving into one of the Cottages on May.
The market has also made Jamie rethink her marketing strategies. She now plans to do video walk-throughs of all her listings; a tactic she says also makes it easier for buyers to decide how serious they are about a home before a seller endures the stress of a showing or open house.
Angela Thompson with Angela Thompson Group, part of the Keller Williams Realty Pinehurst Market Center, is a Moore County native and was named Best Real Estate Agent in the 2019 Best of the Pines. Most of her team’s clientele are military families moving to the area.
“We had been shifting to a seller’s market before. Now, we are very much in a seller’s market completely,” Angela told The Pilot. “Buyers are having to act really fast. Gone are the days of being able to say, “let me sleep on it.”