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Wilmington is a Great Place to Buy - Right Now

You might wonder if - despite all the mixed housing and economic news - right now is a good time to buy. But do the "facts" back up your instincts? In fact, they do. Here are at least 10 well-document reasons why this is a great time to buy in Wilmington:
  1. Wilmington is ranked in the top ten places to buy now by CNNMoney.
  2. Wilmington's unique history, culture, universities and other amenities make it special.
  3. Wilmington has a great inventory of houses.
  4. Wilmington has great interest rates.
  5. Wilmington is a great place for first-time buyers.
  6. Wilmington is a buyer's market for first and second homes.
  7. Buying in Wilmington beats renting, now or anytime.
  8. Wilmington is a great place to retire.
  9. Wilmington is a great place to get a job or do business.
  10. The Wilmington and North Carolina economy is strong.

Top 10 Reasons: It's a Great time to Buy Now in Wilmington

Despite all the negative media stories, there's new evidence that the housing market, especially in Wilmington, is strong and healthy. The Wilmington StarNews documents the fact that the Wilmington market has stayed strong. The National Association of REALTOR®s (NAR) projects improvement in existing home sales in the coming months, especially as buyers take advantage of the housing stimulus bill. And here are 10 great reasons buyers should buy in Wilmington right now

1. Wilmington is ranked in the top 10 places to buy now by CNNMoney.

  • For many of us, Wilmington has it all – an ideal climate, nearby beaches and golf courses, a historic downtown area, great business environment, top-notch educational facilities, a thriving arts scene – and that means its always a great time to buy a house here. Several years ago, the rest of the world seemed to discover Wilmington, and now the city makes the "top" lists in a variety of different categories.

  • CNNMoney raves about Wilmington in its "Top 10 cities: Where to Buy Now" rankings.
    "Nestled between the Cape Fear River and North Carolina's Inner Bank beaches, Wilmington has great golf, mild weather, natural beauty, and a relatively cheap cost of living, all of which make it popular with both permanent residents and second-home vacationers. As the only city of any significant size on the North Carolina coast, Wilmington may be just at the beginning of its boom. It has a seaport, an international airport, and a UNC campus. But it has also maintained its "historic" ambience, bringing it another revenue stream: Hollywood has filmed 180 features here during the past two decades," the magazine said.

2. Wilmington's unique history, culture, universities and other amenities make it special.

Wilmington also makes the “best of” lists in numerous other categories, including:
  • One of 12 Distinctive Destinations - National Trust for Historic Preservation – The National Trust singles out Wilmington as an historic port city rich in grand old mansions, riverboats, historic museums, battleships, splendid gardens and Civil War sites. "Wilmington is a rare breed among travel destinations," said Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. "The city’s charm exudes from every corner and it is, by far, one of the most historically interesting and culturally diverse places along the eastern seaboard. A visit to this community is memorable and not one soon forgotten."
  • 10 Best Places to Make A Movie – MovieMaker Magazine says Wilmington is the # 6 best places to make a movie. “Editors looked at quality and quantity as it relates to the local talent pool, production facilities, educational opportunities, networking events, film festivals and screening venues carried a lot of weight. Other criteria included enthusiasm, financial incentives, innovation and even how the city protects the environment and keeps energy prices low played a part,” according to a StarNews article. MovieMaker also says Wilmington is giving Hollywood a run for its money as both a place to make movies, and as a place to attend a filmmaking festival.
  • 10 Best Places to Live and Golf – Golf Digest considers Wilmington in the top ten on its “golfability” list. Wilmington ranked number 8 based on access to golf courses, weather, quality of golf and value.
  • 10 best Southern graduate schools – For the tenth consecutive year, the University of North Carolina Wilmington is one of the top 10 public master's universities in the South in the annual college rankings by U.S.News & World Report. UNCW ranks sixth in the 2008 edition.
  • 10 best NC Universities – Among public universities in North Carolina, UNCW is one of the top three "Best Values," according toKiplinger's 2006 rankings, which ranks us 32nd nationally for in-state students and 48th nationally for out-of-state students. Kiplinger's said the top schools "are noteworthy for their combination of top-flight academics and affordable costs." UNC has also made the Princeton Review’s list of best colleges in the Southeast for the past five years.
  • 100 Best Retirement Towns – Where to Retire Magazine named Wilmington one of the 100 best retirement towns in the country
  • Top 100 Places to Relocate – The website RelocateAmerica lists Wilmington in its top 100 places to relocate. “If you are looking for a place with warm temperatures, casual lifestyles and a touch of the "new south charm", Wilmington will be the place for you. You will love the historic feel, and find the city to be an exciting place to visit, and an even better place to relocate.”
  • 100 Best Small Art Towns – Wilmington is listed in John Villani’s book The 100 Best Art Towns in America.
  • Best BeachesFrommer’s Travel Guide lists Wrightsville Beach one of the two best in North Carolina. “It's the widest beach on the Cape Fear coast: Wrightsville's beige sands stretch for a mile along the oceanfront, set against a backdrop of thick vegetation.”

3. Wilmington has a great inventory of houses.

  • The number of houses on the market has never been higher, and that means buyers have a better chance of finding exactly the home they’ve been dreaming about.

4. Wilmington has favorable interest rates.

  • For buyers who qualify, mortgage rates are close to 40-year lows according to the National Association of REALTOR®S. The average 30-year fixed rate mortgage rate, currently at 6.4 percent, is more than an entire percentage point below 2000 levels. These historically low interest rates allow a substantially larger population of Americans to own their own homes.
  • For example, with a $250,000 mortgage, a rise in interest rates from 6.5 percent to 7.5 percent means an additional $2000 in annual payments. This may boost currently available homes out of financial reach for potential buyers, so buying at today’s low rates makes sense.

5. Wilmington is a great place for first-time buyers.

  • The Economic Stimulus Act of 2008 has raised the 2008 FHA loan limits to 125 percent of the area’s median home sales price (not to exceed $729,750). Among key provisions, now more Americans will have the benefit of FHA mortgage insurance.
  • ince the HUD median price in 2008 for Wilmington is $243,000, the proposed family FHA loan limit here is $279,450. According to NAR research, the increased conforming loan limit will result in more than 300,000 additional home sales and strengthen current home prices by 2 to 3 percent.
  • While many real estate experts urge caution in many housing markets, MSN Real Estate says some markets – including North Carolina, Texas and Utah – are three of the best places for first-time buyers right now.

6. Wilmington is a buyer’s market for first and second homes.

  • Home prices will not go lower – that’s the prediction from the National Association of REALTOR®s.
  • Sellers are a little more willing to negotiate right now.
  • In a buyer’s market, would-be owners can often get more house for their money.
  • North Carolina continues to attract diverse international new residents, many of whom need rental housing, second homes and commercial property in Wilmington.

7. Buying in Wilmington beats renting, now or anytime.

  • As the NAR reminds us, real estate remains the best investment available.
  • Over the past 30 years the median price of existing homes has increased an average of more than 6 percent every year, and home values nearly double every 10 years, a NAR campaign says.
  • A Federal Reserve study shows the average homeowner’s net worth is 46 times the net worth of the average renter.
  • According to a 2007 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, first-time home buyers made a median down payment of 2 percent, while repeat buyers who financed their purchase put 16 percent down, indicating the wealth-building effect of home ownership.
  • Home prices in Wilmington rose by 3.6 percent in 2007, proving that buying is still a great investment.

8. Wilmington is a great place to retire.

  • Where to Retire Magazine named Wilmington one of the 100 best retirement towns in the country.
  • Our coast's mild climate, relatively low cost of living and resort-type atmosphere have long attracted retirees.
  • The latest data estimates that 22,893 older adults (60+) relocated to North Carolina from other states and abroad in just one year between 2004 and 2005.

9. Wilmington is a great place to get a job or do business.

  • Inc.com named Wilmington as one of the best cities for doing business, citing the presence of higher education institutions, a healthy economy, proximity to a large metropolitan area, a beautiful setting, a in-movement of skilled workers and entrepreneurs and affordability. Wilmington came in number 35 in 2007, and also made the list of best small places to do business in 2006 and 2007, as well as the overall list of best places to do business in both years.
  • Wilmington was rated #2 in the nation for job creation and retention in a report by the Milken Institute, an economic think tank. In Wilmington, "port-related activity contributed to growth in other sectors, such as business services and construction," the report said.
  • The Greater Wilmington Chamber of Commerce’s Cape Fear Future initiative is developing the region’s knowledge sector and promoting economic development to ensure the future prosperity of the region.

10. The Wilmington and North Carolina economy is strong.

  • The state of North Carolina is expected to grow over the next decade, with much of the growth coming from people moving into the state.
  • Wilmington grew in population by 62 percent between 1990 and 2000, and the surrounding counties grew as well. The city mirrors the state’s increase in growth based on an influx of working age and retired adults.
  • Wilmington experienced staggering growth in the 1990s, ranking at one point as the second fastest growing city in the country, behind only Las Vegas. Economists have forecasted growth in the Greater Wilmington area to be the strongest in the state between 2004-2010, averaging 7 percent. Policom, an independent economic research firm that specializes in analyzing local and state economies, has ranked Wilmington as the 41st strongest economy in the United States, and delivered an "A" rating for economic outlook.
  • A senior economist at Wachovia tells BusinessNC the state is clearly doing better than the rest of the nation. “We’re adding jobs at a 1.5% annual rate. The unemployment rate is roughly even with the nation’s, but our labor force is growing about twice as fast. We’re continuing to see an increasing number of large capital-investment projects.” And there’s a chance North Carolina will continue to outperform the rest of the nation. “North Carolina has seen very strong population growth. Part of that is a diversion of traffic from Florida. Many who would have moved to Florida are moving to North Carolina. Many Floridians are moving to North Carolina. The surge in population is fueling demand for business and professional services and is helping absorb any slack there was in the housing market.”
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