Real Estate Q&A with Ea Ruth 2022 President, Cape Fear Realtors®
Meet Ea Ruth who says there are more than 3,500 members at Cape Fear Realtors®, which is a 29% growth from December 31, 2019.
How did 2021 compare to 2020?
The real estate market has been nothing but hot! Other area agents also report that 2021 was an outstanding and somewhat frenzied year for home sales, with some indicators in record-setting territory. The median price of a home ended at $325,000, which continued to increase by 14% over the previous record in 2020 of $285,000 (which was 11.1% over 2019). We have had a steady increase in home values since 2014, which was 8.2% over 2013.
The Cape Fear Realtors end-of-year report compared the following December 2021 numbers with those of December 2020 (shown in parentheses):
• Closed sales: 1,160 (1,309)
• Pending sales: 851 (934)
• New listings: 726 (905)
• Days on the market: 33 (65)
• Median sales price: $325,000 ($285,000)
• Months’ supply of inventory: 0.8 (1.8)
Record-low interest rates and increasing home values across the country have allowed us in North Carolina and especially our coastal region to enjoy significant growth from people relocating to enjoy our lifestyle of Southern charm, waterways, beaches, fishing, boating, a wealth of historical architecture and history dating back to the 18th century as well as a city life filled with entertainment, restaurants and shopping.
What do you foresee for 2022?
More of the same. We had a little lull the first week of January 2022, but we are now experiencing an increase in contracts with an average of less than 30 days on the market. When the supply of homes is low and demand is high, this would be considered a seller’s market. Housing demand and a strong economy have driven prices up.
Low interest rates have kept the demand high as borrowing encourages buyers to take out home loans; however, with the high demand to purchase we have seen an increase in cash purchases in the area, which has also increased the competitive nature of buying a home and made for multiple offer situations. Interest rates are “anticipated” to rise to just under 4%, which for some buyers may be out of reach, so we may see a slight number of buyers drop-off in the low to moderate income bracket; however, these rates are still historically low and attractive to a majority of buyers and investors that are in the market to purchase in 2022.
How many members are part of your organization? Has your organization seen growth this past year?
We currently have more than 3,500 members at Cape Fear Realtors®, which is a 29% growth from December 31, 2019, when members were around 2,700. We continue to see an influx of new members each month. It is an exciting yet challenging time to be in real estate due to the significant demand in home buying and selling that can create an emotional roller coaster for our clients.
What are the benefits of being a part of your organization in your opinion?
As one of the largest trade organizations, being a member of Cape Fear Realtors® offers us a platform for professional development with an emphasis on our Code of Ethics by which we conduct ourselves with integrity and honor, a steady flow of news, educational classes and information to keep us informed and advocacy efforts to promote the right to own, transfer and use real property and promote housing affordability. The impact that our local Association of Realtors® has on home ownership is immense and covers a broad area of expertise from the basic buying and selling of residential real estate, builder and developer involvement of the ever-changing landscape within planning and zoning, volunteerism in our communities as well as the legislative activities to secure basic home ownership rights make up who we are and where we can go as an organization.
How has COVID affected business this year?
Our industry has had record high sales, and we were deemed “essential” at the onset of the pandemic, which allowed us to continue to assist buyers and sellers with their real estate needs. Wilmington and the surrounding counties are experiencing lateral moves locally as buyers move up or down in home size and location depending on their personal life changes as well as out of state buyers who want a higher quality of life from the larger cities and pressing demands. COVID-19 was the impetus for many people to explore their options, and I do believe that trend will continue at least through 2022. In 2021 the home functioned in a way that hadn’t been needed previously, such as home office, gym, school, restaurant, etc., leading buyers to look for homes that had additional rooms that suited the whole family and more outdoor space as families spent time in the home together. Technology is also becoming much more attractive with smart home devices and touch-less/voice-activated options.
Any other thoughts/comments you want to share?
As a diverse female and the president of Cape Fear Realtor® for 2022, a portion of the responsibility will be celebrating our amazing organization’s 100th birthday. Wilmington and the surrounding communities in the Cape Fear region have witnessed significant growth and changes since 1922, when the association was founded, and I am very honored and humbled to be the 100th president. Being tasked with kicking off the next 100 years is a huge responsibility, one that I take extremely seriously. My goal as president is to showcase how far we have come as an association and pave the way for future leaders that are as diverse as our wonderful community. Of course, any efforts to promote diversity and inclusion are not sustainable without equity. With that in mind, I will be focusing on providing fair opportunities for all people, to help ensure they can attain their full potential to the best of my ability.