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Fall Vacation Rentals and Rising Cost of Real Estate by Mike Harrington

What we know is that the pandemic has created many “converts” out of guests that would previously have never considered a vacation rental. Because there are many advantages of having a complete living space, whether condo or cottage, that includes a living room and full kitchen, these converts are here to stay. Particularly given the fact that prices are comparable, and oftentimes less, than traditional hotel rooms or resorts. Vacation rentals are a great value for the savvy guest.

Here’s an insider’s secret for those guests with more flexibility in their vacation schedule. We locals LOVE the fall on the Carolina coast. The skies are a brilliant, and normally cloudless, shade of blue. The sun is warm and languid while no longer scorching. The water stays warm through late fall, the perfect temperature for swimming. The sand feels wonderful beneath your feet instead of burning them. And last, but definitely not least, the summer crowds are gone. You can easily get into your favorite restaurant without waiting. If you can visit in the fall, do it. You’ll be hooked. And best of all, rates go down!

Rising Real Estate Costs
For owners and investors, we’ve got a good news/bad news scenario.
The good news is that if you already own a home on Topsail Island, it has likely increased exponentially in value. Rapidly increasing property values, coupled with nearly record-low inventory means homeowners who do decide to sell can probably expect almost instantaneous multiple offers and an above asking price sale.

According to RocketHomes.com, the average price of a 1BR unit increased a whopping 80% between April 2021 and April 2022. Two bedrooms increased 36%, three bedrooms 28%, and 4 bedrooms + increased by mid-20s%. That’s just mindboggling.

The bad news is the same as the good news, just from the perspective of an investor rather than an existing owner. There are currently less than 10 properties available on Topsail and some are not suitable for rentals. If you factor in multiple offers, some 5 figures above list price, and deferred maintenance, and you’ve got a daunting situation. There are simply no “deals” to be had on Topsail as of this writing.

The past couple of years have seen changes across the board that no one could have ever predicted. There have been major fluctuations in the real estate market in my little corner of the Carolina coast, but I hope that doesn’t discourage you from either visiting us or investing in your own piece of property here. It may take some time, patience and ingenuity, but I believe that both good fortune and good times are waiting for us all.

Carolina Retreats properties are in destinations that offer many unique experiences. If you would like to learn more about Carolina Retreats’ vacation and short-term rental management program email us at [email protected] or call (844) 567-9779.


Mike Harrington is the CEO & Owner of Carolina Retreats, a specialty lodging and vacation rental management firm serving more than 300 vacation property owners throughout the Cape Fear region. Before founding Carolina Retreats in 2015, Mike spent 10 years on the Outer Banks as CEO and General Manager of Resort Realty, a high end real estate sales and vacation rental company with 600 properties under management, five offices, and more than 100 full-time employees and real estate agents. Mike is a Past-President and Board Member of the Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (VRMA), the largest international trade association for the vacation rental industry, as well as Past-President for the North Carolina Vacation Rental Manager’s Association (NCVRMA). He is frequently asked to speak at seminars and trade conferences on the latest vacation rental management trends in marketing, operations, and strategy. Mike holds an MBA from East Carolina University, as well as a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and serves as an Advisory Board member for East Carolina’s School of Hospitality Leadership.

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