Your new neighbor may be a familiar face in town these days with plenty of local home sales going to local buyers. Whether folks are looking for bigger spaces or tighter quarters, it’s not just new residents snapping up Moore County real estate.
“People are moving from one home to another in this area because they believe their lifestyle is best accommodated here,” said Kay Beran, senior managing broker for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Pinehurst Realty Group.
Beran’s clientele are primarily in the upper age ranges, she said, and a quick review of her 20 most recent sales indicated the number one reason for moving was to downsize, followed by age-related concerns or wanting to live closer to family.
“There is a level of comfort they see here,” she said, noting only a handful of her clients actually left the area in the past year.
She offered herself as an example, having recently moved two doors down her block. The difference is she and her husband opted for a larger house.
“I had always admired this home and we love the area. We felt like we won the lottery to buy this beautiful home and stay in our neighborhood,” Beran said.
Kristi Snyder, broker and owner of Everything Pines Partners Real Estate, serves mostly military families and said she’s also seeing lots of lateral moves as her clients become more engaged in the community.
“The trend used to be that people would retire away somewhere. But now we’re seeing a lot of retirees who want to be where their grandchildren are,” Snyder said. “This is a national trend. But multigenerational living can be challenging for military families because they may not be living where they would otherwise choose to live.”
Moore County is lucky to serve a large Special Operations Command community, she explained, where units tend to stay in one place for longer periods. As a result, a lot of her military clients have put down roots and their parents, retirees, are coming here “because the baby lives near Fort Bragg.”
In addition, Snyder said she’s seeing younger soldiers upsizing from their starter home to larger houses with bigger yards as their families grow.
“We do see that transition from a downtown or in-town home to maybe going to the outskirts. But they don’t want to leave Moore County,” she said. “They like what the county has to offer with culture, sports, and community outreach.”
“They have created a lot of that culture together. So the reason they feel so comfortable here is that a lot of that has been created by these military families themselves,” Snyder added.
Hot Price Points
The real estate market for homes in the $200,000-$300,000 range has been particularly strong in Moore County since the completion of the 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) process, which significantly increased the number of personnel stationed at Fort Bragg. New developments have popped up where tobacco once grew, while existing homes that need work are less likely to sell quickly.
According to Mid Carolina Regional Association of Realtors, houses were listed on the market for 157 days in 2018 compared to 169 days the year prior.
Last month, there were 191 closings on single-family homes in the area.
“A lot of people think our market is January to June. But with military moves, you never know when you’re coming,” said Amy Stonesifer, a former Army wife herself and owner/broker of Maison Realty Group in Southern Pines.
“Don’t be afraid to list your house in the fall or winter. I have families that come in December and they can’t find anything. I’ll be out there scrounging for a house to show them,” she said.
Stonesifer said her biggest sale month is March, and that reflects a lot of work during the slower winter months when few homes are listed.
“I see families who bought a small house and now are looking for something larger. I also see people who are becoming empty nesters and they are moving. This is common for any community,” she said.
“It speaks highly of the area we live in when people move to a different house but don’t want to leave,” she said. “They can still have their lunch bunch and their church, but may meet new friends in a new neighborhood.”
Those looking to downsize are looking at smaller homes and for less maintenance.
“They want a nice place. They do not want to move into something they have to do a lot of work on,” Beran said. “It has to be attractive.”
Snyder said many military families have similar concerns about maintenance.
“I think the whole DIY stuff is starting to die off. The trend of finding a foreclosure and flipping it,” she said. “A lot of younger buyers and even older buyers are downsizing and using their resources to get out in the community and belong to something bigger.”
Instead of big houses full of things, Snyder said lighter living and walkability are popular.
“That is what Southern Pines is starting to do very well,” she said. “There is an energy coming through and making this a place where people want to be.”
“Everybody is getting a good price for square footage in Moore County, but Southern Pines is extreme. People like that walkability.”