Real Estate - Residential

$10M Here, $10.7M There: Area's Luxury Home Market Reaches New Price Heights

By Cece Nunn, posted May 18, 2023
The Wrightsville Beach home at 1 Auditorium Circle sold last week for $10 million. (Photo by Michael Blevins/Courtesy of Landmark Sotheby's International Realty)
In Wrightsville Beach, the steel, wood and concrete custom home at 1 Auditorium Circle sold last week for $10 million.

The house, off Causeway Drive on Harbor Island between the Intracoastal Waterway and the Atlantic Ocean, has made headlines with its unique design and fluctuating listing price, which at one point reached $16.4 million.

But an even bigger luxury home sale took place in March, on a road leading to Eagle Point Golf Club, when the buyers paid $10.7 million for the house at 8516 Bald Eagle Lane (pictured below in photo by Just For Buyers Realty). That's the highest price anyone has paid for a home in New Hanover County, according to property tax and N.C. Regional Multiple Listing Service records.

Could these sales signal a new eight-digit era for the high-end home market here?

"It's all about inventory," said Vance Young, a real estate broker at Wilmington-based Intracoastal Realty Corp. who specializes in luxury properties. "There's so little inventory, and even though the demand side has fallen pretty significantly from what it was during COVID, there's more demand than supply; it is continuing to push prices or at least hold the gains that we've had over the past few years and in some cases, we've seen higher prices like the one on Bald Eagle."

Young said he thinks that the $10.7 million sale, although he was not involved in it, might in part be attributed to its proximity to Eagle Point Golf Club at 8131 Bald Eagle Lane.

With a course designed by a renowned course designer Tom Fazio, Eagle Point hosted the Wells Fargo Championship golf tournament in 2017, the first PGA Tour event in Wilmington in nearly five decades.

"That whole stretch of Bald Eagle has become very sought-after," Young said. "The Eagle Point membership is really bringing some significant moneyed players [in the general sense of the word] into our area, and they are not only looking at Figure Eight but also Bald Eagle." 

Max Smith of Wilmington-based Cadence Realty represented the buyer, which was a limited liability company registered to Raleigh attorneys, in the Bald Eagle Lane transaction. The seller was a trust. Smith declined to comment on the deal or buyer on Thursday. 

The 8516 Bald Eagle Lane estate overlooks the Intracoastal Waterway, according to a blog post by Wilmington-based Just For Buyers Realty, which first reported the record-breaking sale and monitors the region's luxury market.

"It measures more than 9,100 square feet with six bedrooms, seven full bathrooms and three half-baths," the blog post stated. "The home was listed by a non-member agent, which means the seller was a real estate agent who is not part of the [Cape Fear Realtors]."

The previous record, the post points out, was set in May 2022 when a property on Figure Eight Island closed for $10 million, a price now tied for the No. 2 highest-price spot with 1 Auditorium Circle at Wrightsville Beach. UNC head football coach Mack Brown and his wife, Sally, were the buyers of that $10 million Figure Eight home last year.

The Wrightsville Beach property at 1 Auditorium Circle was purchased by Roger A. Jeffs and Lisa K. Jeffs and their living trusts, according to the deed. The 8,600-square-foot house was listed by Wilmington-based Landmark Sotheby's International Realty and had been set to go up for auction in December before it was withdrawn from the auction but still listed for sale.

One of the previous owners of 1 Auditorium Circle, Chris Parker, who is founder and principal engineer of the Parker Group, has said the house was built in 2019 to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, incorporating 170 tons of steel and 167 concrete bridge pilings.

The four-bedroom house, which has four full and two half-bathrooms, was designed by Parker and the late Wilmington architect Michael Kersting.

In an emailed statement, listing agents Nick Phillips and Sam Crittenden said Thursday 1 Auditorium Circle "is the most extraordinary design and build we have ever worked with during our careers as brokers. We were honored to have represented both parties in the transaction. Out of respect for the privacy of the buyers and sellers, we do not have any further comments at this time."

Listings of homes priced at $1 million or more declined in the Cape Fear region in April, according to a Just For Buyers luxury market report released this month.

"In all, a total of 42 luxury homes, with a price tag of $1 million or more, sold during the month for a total value of $61.5 million," the Just For Buyers report, compiled from the N.C. Regional MLS, stated. "Those numbers are far below what was recorded in April of 2022 when 65 homes sold for just under $100 million."

Scott Saxton of Just For Buyers Realty said in the post that it's important to put the numbers in perspective.

“It would be a huge mistake to assume that just because April was off that the rest of the spring and summer will also be off,” he said. “Certainly, this is part of a slowdown that we’ve seen for the last couple of months, but as more people come to the region to enjoy the beaches, it will spark in them a desire to move here. No matter what is going on with the market, the Cape Fear region remains a place that people dream about.”
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