Vacation homes are a very niche real estate market in the United States. It’s one of the fastest growing areas of the real estate industry and will continue to grow as more baby boomers retire, and younger entrepreneurs expand their investment holdings and income potential. According to the National Association of Realtors, the number of people who own a vacation home has grown by 25% since 1989, which was when the last in-depth study was conducted. Let’s take a look at how Topsail Island compares to other beachfront real estate markets. 

What’s the current state of the Topsail Island real estate market? 

The median price varies based upon where you are on Topsail Island. As of December 2022, the median home prices, according to websites like Movoto, on Topsail Island were:

  • Surf City: $472,499

  • Topsail Beach: $979,000

  • North Topsail Beach: $575,000

Over time, home prices have decreased as interest rates have gone up, and the economy has slowed down. On average, homes are also staying on the market longer than they were a year ago (as of December 2022). 

Other areas of the country with beachfront real estate, like Fort Myers, FL, will have lower median home prices, but that is skewed because these areas also have larger populations of people with primary residence homes. Generally speaking, on Topsail Island, you can buy a bit more of a house. In Fort Myers, FL, $1.75 million might buy you a three bedroom home with two bathrooms. A similarly priced home on Topsail Island could potentially get you four bedrooms and three bathrooms. 

How does the climate compare to other oceanfront communities?

According to Travel + Leisure, the top oceanfront communities in the United States are scattered on the Northeastern seaboard, the Southeast Atlantic, California, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Pacific Northwest. Of these communities, Topsail Island perhaps has the tamest climate throughout the year. Friday Harbor, in Washington State, is a popular oceanfront community. During the winter months, Friday Harbor is comparable to that of Topsail Island. However, the summers on Topsail Island tend to be a little bit warmer. 

Block Island, RI is another popular oceanfront community, according to Travel + Leisure. Overall, the temperature gets down to 27 °F in January, compared to 32 °F for Topsail Island’s January low. Topsail Island is considerably warmer during the summer months. 

Overall, Topsail Island offers a considerable amount of flexibility and comfort when it comes to seasonal climate. The summer peak months are comfortable enough to support a robust tourism industry, while the cooler months still allow people to enjoy the winter environment. 

Hurricane season is a serious consideration on Topsail Island. Since 1881, only a handful of hurricanes have reached Category 3 to 5 strength. In the 1990s, the first hurricane made landfall on Topsail Island in more than fifty years. While hurricane season is a time for precautions, Topsail Island is still a place that is safe enough to call home. 

Where are the most expensive oceanfront communities?

When it comes to expensive oceanfront communities, there are a lot of ways to gauge the cost of living. Median home price is a pretty good indicator of the cost of living for a particular area. Believe it or not, the most expensive beachfront communities can be found in California. The median home price in Malibu, CA is $5.1 million. Bridgehampton, NY offers a median home price of $4.4 million. Topsail Island has a median home price well below those hefty figures.

In terms of property taxes, you will also find that homes on Topsail Island are also relatively affordable. The taxable rate for property on Topsail Island, in Onslow County, is .655%. Malibu, CA has a property tax rate of 1.1%. The going property tax rate for Topsail Island is well below the expensive beachfront communities in the United States and the national average. 

How is the culture of Topsail Island? 

Generally speaking, you will find a healthy mix of culture on Topsail Island, with a healthy focus on art and Lowcountry cuisine. When it comes to people, you will find a balance of young working professionals who took advantage of working from home during the pandemic to baby boomers who are starting their retirement. Needless to say, Topsail Island will tend to attract people who like boating, fishing, golf, surfing, and other water sports. 

If you like an area like the Hamptons, you will find that seafood is a huge emphasis, with plenty of grab-and-go foods. Art is also popular in the Hamptons, but you won’t find an emphasis on local art like you would on Topsail. Block Island offers many water activities, but also includes biking and hiking. You can find these things on Topsail Island, though surfing and more active water sports are considered the norm. 

Making the choice to buy on Topsail Island 

There are many reasons that people choose Topsail Island, both for vacation and to make it their permanent home. One of the main reasons people choose Topsail Island is because it’s simply less crowded. In a surfing review of an area called C-Street, a surfer said that the C stood for “crowded,” but the C also stood for “consistent” when the waves came. Perhaps the beach and the ocean are the top reasons that people choose to live on Topsail Island. However, many people who own property on Topsail Island also rented at a point in time and found a meaningful connection.

A company like Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. knows Topsail Island. With sixty years of experience serving the community, Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. has helped many Topsail residents find their permanent home or vacation destination. Our realtors have 150+ years of combined experience, and we can help you navigate the complexities of owning coastal property.