Welcome to our blog, At Home With Topsail! Here we will discuss the history of Topsail Island, the real estate market and area happenings around Topsail Island. Please feel free to comment, we'd love to discuss Topsail with you!

March 2, 2023

A Guide to Evaluating & Purchasing Oceanfront Real Estate

An oceanfront property is more than just a beautiful place to call home. It’s actually a good investment too. Whether you’re looking to buy a second home along the coastline or you’re interested in a property with a lot of investment potential, an oceanfront house is a great choice. 

However, there are a few things you should consider before purchasing oceanfront real estate. Though there are a lot of benefits to owning oceanfront real estate, there are also things you should watch out for when evaluating potential properties. You’ll need to be prepared for the risks associated with these types of places so that you can properly prepare yourself and find the perfect house to fit your needs. 

We’ll explain the basics of oceanfront real estate so that you can feel confident about evaluating properties on the market. We’ll also go over helpful tips to guide you through the process of purchasing your new oceanfront property.

What Does Oceanfront Real Estate Mean?

There are a few similar terms that real estate agents and home listings often include in descriptions that may be confusing. Some of these terms seem very similar to each other, but they mean different things in the real estate world. 

  • Oceanfront property: This kind of property sits directly next to the ocean, so you’re likely to have killer views of the water from your home.

  • Beachfront property: For this type of property, the house is located directly on or adjacent to the beach.

  • Second-row home: Properties that are coined second-row homes are located behind oceanfront homes. They often have views of the water but are a few minutes walk away from the water.

  • Oceanview property: Real estate listings will often use the term oceanview generally. So any property that has a view of the ocean, no matter its proximity to the water, may be called oceanview.

Why Should You Consider Buying Oceanfront Real Estate?

If you aren’t yet convinced that oceanfront properties are a good idea, there are a few advantages of these types of homes that you should consider. Two of the most important factors that almost all home buyers think about are money and location.

Though oceanfront real estate usually is priced high, the value of these properties is likely to stay the same or even increase. The reason for this stability is the fact that oceanfront real estate is always in demand. People love to wake up to a view of the water and the smell of saltwater. Since the supply of oceanfront homes is limited, there will always be demand for this type of property. So you won’t have to worry as much about depreciation, unlike other types of real estate. Because of this stability, oceanfront properties make a great real estate investment.

You should also consider the potential profit from renting out desirable properties that face the ocean. Especially in vacation beach towns like Topsail Island, vacation rentals become super in demand during the peak summer months. If you are looking to buy properties as an investment, an oceanfront property in a popular beach town will likely be an excellent way to make a profit. 

In addition to the money aspect of buying oceanfront properties, you will also enjoy the benefits of living in a unique and beautiful location if you choose to use the property as a second home. The stunning views, local wildlife, and proximity to beaches are priceless. You aren’t only buying a home, but you’re also buying a coastal way of life. The laid-back attitude of places like Topsail Island invokes a sense of rest and relaxation that isn’t found in the city or landlocked suburbs. If you’re looking for second homes, this type of property is the perfect location for vacations and family getaways.

Are There Any Risks of Buying Oceanfront Properties That You Should Be Aware of?

There are some risks when buying oceanfront homes that you should consider. One of the biggest concerns that homeowners face along the coast is disastrous weather. North Carolina sees a lot of storms, and oceanfront homes often bear the brunt of the bad weather. You’ll need to look into insurance for flooding, storms, hurricanes, and high winds. 

Damage from storms and hurricanes can be costly, so you’ll need to be sure that you can afford repairs if necessary. However, oceanfront properties tend to have high maintenance costs in general. So, it’s important that you have enough money to adequately take care of your home.

What Should You Look for When Evaluating Oceanfront Properties?

There are a few considerations you should take into account when viewing oceanfront property listings. By looking out for these potential risks, you’ll be able to find the perfect home that won’t cause you financial stress. Some of the features of oceanfront properties that you should always take into consideration when shopping around for real estate investment properties or second homes include

  • Water levels

  • Zoning regulations

  • Erosion and flooding

  • Hurricanes

It’s important for you to research as well as talk with your real estate team to determine what kind of property is most suitable for your situation. If you aren’t that familiar with the local area, then you’ll need to figure out the risks of coastal erosion and flooding possibilities for particular properties. These can cause serious damage, so it’s important to plan and prepare for this risk. Additionally, there are certain zoning regulations that may prohibit specific types of development. For example, you may not be allowed to build beyond a certain height. 

How Do You Know When You’ve Found the Right Property to Purchase?

In order to find the right property, you should have a solid understanding of your needs, constraints, and your financial situation. If you’re looking for second homes, you may not be that interested in a large home. An oceanfront condo or a small cottage might work best for your needs. 

However, if you’re looking for a real estate investment, then you might want to consider homes that you can rent for a high price. Multiple-bedroom houses close to the beach are perfect for tourists looking to spend the summer in an idyllic coastal town. Though they might cost a lot of money initially, they can fetch a high price as vacation rentals during the peak tourist season. Plus, the value of the property is unlikely to decrease. Years later, if you are looking to sell the property, it will likely remain close to the price you bought it.

Buying an oceanfront property can be a smart financial move as well as a beautiful place to live. However, even though there are a lot of benefits to purchasing an oceanfront house, you should carefully consider all of the risks associated with this type of property. Because of weather and flooding concerns, damage to the structure and exterior of the house may be costly. You should always work with a local real estate team that can answer any concerns or questions you may have regarding oceanfront risks. If you’re looking for an experienced team of real estate professionals in the Topsail Island area, get in touch with us today, so we can get started looking at properties together.

March 1, 2023

Home Prices On & Around Topsail Island

Finding a beautiful beach town with homes that are affordable is rare. A lot of coastal properties fetch a lot of money because of their proximity to gorgeous beaches and the ocean. Topsail is a unique island that offers the charm of a small beach town with amazing views, but with a wide scale of home prices. 

You can find modest single-family homes in the triple digits, but you can also find luxury properties that start in the million-dollar range. Whether you’re looking for a second home for your family vacations or you want a great investment property, Topsail Island real estate offers a range of price options. Additionally, the island also has a relatively low cost of living compared to other beach towns around the country and a high potential for rental income, which can help offset mortgage payments.

If you’re interested in looking at coastal real estate, Topsail Island is a great option. We’ll go over some of the housing options, including current average prices. We’ll also explain more in-depth why Topsail Island is a great place to live and the three distinct towns that make up the island so that you can make an informed decision about your next home.

How Much Does It Cost to Live on Topsail Island?

The island is hospitable to a wide array of budgets. Whether you are looking for a multi-million luxury oceanfront property, or you’d like to buy a modest second home there are options available in all three towns–North Topsail Beach, Surf City, and Topsail Beach. Depending on which town you are interested in, the median price of homes varies. 

Topsail Beach is known for its single-family homes and small-town feel. It averages the highest-priced homes on the island at about $950,000. Surf City is located in the middle of the island and is close to a lot of restaurants and shops. It averages the lowest-priced homes on the island with a median price of around $450,000. North Topsail Beach has the most housing options available, with affordable condos as well as new luxury beachfront builds. The median price of homes in this city is around $550,000.

Budget-Friendly Family Homes on Topsail Island

You’ll find modest single-family homes around the home. While oceanfront properties are generally the most expensive home listings you’ll encounter, there are other more affordable home sales on Topsail Island that are only a short walk or drive away from the beach or gorgeous views of nature. 

If you’re on a budget, it’s a good idea to look at listings that mention if the home is a second-row or even a third-row home. These properties will be a lot less expensive than oceanfront real estate, but will still be close to the water, and may have views of the ocean. If you’re looking to be close to the beaches, but can’t afford oceanfront prices, this will be the next best option.

Affordable Condos on Topsail Island

In North Topsail Beach, you’ll find quite a few options for affordable condos for sale. These types of homes are perfect for retirees, or those who want a small second home near the beach. They feature one-bedroom or two-bedroom options, oftentimes with a balcony view of the water. Depending on the building complex, you may also get to enjoy other community amenities, like a swimming pool, recreational courts, and grilling areas.

There are also a few condo options in Surf city. This location may be ideal for those who like to be near activities and bars, as Surf City has a lot of restaurants and shops. There are also a lot of outdoor activities available, like surfing lessons or fishing rental shops, which makes it the hub for activities and community on the island. However, there aren’t condo options at the southern end of the island in Topsail Beach, as this area is dominated by single-family homes.

Luxury Homes on Topsail Island

There are luxury properties for sale throughout the island that boast incredible views of the water and have a lot of modern amenities. These homes tend to start at a million dollars and can range upwards, depending on the size, location, and interior of the home. If you’re looking for a luxury property as a second home or as an investment property, all three towns would make a good choice.

Most luxury homes come equipped with direct beach access or at least a short walk to the beach. Additionally, you can expect upgraded home amenities, like top-of-the-line appliances, multiple balconies, and even an elevator to take you up to the top floors. These types of home sales on Topsail Island can make excellent investment opportunities, as there are many large families looking for the perfect vacation home for the summer that can accommodate their needs. 

How Does Topsail Island Real Estate Compare to Other Beachfront Communities?

One of the great features of living on the island, no matter what your budget may be, is the low cost of living compared to other coastal communities. For example, the cost of living in a beach town, like Malibu, California, is 135% higher than the national average. The cost of living in an expensive beach town on the east coast, like East Hampton, New York, is going to be 37% higher than the national average. In comparison, Topsail Island real estate has a wider range of affordability for residents that is closer to the national average than other expensive beach towns.

How Do Topsail Island Home Prices Compare to Nearby Towns?

There are a few neighboring towns that are close to Topsail Island and are located on the mainland of the North Carolina coast. Holly Ridge, Sneads Ferry, and Hampstead offer proximity to the coast and the beaches of Topsail Island, making them highly desirable locations for those looking for a second home. Many of the homes are priced similarly to that of Topsail Island real estate, as these coastal communities also provide a lot of the same nature benefits. 

Is Topsail Island a Good Place to Live?

Though Topsail Island real estate is more affordable than some other beach towns, it can still be an expensive purchase for some families. It’s important to be sure that you love the area and enjoy living in the community before making such an expensive commitment. The island has an active community presence and a laid-back way of life that is different from life on the mainland. If you’re after a slower pace of life, then you’ll appreciate living in all three towns on the island.

Purchasing a home is an exciting process, especially in beautiful beach towns like Topsail Island. Luckily, you won’t have to deal with outrageous prices common in a lot of coastal communities. Depending on your budget, preferences, and needs, you may be able to scoop up the perfect home in your price range easily. Whether you’re looking for a small condo, a modest family home, or a luxury property, our real estate team can help. We have current listings available for you to start browsing today or feel free to get in touch with our team to begin your home search.

Jan. 31, 2023

How Topsail Island Compares to Other Beachfront Real Estate Markets

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. 

Jan. 23, 2023

The Different Types of Homes Available on Topsail Island

If you are looking for a new home on Topsail Island, there are plenty of options for you to choose from. You can easily find a cozy condominium for starting a family, or look for something a little bit more upscale on the beach. Let’s take a look at some of the different types of homes and the benefits of each. 

Townhomes and condominiums 

Townhomes and condominiums are great for small families, couples, and those that live alone. Generally speaking, if you live in a condominium, you own an individual unit within a larger complex. When you own a townhome, you share a wall with your neighbors and own the structure as well. Townhomes and condominiums have many different benefits:

  • Low purchasing cost: With Lewis Realty Associates, Inc., you will find townhomes and condominiums in the $250,000 to $500,000 price range. 
  • Minimal maintenance: If you live in a condo, you pay an HOA fee that covers maintenance for things that may break from time to time.
  • townhomes have more space: With a townhome, you will have reasonably sized bedrooms, full-sized bathrooms, kitchen, and perhaps a basement. You also have access to a front yard, patio, garage, and maybe even a deck. With a condo, you will likely have some shared exterior space with your neighbors. Some condos offer a shared garage, but this is most often not the case.
  • Privacy: When you live in a condominium, you often have to share a hallway or stairs with your neighbors. With a townhome, you don’t have to deal with neighbors above or below you.

Some condos and townhomes on Topsail Island do have an ocean view or beach access. Some of your neighboring units might function as vacation rentals throughout the year. 

Homes on the oceanfront 

When you purchase a home with proximity to the beach, you can get a home with exclusive access to the beach or something with a view of the ocean. These homes typically have a price tag starting at $1.9 million. A beachfront home has several different benefits:

  • You own access to the beach and water whenever you want it. 
  • The home will have a strong resale value in the future and hold its value well when the real estate market is slow. 
  • Living on or near the beach will promote a more active lifestyle. You will want to visit the beach or be on the water whenever you can. 

Additionally, if you are purchasing a Topsail Island home for recreational use, you have the potential to monetize it as a rental unit throughout the year when you are not using it. 

Homes on the Intercoastal Waterway 

The Intercoastal Waterway is on the backside of Topsail Island. Homes built on this side of the island tend to compete with oceanfront properties in terms of price. You could very well find a home for between $1 million and $1.5 million, whereas oceanfront properties might be priced higher. Some of the benefits of choosing a home on the ICW include:

  • A little bit more privacy, since tourists tend to flock to the ocean side of Topsail Island.
  • You still get a great view or access to the water, without the price. 
  • You can enjoy fishing, paddleboarding, and jet skiing on slightly calmer waters.
  • You also can do things like crabbing and clamming, since the tides on the ICW go in and out with the ocean. 

Second row homes on Topsail Island 

A second row home is simply one row of houses back from the beach. Many of these second row homes offer a great view of the beach or the water. You will likely have easy access to the beach. Here are some of the benefits of owning a home that is on the second row:

  • The high demand for access to the beach will make the home viable as a rental property. 
  • These homes tend to sell slightly less than an oceanfront property.
  • Second row homes are also a huge part of the beach scene.

A second row home gives you the benefits of beach access and the view without the price tag. The only difference is that you don’t own the beach or the experience that comes along with owning a beachfront home. 

Lots for Sale on Topsail Island 

Since development started on Topsail Island shortly after World War II, the number of prime lots for sale are in limited supply. Most of the lots available through Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. are either on the interior of the island or canal front. You will see lots starting in the low $250,000 price range going all the way up to $1,500,000 (for a combined .89 acre lot in Surf City). Purchasing a lot gives you the option of:

  • Being more in control of the construction process of a home, if you choose to build.
  • Getting a more encompassing home loan when you go to build your home.
  • You have the option of choosing the builder you want to work with, long before the construction process starts.
  • Saving more money for the construction process if you don’t plan on building right away.
  • Selling the land at a later date as home values in the area go up. 

Why Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. is your trusted Topsail Island Realtor 

Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. is the trusted local realtor for Topsail Island. As a family-owned business that helped start development on the island over sixty years ago, we can help you find the right home or land and navigate the complexities of owning coastal property. Whether you are buying or selling, our real estate team has over 150+ years of combined experience to help you with your purchase. 

Jan. 18, 2023

The Top Neighborhoods for Buying a Home On Topsail Island

Topsail Island may seem very narrowly focused on surfing, water sports, and the ocean. However, if you look at the different areas where you can live, you will find diverse and eclectic communities that are full of vibrant people and businesses. The top communities on Topsail Island are North Topsail Beach, Topsail Beach, and Surf City. Moving off the island, Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. also features listings in Hampstead, Sneads Ferry, and Holly Ridge. Let’s take a look at each of these communities and some of the top neighborhoods to call home. 

Surf City 

Surf City is the central hub on Topsail Island. With a population of just under 5,000, this is one of the top destinations for tourism on the East Coast. Surf City features several local restaurants, boutiques and gift shops, and great schools. Both residents and tourists enjoy boating, surfing, fishing, and golf throughout the year. 

Atkinson Point is representative of the neighborhoods that you will find in Surf City. This neighborhood, located off of NC 50 is located close to shopping and restaurants. This is a small peninsula that is one of the prime places to live on Topsail Island. Old Settlers Beach is the top neighborhood in Surf City if you are looking for a pure vacation home. You will find that the median price in this neighborhood is around $1,000,000, getting you as many as five bedrooms and bathrooms. Old Settlers Beach is one of the premiere neighborhoods of Surf City. 

Topsail Beach

Topsail Beach is the smallest community on Topsail Island and is situated at the southern end of the island. Many people will find that this community on Topsail Island has a mix of condos, townhomes, and beach homes. 

Serenity Point is a great area on the south end of Topsail Island. With vacation rentals and homes for sale, you will enjoy some of the most spectacular views on Topsail Island. Many of the homes and duplexes in this area boast spectacular views of the most beautiful area of the island. 

North Topsail Beach

North Topsail Beach is the second-largest community on Topsail Island and occupies the northern end of the island. This area of Topsail Island includes wide beaches, many oceanfront properties, and a laid back atmosphere. 

Cape Island is a popular neighborhood in North Topsail Beach. Many homes for sale in this area have private beach access and are near restaurants, the Town Park, the local pier, and offer spectacular views of the area. 

Sneads Ferry

Sneads Ferry is known for its seafood and its origins in commercial fishing. It’s one of the cities in an area known as the Outer Banks. Sneads Ferry is home to a wide price range. You will find affordable homes in the Chadwick Shores neighborhood starting at about $500,000. More expensive homes in the Sneads Ferry area are also falling in price. A recent home for $999,990 recently had its price lowered by just over $25,000. 


Hampstead has some of the best seafood in the Carolinas and is known as the regional seafood capital. In addition to a growing number of seafood vendors and restaurants, this town also offers a great selection of shopping, ranging from small boutique gift shops to mainstream shopping centers. Hampstead also features many of the top golf courses in the Topsail Island area. 

Hampstead Sound is representative of the real estate market in the area. This neighborhood is on the east side of Hampstead and features close proximity to shopping, restaurants, and the area marina. Another great neighborhood in Hampstead is the Sanctuary at Forest Sound. Most of the homes in this neighborhood fall into the $500,000 range. The majority of homes in this area start at four bedrooms. This neighborhood is located just one mile away from the Hampstead Marina. 

Holly Ridge

Holly Ridge is perhaps the closest thing that you can get to a town that is actually on Topsail Island. Known as the Gateway to Topsail Island, this community offers many recreational opportunities in its beautiful coastal setting. Holly Ridge features properties with large lots and spacious homes. 

Right now, Summerhouse on Everett Bay is one of the top neighborhoods in Holly Ridge that is available through Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. These homes are priced comfortably from $500,000 to $865,000. Many of these homes are three bedrooms or larger, and will offer enough room for your family to grow. This residential neighborhood features a private lake, pool, boat launch, and sidewalks to enjoy a nice walk along the Intercoastal Waterway. 

Living on or off Topsail Island 

People choose to live on Topsail Island for a wide variety of different reasons. Many prefer the access to the beach, the seafood, and the tourist environment. Topsail Island also has a pretty top notch school district, with the high school graduating 95% each year. 

Those who choose to live off Topsail Island in the communities of Sneads Ferry, Hampstead, and Holly Ridge prefer quick access to the beach and like the easy access to amenities that are located inland. Overall, prices are comparable whether you live on or off the island. 

Let Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. help you find the right home


With over sixty years of real estate experience, Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. will help you navigate the various properties in the area. With a huge price range available, we can help you find the ideal home for your budget. Whether you are looking for a property that is purely for vacation or want to retire to the beach, our real estate team has over 150+ years of combined experience helping people find homes in these vibrant and eclectic communities. 

Jan. 16, 2023

Where is the Best Place To Buy Oceanfront Property?

Many people own a second home in the United States. According to the National Association of Realtors, 310,600 homes were listed and sold as vacation homes in 2020, the year the pandemic started. The sale of oceanfront homes and vacation homes remained strong throughout 2021 and the first part of 2022. Here are some of the areas of the country with a large number of homes used for vacation or recreational use:

  • The Salisbury and Cambridge Combined Statistical Area: In this region in Delaware and Maryland, which is right by the ocean, there are 69,160 residences that are used as second homes, a total of 25.08% of all the homes in the area.

  • Myrtle Beach and Conway, on the border of North and South Carolina, have 75,810 homes used as second residences, which is 22.31% of the homes in the area.

  • Cape Coral, Fort Myers, and Naples, FL has 141,979 homes classified as second residences, which is 20.97% of the total homes in the area. 

While other areas of the country are popular for vacation homes, like Mariette and Iron Mountain in Wisconsin and Michigan, oceanfront property is popular among homebuyers. Along with providing a regular vacation destination and a potential rental income, there are many benefits to owning oceanfront property. Let’s take a look at why Topsail Island should be your top choice when considering a potential purchase.


One of the best perks about Topsail Island is its location. Topsail Island is near some of the major cities in the area, being no more than 2-½ hours away from major cities like Greensboro, Raleigh, and Durham. Wilmington is only about forty five minutes away. Topsail Island is twenty-six miles long, spanning the ocean and Intercoastal Waterway, with many opportunities for fishing, enjoying the beach, and watersports. 

From a population perspective, Topsail Island is much smaller when compared to cities like Myrtle Beach, Fort Myers, and Naples. In 2014, the University of North Carolina conducted a demographic study on Topsail Island’s summer population. During peak season, around 61,000 people take up residence on the island, which is smaller than the population of cities like Fort Myers, FL.

The Climate and Weather 

Climate and weather considerations are extremely important for picking oceanfront property. States with a coastline on the Gulf of Mexico are extremely likely to be hit by a hurricane. These states include Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, and Georgia. While hurricanes in North Carolina are a fact of life, only seven hurricanes between Category 3 and 5 struck between 1881 and 2018. Topsail Island actually went without a hurricane landfall for fifty years before one struck in the 1990s. 

The climate on Topsail Island also makes it great for owning a vacation home. July on Topsail Island is the hottest month, with a high of 88 °F with a low of 71 °F. The coldest time of year is in January, with daytime temperatures peaking at 55 °F and lows reaching 32 °F. The climate on Topsail Island lets you enjoy your home at any time throughout the year. 

Public Safety 

Even though you might visit your oceanfront home just twice per year, you want to make sure that your community is safe. Topsail Island is one of the safest places in America, with most property crimes falling below the state and national average. Places like Fort Myers, FL tend to have a higher crime rate, with most types of crime falling above the national average. 

Education and Activities for Your Family 

While most people looking for an oceanfront property will not be too concerned with area schools, there are great schools on Topsail Island. Topsail High School is a great school, with around 1,500 students. The graduation rate is 95%, which is higher than the state’s 86% graduation rate average. Topsail High School students place in the top 20% of all North Carolina students for standardized test scores. 

Even if you only plan on spending part of the year at your oceanfront property, there are plenty of activities for your children:

  • There are several surf schools for people of all ages. Wave Catchers Surf Camp lets you start children in first grade on up with the basics of surfing, all throughout the summer.

  • Soccer is a favorite pastime on Topsail Island. You will find youth leagues through several organizations for your kids. 

  • There are also art classes available for kids through programs such as the Wild Child Art Studio.

Topsail Island is a great place to raise your children, even if it's only for part of the year. 

The Beaches Are Also Super Clean 

The major communities of Topsail Island have come together over the years to promote clean beaches. Visitors are encouraged to leave glass bottles and single-use plastic bottles at home, so that they don’t pollute the beach. Additionally, people are encouraged to leave the beach just as they found it at the end of the day. There are also ordinances against littering and picking up pet waste. 

The Culture is Second To None 

One of the primary reasons that people purchase property on Topsail Island is because of the culture. The local artist scene is very important to the Topsail community. The Seacoast Art Gallery promotes local artists, their artwork, and has regular classes and showings, which invite the community to participate. You can find art classes and workshops through the gallery during the slower months of the season. 

If you reside on the island for at least part of the year, the Lowcountry cuisine will become part of your eating habits. Fresh seafood is available at the Surf City Crab Seafood Market. Every restaurant on the island has traditional dishes, like Lowcountry Boil, and other seafood choices.

Work With Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. To Find Your Oceanfront Home


Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. knows Topsail Island and has been the realtor of choice for more than sixty years. If you are buying your first oceanfront home, we can help you navigate the nuances, find the right financing, and help you make an offer on your dream home. Topsail Island and the surrounding area offer the best in oceanfront real estate, whether you plan on permanently living on the island or coming a few times each year. 

Jan. 10, 2023

Buying a Home on Topsail Island: A Step-by-Step Guide

Topsail Island is a hidden treasure on the Atlantic coast. This 26-mile long island features welcoming sands, immense natural beauty, and some of the best coastal living in the United States. This island is also a top beach destination each summer, with a tourism season that extends well throughout the year. 

Many who visit Topsail Island come back each year, booking their favorite rental as part of a family tradition. For some people, a few weeks out of the year is not enough for their beach fix and they wish to make the beach a permanent fixture of their life. If you are one of these people, you might be looking at purchasing coastal property.

The top reasons to purchase a home on Topsail Island 

There are several reasons to purchase real estate on Topsail Island. Some people really appreciate the affordable cost of coastal living that is found on Topsail Island, especially in comparison to other oceanfront communities. Topsail Island also works well for a wide variety of buyers. Whether it’s a vacation home, a rental property, or a permanent residence, there are properties available on or off the island that suit a wide variety of different situations and budgets. 

People often like Topsail Island because it’s close enough to cities like Wilmington and Jacksonville. If you’ve exhausted your weekend options on Topsail Island, the Carolina Beach Boardwalk is located not too far off the island. 

Renting before you buy 

Purchasing a home on Topsail Island is a little bit different than buying a home in a regular neighborhood. Renting will help you know the community a little bit better. For example, you will know what it’s like to live on the beach, on the sound, or just a few blocks away from the beach. Many people become permanent Topsail Island residents after years of coming to the island and falling in love with the community. 

The essential steps to buying a home on or near Topsail Island

If you’ve decided that it’s time to make the move, these steps can help you find the perfect home, whether it’s on the island in Surf City or across the bay at Sneads Ferry. 

Make a list that defines exactly what you want 

This is the first criteria when it comes to picking a home. Do you want to be on the beach throughout the year or is the beach a weekend activity you are okay driving through? How close do you want to be to your neighbors? What types of conveniences are important to you? These are important factors and could define whether your dream home is on or off the island. Keep in mind that your budget will not eliminate homes on the island. You may very well find a cozy three bedroom home in the neighborhoods of Surf City, with the beach just a short walk or drive away. 

Here are some of the most important things to think about when making a list that you want in your dream home:

  • Know the area: Topsail Island offers clean beaches, a local artists scene, and seafood is an important part of the culture. 
  • Check out some of the local schools: Topsail Island High School is among the best in the state, with a graduation rate of 95%, which is well over the state’s average of 86%. Students also perform extremely well on standardized test scores.
  • Know the “bustle” of the area: Topsail is typically busy during the summer months and into the fall. If you are okay with a light tourism scene, you will be happy with the Greater Topsail community. 

Check out some of the top communities 

Whether you live on or off the island, you will find the community that is just perfect for your needs:

  • Surf City: Surf City is the heart of Topsail Island. Here, you will find the concentration of schools, amenities like supermarkets, and activities. 
  • Topsail Beach: Topsail Beach combines a sense of rural living with restaurants, coffee shops, and a smaller number of tourists. 
  • North Topsail Beach: North Topsail Beach offers an urban living environment in a small town setting. Most people who live in North Topsail Beach are younger working professionals or retirees. 
  • Holly Ridge: Holly Ridge offers a nice sense of what it might feel like to live on the island. Holly Ridge is often known as the gateway to the beaches. 
  • Sneads Ferry: Sneads Ferry was first known for commercial fishing. It offers a nice proximity to the beach and is a fair distance from the city. 
  • Hampstead: Hampstead is known for its great seafood. You will also find great shopping, ranging from boutiques to mainstream shopping malls. In some ways, it’s the version of Surf City that is not on the island. 

Find a budget that is suitable for your needs

There are houses on Topsail Island that retail for well over $1 million. There are also smaller family homes that meet a smaller budget. These tend to be located away from the beach,but are close enough to the action. Generally speaking, more expensive properties will be exclusively oceanfront. 

Start the process of shopping for homes  

If you live out-of-state, the Internet and telephone will play a critical role connecting you to a professional realtor, like Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. Once you find a realtor that you like working with, you might want to make an in-person visit to Topsail Island. This is the perfect opportunity to look at homes that you like and start narrowing down your list.

Making an offer and closing 

When you make an offer, there is a lot of paperwork involved. An inspection will help uncover any issues with the home. Your real estate agent will help you with the process. Once you’ve closed on your home, you are finally in your dream home with the beach access that you want. 

Let Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. help you find your dream home on Topsail Island 


Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. is known to homeowners and tourists on Topsail Island. We have over sixty years of experience serving buyers and sellers in a booming market. Our team of professionals has over 150+ years of combined real estate experience. Whether you are looking for coastal property or something central on the island, our team can help you close on your dream home. 

Jan. 3, 2023

Is Beachfront Property a Good Investment?

In today’s economy, people are spending less, dealing with higher interest rates, and credit is tighter across the board. As 2023 progresses, the trends on the market will largely remain the same. Demand for homes will slow in the coming year as interest rates continue to climb and the housing market continues to cool. Let’s take a look at why you might be able to benefit from purchasing a beachfront property as an investment.

Beachfront property will always have some sort of demand 

Your beachfront property will probably take several years before you can sell it for a good return on investment. Home values increase between 3.5% and 3.8% each year. Over a period of time, this compounds each year and your home’s value should double within a timeframe of twenty years. However, that is not always the case with beachfront homes. In some some situations, the demand for a beachfront home is greater:

  • In a smaller area, such as Topsail Island, fewer of these properties appear on the market in comparison to more populated areas, such as Florida.
  • These types of homes are luxury properties. People purchase them with the intent of using them seasonally and holding onto them.
  • The population on Topsail Island increases during peak season, which makes these homes in demand as rental properties when the owner is not using them.

What are some of the higher costs associated with owning a beachfront house? 

There are two types of higher costs associated with owning a beachfront home. The first cost comes with flood/hurricane insurance. The second type of cost comes with higher property taxes if the beachfront home is in a tourist destination, such as Topsail Island. While North Carolina commands reasonable flood/hurricane insurance rates, it can still be a drain on homeowners’ finances. In 2021, the  National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System (CRS) and FEMA did a study. Topsail Island’s rating went from a Class 5 (a 25% discount policy on flood insurance) to a Class 7 (a 15% discount policy on flood insurance).

Property taxes also play a role in higher costs when owning a beachfront home. Even though North Carolina’s property taxes are slightly lower than the rest of the United States (.99%), owning a home on Topsail Island is still slightly more expensive than owning property elsewhere in North Carolina. In 2022, Onslow County assessed a property tax rate of .655%, compared to .61% for New Hanover County. Pender County collects about .67% for an effective property tax rate.

What’s the typical profile of a vacation homebuyer?

There are two common trends that emerged during the pandemic when it came to the market for vacation homes. According to the National Association of Realtors, 53% of vacation home purchases were all-cash transactions in 2021. Cash offers generally make for a more lucrative offer for the seller. Additionally, the majority of homeowners who did not pay with cash made a downpayment of at least 20%. The typical vacation homebuyer who is looking for a beachfront house uses cash as leverage to increase the ROI on the house over time. If you are one of these two groups, you will find that your path to ROI on a beachfront home will be easier in the long run. 

Why is a beachfront house a good investment? 

The majority of beachfront homeowners are not first time homebuyers. In fact, 96% of homeowners who bought a vacation home in 2021 were purchasing a second home. Beachfront property is a great investment for the following reasons:

  • When used as a vacation rental, a basic home can bring in an average of $795 per night. Luxury properties used as a vacation rental can be upwards of $1,500 per night.
  • Many vacation home owners will only use the property at short intervals throughout the year. Rental revenue can be used to cover expenses for the home.
  • Property management services can help maintain and care for the property, which helps improve the property value over time.

There are also some tax breaks that may be available on second homes, but these are best understood under the guidance of your accountant. In most cases, those single or married and filed jointly can potentially deduct mortgage interest. If you own the second home free and clear, you might be operating it as a rental property and deductions could potentially be made for the operating costs of the rental. 

Why is Topsail Island a great place to own a beachfront home?

Topsail Island comes to life during the peak season. The population increases to just over 61,000 people. The majority of these people are renting vacation homes (about 49,193). Here are the reasons why Topsail Island is a great place to own a beachfront home:

  • Topsail Island is a great location where there is a huge demand for rentals every year.
  • Even though hurricanes could impact Topsail Island, hurricanes are riskier for homeowners who have property on the Gulf of Mexico. 
  • Topsail Island property taxes tend to be lower than the nationwide average, so owning a vacation home on Topsail is more affordable.  

Where should you buy a vacation home on Topsail Island? 

There are several areas on Topsail Island where you should consider looking at your vacation home. These include Surf City, Topsail Beach, and North Topsail Beach. These areas come to life during the peak season. The economies are heavily geared towards tourist spending. As such, your vacation home will hold its value and appreciate quite nicely. Not only are these communities home to piers and other economic hubs, but they are also central locations on Topsail Island where the majority of tourists book a vacation home throughout the year. 

Why Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. is your partner for a beachfront home

As a local real estate company, we have over 60 years of experience in the Topsail area. Our team has an additional 150 years of experience combined as realtors delivering results for our clients. If you are buying your first beachfront property, we can help you understand complicated beachfront real estate issues, such as flood zones, CAMA lines, and erosion rates.

We also know the vacation rental business and help clients with this aspect of their property ownership. Even if you plan on renting, owning beachfront property is great for the right for enjoyment and enjoying the beach with your families. Even when the real estate market has a lull, your property is sure to appreciate over time on Topsail Island. 

Beachfront property on Topsail Island is a great investment, especially if you have a trusted realtor like Lewis Realty Associates, Inc. on your side. 


Dec. 29, 2022

Enjoying the View from the Second Row

Are you looking for a property with gorgeous views at a reasonable price? Generally, oceanfront properties carry an incredibly expensive price tag attached to them, as there is a high demand to live close to the ocean. The beautiful views of the waves crashing are calming and peaceful. Plus, with no structures standing in the way, you have direct access to the beach right from your back porch, giving you an up-close view of the local wildlife.

How can you afford the beautiful views of the coast from your home while still being close to the beach? Second-row houses are homes that are located directly behind beachfront homes. They often feature much of the same gorgeous views of the water that the first row of houses enjoys, but at a lower price.

If you’re looking to rent or buy a home on Topsail Island, then you should consider second-row houses. Not only do you still get beautiful views of the water, but there are also common beach accessways and more affordable housing options. Topsail real estate features many second-row beach homes on the market with plenty of views. We’ll explore the reasons why second-row beach homes on Topsail Island are great options for those looking for budget-friendly properties that exude serenity and promote relaxation.

About Topsail Island

Topsail is a twenty-six-mile-long barrier island off the coast of North Carolina. Because of its geography, Topsail has amazing views from most spots on the island. You can enjoy amazing sunsets and sunrises from anywhere on the island, whether you are facing the Atlantic Ocean or the Intracoastal Waterway.

The island is also pretty narrow, only spanning about five hundred to one thousand and five hundred miles in width. No matter which three towns you are located in (North Topsail Beach, Surf City, Topsail Beach), you aren’t far away from the water or beaches.

Topsail Island sees a huge influx of visitors during the peak summer season. However, thanks to its long coastline of sandy beaches, there is usually plenty of room to be found on the island’s beaches, even during the summer months.

What Is the “Second Row?”

In terms of housing placement on the island, second-row beach homes refer to houses that are in the second row back from the ocean. The first-row houses are typically noted as beachfront or oceanfront homes in real estate listings. Sometimes, listings will also note third-row houses or clarify if the homes are inland (away from the water).

Since views and location are especially important in the overall value of a house, it’s important to understand the distinction between these terms. Second-row beach homes, though not as valuable as oceanfront or waterfront properties, are still in-demand as vacation rentals, making them a solid investment opportunity.

Many people, both renters and home buyers seek out second-row beach homes because of their high-quality features combined with affordability. If you are looking for a less expensive alternative to oceanfront or waterfront homes, then you’ll want to consider a second-row home.

Why Choose a Home on the Second Row?

Choosing the right home can be daunting. There are a lot of considerations to keep in mind while you go through all real estate options. Does your house absolutely need to be on the beachfront? How important are views to you? What is your budget? All these questions can help guide you through the stressful task of choosing a home.

If you are looking for a home with great views within your price range, then a second-row house is going to be one of the best options. It has a lot of the same benefits as beachfront homes, including amazing views of the water, plus some second-row homes even have accessible beach access. With so many great benefits at affordable prices, it’s little wonder that second-row homes remain a popular Topsail real estate choice.


People come to Topsail Island for the experience of living seaside in a small coastal community. With lush maritime forests, miles of sandy beaches, and abundant wildlife, Topsail Island is a beautiful oasis with stunning views all over the island. Since the location and outdoors are such an integral part of life on the island, it’s important to many people to choose a home with plentiful views of the surrounding water and wildlife.

Due to high demand, however, it may not be feasible for you to buy or rent an oceanfront or waterfront home on the island. In that case, you should consider second-row homes because of the views enjoyable on the property. You will probably encounter some obstruction with the structures in the front row, but you’ll still have beautiful views of the water.

Beach Access

One of the big draws of oceanfront homes is the immediate accessibility of sandy beaches as you walk off your back porch. It’s easy to set up for a day at the crowded beach with your home only steps away. Especially when it’s a crowded summer day, having easy access to your home is a big benefit to families.

While looking at Topsail real estate, you’ll find that a lot of second-row beach homes have easy access to beaches. Thanks to its long coastline, there are many miles of sandy beaches. So, you’ll have no trouble walking over to the beach to find the perfect spot to relax with your friends and family members.


Experiencing the beauty of looking out your living room window and seeing seagulls flying over the waves of the Atlantic Ocean is amazing. Topsail real estate is a popular coastal community to experience the priceless serenity of waking up right on the coast.

Like most coastal communities, Topsail real estate can get quite expensive. Waterfront and oceanfront homes are beautiful and highly desirable. However, these traits can drive up the price of a lot of these properties.

Oceanfront homes can be pricey, often pulling over a million dollars in sale price. If you are searching for homes that give you a true island experience, complete with views of the ocean and other nature scenes, then second-row homes are the best deal. With many of the same benefits that beach houses offer, second-row homes can offer you a much more affordable experience of living at the beach. Often these homes sell for much less than oceanfront or waterfront homes.

With a strong tourism season, if you buy a second-row home, you’ll have no shortage of prospective vacation renters for the summer. A lot of homeowners on the island choose to rent out their homes on the island to make a nice profit, making second-row homes a good investment for those looking for a part-time or vacation home.

Topsail real estate has no shortage of properties with beautiful views and close proximity to sandy beaches. Oftentimes, some of the most expensive homes are right on the beach. If you want to experience the close proximity of the beach, as well as stunning views of the water, but you don’t want to pay the high prices of oceanfront homes, second-row beach homes will be the best option. For those looking to start their search for their next home, you can look at our full selection of homes with water views.

Dec. 21, 2022

Why Choose Topsail Island for Your Next Home

Are you looking for a new place to call home? If you want your next home to be a picturesque town filled with sandy beaches, small mom-and-pop shops, and outdoor adventures, Topsail Island is a beautiful place for you to consider. Though it’s well-known for being a popular tourist vacation destination during the summer months, it’s an excellent place to live full-time or part-time. 

If you are beginning the search to find a new home, then you should consider Topsail real estate. Due to its prime location, mild weather, small-town atmosphere, and affordable island living, many people enjoy visiting and staying on the island. We’ll go into more detail about some of the reasons that make Topsail Island a great place to live and why you should consider choosing Topsail Island to be your next home. 

Climate and Location

Why buy Topsail homes? There are many reasons to buy Topsail homes, but one of the big reasons people enjoy spending time there is because of the climate and location. With beautiful weather and views, it’s the perfect vacation destination or home for those looking to escape the busy city life on the mainland. 

The twenty-six-mile island is located just off the coast of North Carolina, near the town of Wilmington. It is made up of three towns– Topsail Beach, Surf City, and North Topsail Island. All three towns have beautiful beaches, parks, and piers to enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds the island. 

Depending on your real estate needs and community preferences, you may prefer one town over the other. It’s important to take an in-person visit to all three towns before you make a definite decision on the location of your next home. However, all three towns share beautiful outdoor opportunities and a small-town atmosphere that you can enjoy. 

While the island is not immune to possible hurricanes or storms, it is not especially prone to severe rainy weather more than any other area on the North Carolina coast. During the winter months, residents can expect chilly night temperatures in the thirties and cool days in the fifties or early sixties. Because of the mild weather, it’s an excellent place to live full-time, though the island receives the most visitors during the summer and spring months. 

Relaxed Atmosphere

Are you looking to escape the busy grind and stress of living in big cities? Maybe you are retired and looking for a slower pace of life. Or, perhaps, you are looking for a place to raise your kids that has a small-town community atmosphere. Whatever your situation, Topsail Island has a relaxed and slow approach to life that is different from towns on the mainland. 

During the offseason, you can expect quiet winters filled with beautiful empty beaches and a smaller selection of restaurants and bars that remain open. When spring comes around, the island starts coming back to life, with many people coming to experience the warm waters, tranquil beaches, and relaxing island atmosphere. 

Plenty of Shops and Activities

In the center of the island, the town Surf City is known for being the heartbeat of the island, particularly during the warm summer months. Tourists flock to the community for its vacation appeal. Filled with boutiques, delicious seaside restaurants, fun bars, community events, and surfing opportunities, the island comes alive during the summer. 

With fresh seafood plentiful, perhaps even caught right outside of the restaurant, there are many delicious dining options. During the summer months, the restaurants tend to get busy with the influx of visitors vacationing on the island. But, during less busy times of the year, you can enjoy your favorite spots without a long wait time.

Besides the beach boutiques and outdoor activities available, there are also opportunities to learn and understand more about the history of the island. With a rich and interesting history, you won’t be bored learning about Topsail Island at the Missles and More Museum


The island is very active in wildlife conservation efforts, especially the loggerhead sea turtle. Every year, the island is home to nesting turtles. Mother turtles lay their eggs in nests located on beaches throughout the island. Hatchlings will then make their way back to the sea after a period of time. 

Many tourists and locals love to witness the hatchlings make their way back to the ocean. The Sea Turtle Rescue and Rehabilitation Center works to save injured turtles and maintain the beaches, so they are hospitable for the turtle nesting cycle. The center offers tours of the facility, as well as volunteering and donating opportunities for those who would like to get more involved in the preservation of the island’s natural wildlife.

There are also hiking opportunities where you can enjoy the natural beauty of the area. You can take your dogs with you on a walk through the forest or along the beach throughout the different seasons. With the island’s mild weather, walking year-round is entirely possible. 

Affordable Island Living

One of the great benefits of Topsail Island is the affordable living options. Generally, most places located along beaches or the coast remain relatively expensive. Beach houses in popular tourist vacation cities and towns can easily sell for millions of dollars. Because of the peaceful water views and beach access, islands typically carry hefty price tags for most properties as there is always a demand for beautiful water views and beachfront access. 

However, Topsail real estate boasts affordable living options that make it a popular home for retirees, those who want a second home, and families looking for a beautiful place to raise their kids. People who are looking to buy Topsail homes will enjoy the affordable options. Though it’s a popular tourist destination during the summer months, you’ll still find affordable permanent housing options.

With recent real estate developments, including condos and beach houses, you can find a property that fits your budget. Also, depending on which town you want to live in, there are options for various budgets. Surf City and North Topsail Beach have affordable condos for sale that are perfect for those looking to downsize. More often than not, Topsail real estate has oceanfront views or is within walking distance of beaches or parks, no matter what town your property is located in. 

With the island’s stunning beaches, amazing outdoor opportunities, interesting wildlife, and affordability, Topsail is a great place to call home. If you love spending time outdoors and are searching for a home that can provide you with a bit of serenity and tranquility in your daily life, then you should consider looking into Topsail real estate. The island is home to lively summer events and an active local community that make it a fun destination for tourists. In the winter, locals enjoy the calm and chilly beauty of empty winter beaches. Whether you want to live on the island full-time or would like to buy a home for part-time living, Topsail island real estate is an affordable coastal living option. If you’re ready to continue your next home search on Topsail Island, take a look at some of the current listings available or get in touch with our team.