Vacation Home: Make your home away from home in Bald Head Island

Today the island takes it up a notch with modern cottages, marinas, golf clubs and small shopping districts that hold restaurants, markets and shops.

Bald Head Island
Photo courtesy of Bald Head Island Limited

At some point in life, we all want to get away to a secluded island and shuck off life’s responsibilities. Bald Head Island is most likely the closest we Northern Virginians will get.

On this barrier island where residents live as one with nature, only a ferry gets you to the island—instead of cars, golf carts are used for transportation around the 5.8-square-mile (3.9 of it being land) island made up of beaches and dunes, maritime forest, freshwater lagoons and salt marshes.

Home to just 158 residents (according to the 2010 census), the island is also home to wild boar and 260 species of birds, is a nesting ground for loggerhead turtles and in the past was a home to Native Americans (used as a seasonal retreat), pirates (Edward Teach, aka Blackbeard, and Stede Bonnet, known as the gentleman pirate) and bootleggers.
Today the island takes it up a notch with modern cottages, marinas, golf clubs and small shopping districts that hold restaurants, markets and shops.

Development and Vacation Homes

No one ever comes to Bald Head to buy a home. They come to visit and fall in love with Bald Head, and they choose to buy a home. It is one of the fascinations about Bald Head; it is such a learning place,” says Jeff Leonard, director of sales at Bald Head Island Limited Real Estate Sales. “There is that piece of nature, and [buyers] want to have that nature become a part of their life. That is one of the reasons we’re seeing the profile of the buyer go to the younger generation—Gen X, Gen Y—really getting that buyer who [is] buying it with their parents and children and having that piece of nature come back into play. It’s a different world.”

Related: What to do and see during a vacation to Bald Head Island

Roughly 90 percent of the 1,200 homes on Bald Head Island are used as second, third or even fourth vacation homes, says Leonard—“A lot of folks have multiple homes throughout the country or in the Caribbean”—and of those, about 50 percent are buyers coming from North Carolina. But he says the intrigue of owning in Bald Head does creep up the I-95 corridor.
Of those vacation homes, the majority of them are single-family. There are some opportunities in condominium and townhome purchases, but Leonard says they are of the older set, built about 15 to 20 years ago, and there are “no real plans in the way of building more.” Lot availability varies in size. And a new community, Cape Fear Station, being built by Whitney Blair Custom Homes, a 2016 Southern Living Custom Builder of the Year, is offering new homes—24 in total with phase one being built now—that sit on a fifth of an acre and range from 2,100 to 2,200 square feet for $700,000 to $1 million.
But resale is where a lot of deals are made. Leonard says this past January and February, the market for resale was nearly 300 percent over the sales budget and that he “hasn’t seen a year like this since 2007.”
Of the homes on the island, almost 500 of them are used as investment properties with owners renting them out, a process Leonard says is very easy to do on the island as there are property management companies ready to help buyers and renters enjoy this little piece of heaven in North Carolina.

Real Estate

$812,000 median sales price
$326 price per square foot
5% single residents
100% homeowners
$94,625 median household income

Read more about what to see and do in Bald Head Island.

(June 2017)