Buying Oceanfront Property on NC Coast

We have almost 330 miles of ocean shoreline in North Carolina, and some amazing oceanfront properties on some of the most spectacular beaches in the nation. But buying waterfront property requires well-informed decision making, and Maya Schultz and Carrie Upchurch, Buyers Agents at, make it our priority to provide our clients with the required financial, environmental, and regulatory information needed when determining the rewards and risks of owning a waterfront property.

Here are some basic items to consider:

What is the typical erosion rate of a North Carolina shoreline?

A: North Carolina Division of Coastal Management studies show an average long-term erosion rate of 2 to 3 feet annually for the entire coast over the last 70 years. However, half the coast has eroded at a rate of 1 foot per year or less. The other half has eroded faster, with a few areas having lost more than 20 feet per year. Ocean shorelines near inlets and inlet shorelines usually experience the greatest fluctuations, on the order of 10 times non-inlet erosion rates for a decade or longer.

Is flood insurance mandatory for coastal property?

Sometimes. If the property is in an identified flood-prone area, federally insured lenders are required to have the building owner provide proof of flood insurance coverage for the life of the lien. If a loan is not federally insured or there is no loan, no law requires flood insurance. Even if not required, when building or buying near the ocean, flood insurance is always a good idea.

Can I rebuild or repair my building if it is damaged by a coastal storm, fire or other hazard?

Maybe. If the damage is less than 50 percent of the building’s market value immediately prior to the damage, you may be able to repair it at its original location. However, if the building is more than 50 percent damaged, repairs must meet the latest setback requirements, floodplain regulations and other building code requirements. Permits are required, as if it were new construction. In addition, repair or replacement on the lot would be prohibited if erosion has left insufficient space to meet the setback at that time. Purchasers should determine if the lot and building presently meet the setback for new construction and eligible for a replacement building, keeping in mind the risk that erosion may make the lot unbuildable in the future.

Please email, text, or call me at your convenience.  808-224-8816

Paul Coffman