There is no question that Wilmington, NC, is a highly desirable area.

With the Cape Fear River on one side, the Atlantic Ocean on the other, and a charming downtown in-between, it’s a place that most can only dream of living.

There are beautiful beaches for relaxing, inlets for cruising, mild winters, and many activities year-round. However, like other areas of the country, we deal with extreme weather. While northern states have snowstorms or blizzards, we have hurricanes and tropical storms. When buyers are looking to buy in Coastal North Carolina, there’s one question that’s top of their minds – how much does it flood in Wilmington?

Flooding can be unpredictable.

Living on the water is a position everyone dreams of being in at least once in their life. While there are many obvious perks to moving to a tranquil beach town like Wilmington, the flood zones are a viable cause for hesitation. 

No one wants to buy in a community that floods. However, we live on the coast where there is lots of water, and there are communities that we can just expect will flood when a large storm comes through.

Find a flood map.

Of course, not all communities are that transparent. As a solution, there are flood maps that will tell you the chances of a property flooding. Each property in our area is assigned a flood zone based on elevation and proximity to a water body. This zone can determine if lenders require flood insurance. However, flood zones don’t guarantee your home will or will not be damaged by flooding.

Most properties in the area, such as Wrightsville Beach, Figure Eight Island, and Topsail, are considered moderate to high flood zones. However, only 10% of New Hanover County is categorized as high-risk flood zones despite its waterfront properties. Oak Island and the majority of Kure Beach are elevated regions that are at low risk for flooding.

How to Find a Low Flood-Risk Property.

In addition to flood maps, there are other ways to find out about flooding. If flooding is a significant concern for you, here are some steps you can take to verify the odds are low for your new home flooding:

  • Research: Because of local news outlets and social media, we’ve all heard of local communities that were hard hit by flooding in recent hurricanes. Be mindful of these communities and understand why those issues occurred. Take the steps necessary to avoid them, and keep in mind that the city and county have been making repairs and upgrades since the storm to alleviate these issues.
  • Find out the home’s elevation: There are phone apps and websites that can give you this information. If it’s a high lot, the chances of flooding are lower. There is no guarantee your home won’t flood, but it’s one of the multiple factors to consider concerning the others.
  • Chat with neighbors: This can be in person or part of a neighborhood Facebook community. Ask them how the area fared during past storms. Did homes flood or just streets? If the flooding was caused by malfunctioning equipment, has it been fixed?

While Wilmington has experienced damage from flooding, the city has worked to combat rising sea levels. The famous Riverwalk is also built to combat incoming water from the river, and county guidelines also require structures to be constructed within a 100-year floodplain.

Hurricanes are a trade-off that we must endure to live on our beautiful coast. If you have any questions about purchasing a home in the Wilmington area, give us a call at 808-224-8816, or email at