Crystal Coast half-backs – why people settle down here instead of Florida

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Crystal Coast half-backs – why people settle down here instead of Florida

Half-backs are to North Carolina as snowbirds are to Florida. For those fleeing the freezing temperatures of New England but who don’t want to suffer in the stifling humidity of the deep south, the Crystal Coast is the perfect compromise — half-way between the two.

“It’s a funny word, but what it stems from is people from way up North end up wandering off after retirement. They want to head where it isn’t so cold anymore, so they go all the way down to Florida, but then they realized Florida is hot and humid to an extreme — so they end up half-way back,” said Wyatt Rike, a real estate professional with Carteret County-based Linda Rike Real Estate. “They ended up finding us, our beaches, and our weather, which is the best-kept secret around. It’s a retirement community of sorts, but that in itself should tell you that it’s paradise: people want to end up here.”

With average year-round temperatures ranging from 84 degrees in the summer to 54 degrees in the winter, it’s the best of both worlds. Residents enjoy sunny summer days with cool ocean breezes, as well as mild winter weather with snow every once in a blue moon — a stark contrast to the muggy summers of Florida and blustery winters of the north.

Aside from the weather, the community around Carteret County is another selling point of the area.

“We’re a welcoming community that has plenty of things to provide for all your wants and needs. For our size, there are plenty of shops, tons of types of food, and local entertainment pretty much every weekend,” said Wyatt. “And as always, there’s no cost to putting on your flip-flops, going over the bridge, walking along the beach, putting your toes in the sand, and enjoying the ocean.”

From Emerald Isle to Morehead City, Carteret County offers a variety of beaches, perfect for swimming, sunning, and surfing. In addition to the oceanfront, the county also has multiple sounds and inlets, many of which are great for boating, fishing, kayaking, and paddle boarding.

While it’s true Florida may offer plenty of opportunities to dip your toes in the water, the popularity of the state as a vacation and retirement destination also means more traffic. In Carteret County, residents enjoy a quieter coastal lifestyle — and a lower cost of living.

“We have some of the most beautiful, clear waters without the population. Everybody else has lots of traffic and we do not, which makes a huge difference. If I have to spend an extra five minutes during my morning commute, I’m upset,” said Kelinda Rike, Wyatt’s sister and another real estate professional at Linda Rike Real Estate. “We also have some of the lowest tax rates that you can find for coastal property, which not only makes buying a home here more affordable to begin with but helps with carrying costs.”

Thanks to a wide selection of homes in varying price ranges, most buyers can find something in their budget around Carteret County. Many options have waterfront views or access, and others are still just a stone’s throw away from the beach. Pricier options offer front-row views of the Atlantic Ocean.

For those thinking of adopting the half-back lifestyle, low-interest rates and a hot market make now the prime time to buy.

“Our houses range anywhere from the twos all the way up to a million-plus, so it just depends what buyers are looking for. If they’re looking for a little bungalow or a cottage around the two mark, we can find them a place in Morehead with some land or a small condo on the beach for around $200k,” said Kelinda.

“To only spend $200k and have a condo with an oceanfront view? You won’t find many other places that offer that kind of lifestyle at that price range.”

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