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Duck, North Carolina was hardly more than a few homes for local fishermen until the development boom of the 1970s. Prior to that, the surrounding dune area had been so desolate that it was used as a bombing range for military aircraft. My – how things have changed. Today, the strength of the town lies in its tourism and the beauty of the region’s ability to attract people who want to live and work in a resort atmosphere. The Town of Duck did not incorporate until May, 2002, when it became Dare County’s sixth municipality. Population for the Outer Banks and the town of Duck continues to rise at a record pace – nearly double the North Carolina average. Over 40,000 people now live in the Outer Banks and seven million tourists visit the area each year. The growth of the area also brings a high demand for new housing and construction jobs to the region. This also means a higher cost for land and new homes. Most real estate in Duck is sold to out-of-towners, and real estate agents are accustomed to working with clients over the phone, by mail or email. Rental cottages and a few condominium complexes fill the village from sea to sound; there are no hotels and only one bed and breakfast inn. Just a handful of locals make Duck their home. Therefore, vacation rentals dominate the real estate market. Prices for rentals vary, depending on location, which includes beachfront property, semi-oceanfront, oceanside, fronts the beach road, soundside, semi-soundside and soundfront.

Many people come to Duck to purchase a long-term vacation spot for themselves and their families; others plan to eventually retire in their vacation home. Living year-round or part-time in the Outer Banks means beautiful surroundings, a multitude of recreational opportunities, close proximity to great restaurants and shopping. On the negative side, in North Carolina, the beach belongs to the public. Therefore, if the beach is your backyard, it doesn’t really belong to you and you might find visitors wandering through it more frequently than if you lived off the waterfront. Of course, many find this to be of little consequence considering all that the Outer Banks has to offer, such as unparalleled beauty, dozens of beach activities, shopping and fine restaurants, and overall, a very unique place to live. Other beachside communities to consider if you’re planning a long term move to the Outer Banks include Nags Head, Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills, Avon, Buxton, Hatteras and Roanoke and Ocracoke Islands.

Other attractions on the Outer Banks (where the town of Duck is located) include three lighthouses, the largest sand dunes on the East Coast, family activities including festivals, museums and aquariums. The westside of the Outer Banks, which runs from heavily wooded to wide-open, high dunes, has more appeal to those looking to live here year-round, but it has less appeal for visitors because of the distance from the oceanfront. Westside golf courses and marina/canal properties are an exception, and attract a mix of both markets.


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