Here we are at the end of 2013, looking forward to 2014 and like everyone we’re contemplating what the new year will look like. Cold–we know that because we’ve looked at the forecast for the rest of the week. But that’s just short term–what we’re really wondering about is what will the happen for the rest of the year on the Outer Banks. So to answer that question–here are our 2014 fearless forecasts:
The Outer Banks is going to have the best year it has ever had. That’s not hyperbole–all indications are pointing that way. Activity on early reservations for the summer is strong–Hint: the earlier the reservation is booked the better the selection. We’ve seen modest growth in visitation for the past five years, and there’s no reason to think that won’t continue.
Outer Banks bridges will continue to dominate the local news. This is sort of a no-brainer forecast. The replacement for the Bonner Bridge across the Oregon Inlet is tied up in court, although NCDOT did score a major victory in the first round. A $79.6 million contract has been awarded to replace the temporary bridge where Hurricane Irene forced a breach; and it looks like renovations to the eastbound span of the Wright Memorial Bridge will be completed on time–although a series of winter storms could wreak havoc with that. Tentative plans call for the other span to be closed for an upgrade starting next fall. And plans for the Mid Currituck Bridge appear to be on hiatus, but certainly not dead.
Outer Banks real estate and construction will continue to rebound . . . although it is very doubtful if we will see the type of double digit increases in home prices or exorbitant construction pricing we saw ten years ago. Which brings us to another point–Property owners: construction workers have lots of work right now. Get the improvements and upkeep scheduled for your property as soon as possible so it will be completed for the summer.

That’s three predictions. Would love to hear about any other forecasts out there.