The Wilmington Area
The Real Estate market in New Hanover County continues to grow, despite the national trend. In fact, arecent article from CNN and Money Magazine recently projected Wilmington’s median home prices to gain 37% by 2011. The magazine voted Wilmington, NC the 7th best place to buy real estate in the country! Additionally, new home communities are plentiful and property prices remain affordable.
The first permanent English settlers established themselves in the area in the 1720s. Wilmington was incorporated in 1739. A number of the first settlers of the region came from South Carolina and Barbados. Slavery came to the region as landowners used slave labor to take advantage of the region's natural resources. The forest provided the region's major industries through the 18th and 19th century. Naval stores and lumber fueled the economy both before and after the American Revolution.
During the Civil War, the port was a major base for Confederate blockade runners. It was captured by Union forces in February 1865, approximately one month after the fall of Fort Fisher. Since most of the action occurred far from the city, a number of pre-war homes and other historical buildings have been preserved. The most significant event in Wilmington's history is the coup d'état and Massacre of 1898, which became the only instance of a municipal government being overthrown in US history.
Today, Wilmington offers residents and visitors an array of activities, conveniences and employment opportunities. There are almost 50 golf courses, all within an hour range. The city has its own USL soccer team (Wilmington Hammerheads), an expanding airport, an aquarium at Fort Fisher, and beautiful parks like Hugh MacRae, Greenfield Lake and Airlie Gardens. Shopping destinations include Mayfaire Town Center, Lumina Station, and Independence Mall. Of course with both a river and an ocean, there are many water sports and fishing opportunities. For the art enthusiast, Wilmington boasts a variety of museums and art galleries, as well as the Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts. Festivals like RiverFest and the Azalea Festival always bring large crowds for local fun, food and fare.
In 2003, the city received the designation of a “Coast Guard City". Wilmington is now home port for the USCGC Diligence, a United States Coast Guard medium endurance cutter. The World War II Battleship USS North Carolina, now a war memorial, is also based on the Cape Fear River and is open to public tours across from the downtown River Walk.
Wilmington is home to a University of North Carolina campus, a regional medical center, and Screen Gems Studios of North Carolina, one of the largest motion picture and television studios outside of Hollywood. The city was a backdrop for many films such as A Walk To Remember, Blue Velvet, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Empire Records, Black Knight, 28 Days, The Crow, Nights in Rodanthe and Hounddog; as well as television shows such as Matlock, Surface, Little Britain USA, Dawson's Creek and One Tree Hill.
Wilmington has experienced much growth in the last two decades, at times ranking as one of the fastest growing cities in the country. The future of Wilmington looks forward to many new and exciting projects, including a new convention center to be opened by 2010; several development plans along the north end of the downtown RiverwaIk; and Autumn Hall, a residential and retail community along Eastwood Road. Economists have forecast growth in the Wilmington area to be the fastest in the state from 2004-2010, averaging 7%.