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Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts Are Among the Stars Drawn to Figure Eight Island Main Photo

Jennifer Aniston and Julia Roberts Are Among the Stars Drawn to Figure Eight Island


Known as the “Hamptons of the South,” North Carolina’s idyllic Figure Eight Island has become an exclusive haven for celebrities and high-net-worth individuals who want to lounge on the beach, dig their toes into the sand and get away from it all.
Posted: May 02, 2024 by Katie Moore

Known as the “Hamptons of the South,” North Carolina’s idyllic Figure Eight Island has become an exclusive haven for celebrities and high-net-worth individuals who want to lounge on the beach, dig their toes into the sand and get away from it all.

A Hollywood film industry favorite, it and the surrounding area have been featured in some 400 movies since the 1980s.

The summer-home paradise, according to Nick Phillips, a broker at Landmark Sotheby’s International Realty, is laid back and casual, and most important of all, an uber oasis of privacy.

The 1,300-acre private island, accessible only by boat or its private, gated and guarded bridge, is just south of the port city of Wilmington.

Price Range

Prices of single-family houses, the only option available on the island, range from $4 million to more recent sales of up to $12 million to $13 million, Phillips said.

There is not much inventory: There are only six houses currently on the market.

Since January 2022, there have been eight residential sales on the island, Phillips said, adding that four of those sold for $10 million or more, and four sold for less than $10 million.

“The most desirable listings have sold within a few days to a few months, with some of the most significant properties recently selling the first day on the market and in some cases trading before they even made it to the market,” he said.

 

The approximately 480 single-family houses on the island range from the transitional style to modern. Many of the earliest were designed by modernist architect Ligon Flynn, who was based in Wilmington, North Carolina, and did many projects in the area.

“Some of the most recent significant sales havecomprised both traditional and modern designs ranging from 4,500 to over 6,000 square feet,” Phillips said.

What Makes It Unique

“The privacy of the island is unique,” Phillips said. “It’s the only island with a private-gate guarded bridge in the Southeast. This is especially attractive to residents who value supreme privacy. The natural beauty of the island is exceptional as well.”

Kelly Wiggins, broker in charge at Nest Realty, says the island has a “very coastal feel,” with beautiful water views. “It’s known for its exclusivity.”

Luxury Amenities

Although the island is exclusively residential, Wrightsville Beach, which is considered one of the state’s best, and the historic downtown of Wilmington, which has luxury shops, restaurants and entertainment, are only minutes away.

There are several clubs that are close by on the mainland. The top-rated Eagle Point Golf Club, which has an 18-hole course, hosted the 2017 Wells Fargo PGA Championship. Porters Neck Country Club has a four-star-rated Tom Fazio golf course, tennis, bocce and pickleball courts, three swimming pools and a restaurant, and hosts many social events.

Figure Eight Island Yacht Club, whose memberships are available only to residents, serves as a private venue for a variety of activities, including bingo nights, summer kids’ camp, Fourth of July parties and bridge groups. It also has a pool cabana and four clay tennis courts.

For cultural events, residents head to Downtown Wilmington. The Cameron Art Museum, founded in 1962, offers a variety of events and exhibitions and acts as a gathering spot for residents.

The Wilson Center Cape Fear Community College hosts concerts and Broadway productions and other events throughout the year. Live Oak Bank Pavilion at Riverfront Park and Greenfield Lake, amphitheaters, are venues for well-known musicians. Historic Thalian Hall Center for the Performing Arts, which is in an 1858 building, is another popular entertainment venue.

The University of North Carolina Wilmington offers a variety of lectures, events, performances and programs that are open to the public.

Popular shops in Wilmington include the women’s clothing and accessories boutiques S. Worsley, Monkee’s of Wilmington, Beanie + Cecil, Très Bleu, Blended Shoes + Apparel and Island Passage. Men’s shops include Gentleman’s Corner. Blue Hand Home is one of the city’s popular furniture shops.

The many mainland restaurants include Bento Box Sushi Bar and Asian Kitchen and Kipos Hellenic Cuisine. Port Land Grille, Manna and Origins serve modern American fare.

High-net-worth residents with children have a choice of several top-ranked private schools on the mainland. They include Cape Fear Academy, a coeducational, nonsectarian school for students in pre-kindergarten through high school; coeducational college prep Coastal Christian High School, for students in grades 9 through 12; and Wilmington Christian Academy, a co-educational ministry of Grace Baptist Church for students in pre-kindergarten through high school.

Who Lives There

“Although there are some full-time residents, the island tends to be a summer haven for those seeking a beach lifestyle in a uniquely private setting,” Phillips said. He noted that Wilmington, the home of EUE Screen Gems studios, has been frequented by a slew of celebrities, including Barbra Streisand, Nick Nolte, Kathy Bates, Richard Gere, Dustin Hoffman Alec Baldwin, who lived on the island while filming.

Notable Residents

Several celebrities, including actors Jennifer Aniston, Julia Roberts, Ben Stiller, and politicians, including Al Gore and John Edwards, own property on the island, according to published reports. So do John Mack, the former CEO of Morgan Stanley, and University of North Carolina head football coach Mack Brown, according to published reports.

Outlook

As more elite buyers discover the island, real estate prices are escalating, Phillips said, noting that they have doubled in the last five years. “In 2022, we saw our first lot sell for over $5 million,” he said. “Later in 2022, the first residential sales eclipsed $10 million. In 2023, there have been three residential sales at $10 million or more.”

Noting the rising prices even in times of high interest rates, Wiggins is optimistic about the future of the market. “We have been very fortunate in what started out as a little town of Wilmington,” she said. “We are consistently named one of the top 10 beaches and 10 top places to live.”

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