The charming beach town where Bill Gates and his ex, Ann Winblad, reportedly used to travel for private getaways even after they broke up and the Microsoft founder got married isn’t just for billionaires – it’s a popular destination for families and others looking for the classic beach vacation.
Corolla, North Carolina, is located near the northern end of the Outer Banks. It offers secluded retreats, sandy beaches, well-rated restaurants and attractive homes spanning from the sound to the ocean.
The town is known for its herd of wild Spanish mustang horses plus attractions like the picturesque Currituck Beach Lighthouse and Whalehead, a historic manor with park-like grounds that hosts a weekly wine festival.
The area’s recreation offerings include water sport rentals, a golf course, skate park and mini-golf.
The local real estate market has seen major growth over the past year. The residential median sale price in the Outer Banks was $475,000 in March, up 87% from a year earlier, according to the Outer Banks Association of Realtors. Homes in the area span two counties – Dare and Currituck – the latter is where Corolla and where houses were spending an average of just 69 days on the market as of March. That was down 43% from a year earlier.
The market appears to be favorable to buyers in Corolla itself, Realtor.com data show. The median listing price in the town is $559,000, while the median sale price is $445,000.
For anyone who feels as captivated by the town as Gates did, here's what you can get in Corolla, North Carolina, with a $1.3 million budget:
Porpoise Point - $1.295 million
This oceanfront home sits on high elevation not in a flood zone, plus it’s got a private pool.
The 2,975-square-foot home includes six bedrooms, six bathrooms and one half-bath, according to the listing with Cooper Hawk and Jenny Hawk of Outer Banks Realty Group.
The open floorplan offers lots of space for hosting guests, plus ocean views throughout. The great room includes a fireplace.
Five of the bathrooms include en suite bathrooms.
The ground floor features a game room with a kitchenette.
The outdoor space may be the highlight of the property. There are decks on the rear of the second and third floors overlooking the ocean. The property also includes a private pool and hot tub, and it’s "steps away" from community tennis courts.
Whalehead Drive - $1.2 million
This just-listed property features three levels of decks wrapping around the home, offering views and plenty of space for big gatherings just 200 yards from the beach.
The 3,598-square-foot home includes eight bedrooms, eight bathrooms and one half-bath, according to the listing with Matt Myatt of Keller Williams – Outer Banks.
The bright and airy top level features an open floorplan. The kitchen has a large breakfast bar, while the family room has a fireplace.
There’s also a game room with a kitchenette.
The bedrooms allow for a variety of sleeping configurations and many guests. Seven of them include private en suite bathrooms.
The rooftop crow’s nest offers views of the lighthouse and ocean. The outdoor space also includes a private pool, a cabana with a ceiling fan, a shaded hot tub, porch swings and an outdoor restroom and shower.