Home sales in south Charlotte have surged in a year’s time, according to data from Carolina Multiple Listing Services.
In 2011 there were 2,995 home closings in the south Charlotte area compared to 3,747 closings in 2012, a 25 percent increase, according to MLS data.
The MLS figures show that Area 5 saw 1,974 homes sell in 2011 compared to 2,415 homes in 2012. The area includes the neighborhoods of Myers Park, Dilworth, SouthPark, Olde Providence, Ballantyne, Stonecroft and Piper Glen.
Area 4 saw 1,021 homes sold in 2011 compared to 1,332 in 2012. That area is southeast Charlotte and includes Matthews, Eastover, Elizabeth, Cotswold, Chantilly, Providence Plantation, Landsdowne and Stonehaven.
According to Carolina MLS data, housing inventory citywide has continued a downward trend, decreasing 42.7 percent in December 2012 compared to December 2011.
That trend continued in Area 5, which includes Ballantyne, Blakeney and Piper Glen. The area saw a 48.8 percent decrease in new listings during 2012, declining from 1,324 in December 2011 to 678 homes in December 2012.
Area 4, which includes Cotswold, Landsdowne, and Sardis, experienced a 34 percent decrease from December 2011 of 698 homes in inventory compared to December 2012 with 460 homes in inventory.
The result? Good news for sellers.
“I am seeing growth in home sales in my area,” said Ted Goldsmith, a real estate agent with Allen Tate’s Ballantyne office. “But what I’m seeing in south Charlotte and Wesley Chapel, Marvin and even the northwest quadrant of Union County on into Fort Mill and Indian Land, is buyers getting multiple offers. I’ll work with a buyer and we talk about a house and three days later it’s gone. Ballantyne is doing great.”
Debe Maxwell with Savvy + Co. Real Estate agreed.
“I just showed a property to a client on Saturday and reminded them that Monday was the magic day if you are going to make an offer,” she said. “The client called on Monday and wanted to see the property again, and sure enough, the selling agent said they had two other offers. My client had to pay a little bit more but won the bid.”
“You really have to be a strategist as a Realtor these days because the inventory is so low and we’re seeing multiple offers everywhere,” Maxwell said. She sells primarily in Midwood-Plaza, Elizabeth, Dilworth, Myers Park, SouthPark and along the Providence Road and Carmel Road corridors.
She said MLS figures show that 16 homes have sold in Piper Glen in the past six months. In 2012, 37 homes sold in the upscale neighborhood at an average price of $651,486. That compares to 2011 when 26 homes sold at an average price of $541,610.
Maxwell said sales in older south Charlotte neighborhoods such as Beverly Woods, Beverly Crest, Madison Park and Olde Providence are also climbing. She said the average home price in Olde Providence has jumped to $390,000.
The biggest difference from 2008, when the real estate market grew sluggish at the beginning of the recession?
“Buyers’ expectations and price points,” said Goldsmith.
The agent said comparing 2011 to 2012 in his office, “our sales are up 32 percent. That’s significant. Things are selling, but the key is the perception of the house. What’s selling is a perfect house at the right price. They are clearly staged homes that are primed and ready to go.”
Goldsmith said his buyers, who are primarily relocations to the area, want a house that is “impeccable” with no remodeling or repainting to do.
“Buyers really are looking for perfection,” he said.
Pricing is making a big difference in sales, he added, saying that homes in the $200,000 to $300,000 range and $400,000 to $600,000 range seem to be moving as “two hot price points.” He added that homes more than $1 million are seeing sluggish sales.
“Sellers have become much more realistic and are pricing their homes better, but I’m still seeing multiple offers that are coming in more than the listing price,” said Maxwell.
“I’m seeing, on average, homes selling in about a six-month period, compared to two years ago it was eight, nine, 10 or 12 months on the market.”
Maxwell said in recent months she has seen an increase in south Charlotte buyers who have been wanting to move to a new neighborhood but have been cautious.
“A lot of folks have been thinking ‘I can’t wait until this market is moving,’ ” she said. “People are ready to get up from underneath their current homes and make a change whether it’s moving up or downsizing – they are ready to go.”
In Area 5, the average sales price increased 35.4 percent during 2012 to $379,968, while Area 4 saw the average sales price increase 13.1 percent to $303,343.
Interest rates on a 30-year mortgage loan are at 3.5 percent, but Goldsmith added that lenders are requiring much more paperwork. He said that most sales are taking 45 days from offer to closing.
Goldsmith said schools continue to be big attractions for buyers, and that south Charlotte schools as well as schools in Fort Mill and Union County are “an easy sell.”
“Ballantyne is one of my key markets and I think one of the key things is that there is a lot of retail and restaurant growth in the area right now,” he said. “Is it pushing the real estate sales? I don’t know but it seems to be helping. Maybe it’s the convenience of having so much nearby.”
Conroy: 704-358-5353; Twitter: @ConroyKathleen
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