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Welcome to the typical suburban Charlotte new home

By Allen Norwood
Correspondent

More Information

  • The Big 5

    Top five builders in Charlotte market – Mecklenburg and adjacent counties -- last year. With percentage of the market each builder controls. Data courtesy of Bill Miley at Metrostudy.

    True Homes, 8.9 percent.

    Ryan, 8 percent.

    Lennar, 7.8 percent.

    D.R. Horton, 5.5 percent.

    M/I Homes, 4.6 percent.

    Builders, including both production and custom builders, closed on 6,548 new homes in 2012.


  • Prices climbing again

    The average closing price for new homes in the Charlotte market was in the $230,000s and climbing early this year. Here are the average new-home closing prices for the previous full five years. The average closing price peaked in 2008. Data courtesy of Bill Miley at Metrostudy.

    2012$239,471

    2011$227,874

    2010$228,342

    2009$233,696

    2008$273,624



It’s early afternoon on a Monday, not a day you’d expect things to be bustling at a model home. Yet all three salespeople at the new True Homes model in Indian Land, S.C., are busy.

And here’s why: It’s basically the heart of the typical Charlotte real estate scene these days. The homes covered by the “Riley” model are in the mid $200,000s, the most popular price point for suburban Charlotte homes. And they’re pushing the amenities that buyers crave.

That includes open floor plans, hardwood floors, craftsman style touches both inside and out. And as buyer confidence and ability to borrow increases, other extras hold appeal in the Charlotte market. That includes kitchen backsplashes with special detailing, built in television areas in the family room, built-in pantries and mudrooms, or maybe even a three car garage.

The Observer decided to check out this particular model, but several other Charlotte area home builders offer similar packages.

The Riley plan is a two-story home of about 3,000 square feet. The layout is open and bright. Upgrades abound, because this is a model, and the hardwood, granite and stainless steel gleam. The color theme is today’s popular gray, with splashes of gold and yellow.

Many buyers choosing upgrades

There’s no such thing as a perfectly typical new home model, of course.

Last year, the average was more than $239,000. The market average peaked back in 2008, when it topped $273,000.

True is the biggest builder in the market. Last year, the company requested 585 building permits here and accounted for almost 9 percent of the new-home market.

True builds in 70 communities. This Riley model is in Wakefield South, off Regent Parkway near the former PTL property south of the state line.

Base prices vary from $210,400 to $223,500. Most buyers add upgrades, of course, adding to the base price. True offers popular designer upgrade packages. One is $17,000, the other is $27,500.

About half of her buyers choose the upgrade packages, saleswoman Alissa McDonald said. Some spend less – but some spend more.

The completed model home, with upgrades, is offered at $275,870 – just slightly higher than Charlotte’s average new home price five years ago.

A glimpse at the market

The Riley is a two-story plan with four or five bedrooms. You can get it with 2 ½ baths – or twice that many. The two-car garage is standard, and you can add a third garage bay – like the one on the model – for $6,600.

The standard exterior is vinyl. “Most people have at least some stone or brick,” McDonald said, and a drive through the neighborhood confirms that.

The more expensive designer package includes stainless steel appliances, granite countertops in bathrooms, additional hardwood on the first floor, beamed kitchen ceiling, upgraded cabinets and hardware, tray ceiling with crown molding in the master bedroom. This model offers all those and more.

Inside the front door, the living room and dining room are on the right. The open kitchen, breakfast area and great room stretch across the rear of the house. The stairs don’t descend to the front door, but face the open space at the rear.

The living room could be used as an office, or as some other “flex” space that’s so popular these days.

There’s a butler’s pantry between the dining room and the island kitchen, a nice feature in a house at this price range. There’s a mud room at the entrance from the garage, another popular feature.

The heavy, square-cut door and window moldings are part of a $1,000 Craftsman trim package.

Upstairs, there’s a small vestibule inside the door of the master bedroom, adding a sense of privacy.

The master bath offers both a tub and shower, and the shower is huge – 5 feet long. The double vanity is topped by granite. Three-quarters of her customers, McDonald said, upgrade to granite in the bath.

The laundry room with built-in desk is upstairs, just steps from the kids’ bedrooms. The bonus room is equipped as a family media room, with space to sprawl.

Construction typically takes six months, McDonald said.

If you’re shopping for a house, the Riley offers a glimpse at what you’ll find in the Charlotte market. If you’re selling, of course, it’s a glimpse at what you’re competing with.

Realtors understand that. When this Riley model opened back in April, more than 150 agents and brokers turned out for an open house, McDonald said.

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