A limited inventory of existing homes coupled with slowly-rising interest rates have helped create a competitive real estate market for home buyers in south Charlotte.
Area homes that are priced correctly are receiving multiple offers; sellers are getting their asking price, if not more; and the amount of time properties are generally spending on the market has decreased, experts say.
Supply and demand are driving the south Charlotte market, which currently resembles that of the early 90’s, said Virginia Popovich, Keller Williams agent in SouthPark.
“It reminds me of the days when we were having a lot of relocation folks coming in with the banks. They came in and had to buy a house in a few days, because the inventory was so low and houses were moving so quickly,” she said.
What’s drawing buyers to this part of Charlotte? Popovich said there are a number of assets: proximity to uptown, perceived good school districts and an abundance of private schools, golf courses and shopping.
Allen Tate President Pat Riley said another contributing factor is that Charlotte is a city that historically has developed on the south side first. While the banking industry may not be relocating as many people as they used to, Riley said that hasn’t stopped the influx of retired adults and corporations, among others, noting nearly 30,000 people moved to Mecklenburg County during the recession.
Additionally, interest rates are expected to increase roughly two points over the next 24 months, Riley said, which is always a motivator for home buyers.
“Any kind of interest move on the upward side … causes people to get off the fence.”
Jay White, a Keller Williams agent in the Ballantyne market, said about half their clientele comes from out of town. Even families without school-aged children are drawn to areas with “perceived” good schools, “because it affects their resale.
“There’s a lot of pressure on the market in south Charlotte because of pent-up buyer demand,” White said.
“If you have a good listing in good condition and it’s priced right, it’s selling in days, not weeks and months.”
During the housing slump and recession, White said, areas like Ballantyne didn’t have a large number of distressed properties, yet continued to experience growth in area businesses, jobs and the number of families coming to the area.
White noted the vacuum in existing home inventory can be attributed both to several years of stagnation in new home construction, as well as homeowners staying put.
“A lot of people are in a safe financial position but don’t have the equity to sell and move up (to a bigger home.) They’re sitting tight and doing remodels and not necessarily selling.”
Riley said those who are upside down with their mortgages or who’ve experienced credit problems are also remaining where they are.
But, he said, for those who have a job and good credit, there has never been a more perfect time to buy.
“I’ve been at this 44 years in three different states. I’ve never seen inventory and interest rates so low,” he said, adding that he came to Charlotte in 1991.
“Nothing will be better tomorrow than today, nothing. Because inventories are the lowest they’ve ever been to sell, what I’m buying is the best (price) it’s going to get in ages. In two to three years, builders will be cracking again, interest rates will be up and I won’t have the opportunity to sell and buy at prices of today.”
Prudential Carolinas broker Mike Kasey agreed that south Charlotte properties are seeing multiple offers and moving quickly. “We’ve a little over five month’s supply in inventory,” he said of existing homes in the area.
“When a potential buyer misses out, there’s certainly some disappointment. But we show them some other properties and (eventually) come to a successful close.”
Prudential agent Michael Laine said the Myers Park and Dilworth neighborhoods, which he called perennial favorites among homebuyers, are considered “hot markets.” He added that Wilmore and Chantilly are emerging from transitional neighborhoods and have also become highly desirable.
Lane said good properties that are priced correctly often sell within the first week they’re listed, some as quickly as the same day. He’s seen offers close to or at the asking price within two hours of properties being listed.
“It’s become a sellers’ market,” he said.
“Buyers who don’t understand that won’t get a home in a place like that.”
Trenda: 704-358-5089; Twitter: @htrenda
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