The summer sun isn’t the only thing heating up the Queen City – the real estate market is absolutely sizzling. Home prices are up, home sales are up and the job market is strong. And to top it off, a recent study by PwC and the Urban Land Institute recently ranked Charlotte as a top 10 real estate market to watch in the country.
Things don’t seem to be slowing down any time soon. Here are four Charlotte real estate trends to watch in the coming year.
(1) Urban and suburban collide.
Mixed-use developments are surging in popularity across the country. More than simply a mix of density and green space, the new “surban” trend is bringing a thoughtful combination of the most desirable traits of the urban and suburban lifestyle to Charlotte’s peripherals. You’ll see it in new developments like Waverly, the 90-acre walkable community with residences, offices, shops and restaurants near the city’s edge at Interstate 485 and Providence Road.
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“The ‘surban’ trend is easy to understand,” says Cindy Barnes with Allen Tate. “People don’t want to encounter traffic and parking issues going from point A to point B. That’s why neighborhoods like Waverly that offer shopping, dining, fitness studios, green space and family friendly amenities all within walking distance are so popular right now.”
And while potential buyers could capitalize on the walkability in the environment that Uptown provides, this new trend capitalizes on what some believe the urban lifestyle has been lacking all along – human connection.
“When you walk down a neighborhood street, you get to meet and greet people who then become a part of your life,” Barnes said. “The sense of community is such a big draw.”
(2) Millennials versus baby boomers.
Current data shows millennials moving out of the Uptown bustle and baby boomers moving in.
“Contrary to popular belief, a lot of millennials are getting ready to get married, have kids and move to the suburbs,” says Stacey Sauls with Keller Williams Realty. “They are looking for more room to spread out and access to high-performing schools.”
Baby boomers, however, are approaching retirement age and are looking for the convenience factor that comes with downsizing.
“Uptown offers the benefit of low-maintenance luxury in a walkable, convenient location,” Sauls said. “It really appeals to empty nesters who no longer want the maintenance and upkeep that comes with a big grassy yard and large home. Plus, they also want the turnkey lifestyle that enables them to travel and visit with their grandkids.”
(3) Condo prices are soaring.
This one comes down to supply and demand: There is simply not enough construction of new condos in the Queen City to meet the current demand.
“We hear whispers here and there, but the lack of new for-sale condo inventory remains a void in the Uptown market,” says Scott Russo with The McDevitt Agency. “Because of the limited inventory environment that exists and no new projects that have been announced, I see the condo market continuing to churn higher.”
For buyers, this means being prepared and getting an early start on their search.
“For properly priced condos in sought after locations, it’s somewhat of a feeding frenzy,” cautions Russo, adding that anything below $400,000 flies off the market.
(4) Extending Uptown.
The Blue Line light rail and its extension – set to connect Uptown to UNC Charlotte in 2018 with stops along NoDa, Optimist Park, University City and more – is sparking at least a couple of new trends here in the Queen City. For one, buyers who wouldn’t think of moving out of Center City are now reconsidering.
“I now encounter buyers who feel that they can live farther from Uptown,” said Barnes. “As long as they can purchase a home close to a light rail station and not worry about driving up I-77 in the morning, then it’s a contender.”
Secondly, the light rail, and all of the growth that comes with it, is capturing the attention of buyers who might have otherwise looked elsewhere.
“I’ve sold to several professors who want to be here to be able to take the light rail up to UNC (Charlotte),” said Dana Burleson with Savvy + Co. “And Crescent has its huge new development all around the station at the Arts District stop, which is also a new draw. I don’t think people are moving here specifically for that, but it’s the really big cherry on top.”
Here’s a look at the average home sales prices for cities, counties and towns in the Charlotte area, according to July 2017 data from the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association.
City of Charlotte $285,574
Uptown Charlotte $286,758
Fort Mill $340,520
Lake Norman $498,461
Lake Wylie $382,558
Rock Hill $206,765
Mecklenburg County $297,774
Alexander County $183,160
Anson County $120,608
Cabarrus County $245,018
Gaston County $189,370
Iredell County $315,367
Lancaster County $269,991
Lincoln County $305,876
Montgomery County $339,791
Stanly County $152,731
Union County $352,227
York County $281,807