Building noises fill the air on a street within a southwest Charlotte subdivision in Steele Creek, as a small bulldozer scoops up gravel and rolls to an empty lot awaiting construction.
A flatbed truck rumbles in with wood supplies, while a drill whines away. It’s all music to the ears of local broker/realtor John Buchanan – and others like him – who are paying close attention to Charlotte’s real estate market.
This region drew attention last fall, when Realtor.com ranked it as being one of the nation’s hottest 50 ZIP codes. Steele Creek’s suburban 28273 placed No. 41 on the listing, which Realtor.com developed using the site’s nationwide supply and demand data.
Both home sales and new home starts are up throughout the Charlotte region. But new home construction is moving at a faster pace in the Steele Creek area compared to the city as a whole, according to Metrostudy, which tracks new-home construction.
So far this year, the 28273 area hasn’t shown signs of slowing down, according to national and local experts. Realtor.com’s focus includes the Yorkshire, Brown Road and Griers Fork neighborhoods, and elsewhere.
“There is still inventory at the right price points,” says Javier Vivas, the website’s manager of economic research. “It just keeps attracting (buyers) and being a magnet.”
Even with new construction, Steele Creek buyers must move fast. Buchanan points out a ‘sold’ sign staked in the ground at one of the homes still underway, showing that buyers aren’t even waiting for finished properties.
At his work base, the Allen Tate Realtors office in Steele Creek’s Ayrsley community, “It gets frenzied in here because it’s multiple offer situations everyday.”
As realtors enter the traditionally busy spring selling season, here’s why they expect this area to remain popular:
▪ Prices are right: Median sales price for homes in the Steele Creek region in March was $193,475, compared to the Charlotte-area average of $220,950, according to the Charlotte Regional Realtors Association, which reports on the local market using Carolina Multiple Listing Services data.
Steele Creek’s average sales price was $194,180, compared to the Charlotte-area’s $271,351.
“We have a mix of opportunities here” – from townhomes to single-family homes to luxury properties, according to Brenda Hayden, realtor/broker with Keller Williams South Park.
“If you’re downsizing, there’s something for you, if you’re upsizing, there’s something for you.”
▪ Speedy home sales tempt owners to sell their properties: Steele Creek homes stayed on the market for only 20 days in March, compared to the Charlotte-area average of 55 days, according to the realtors association.
▪ Millennials: These days, members of the 18-34 age group are more likely to recognize the financial benefits of purchasing a home than other first-time buyers, according to a new homebuyer insights report from Bank of America.
Realtor.com keeps track of the ones buying Steele Creek properties. And they’re bringing more spending power compared to other areas, according to Vivas. Realtor.com research shows older millennials in the 25-34 age group earn a median household income of $64,000. That compares to about $56,000 nationally.
▪ Its western 28278 neighbor: Access to water sports at Lake Wylie, green spaces like McDowell Nature Preserve and shopping opportunities at Charlotte Premium Outlets help boost 28273’s appeal, realtors say.
▪ Potential: Hayden, who says she’s lived in the area for almost two decades, calls southwest Charlotte “the next frontier.”
“Other areas of Charlotte are landlocked,” Hayden says. “We have plenty of land...There’s a lot of development going on right now.”
New home starts have been going up much faster in this ZIP code than the overall Charlotte market, according to Metrostudy.
In 2016, the 28273 area saw a 161 percent increase in new home starts compared to the previous year, while the overall Charlotte market saw a rise of just over 5 percent, according to Jay Colvin, Metrostudy’s Carolinas director.
“It’s important to note that we are coming off of lows in production during this time frame, so big gains are expected just from a recovery stand point,” Colvin says via email. “To put it in perspective, the 28273 ZIP code is still only producing about 48 percent of the previous peak back in 2007.”
On the move
Other hot ZIP codes in the Charlotte region in the last six months, according to Realtor.com:
▪ 28212 (Wynwood, Woodberry Forest, East Forest, Farm Pond, Idlewild Brooke, others)
Median list price: $136,000
Median household income: $36,000
Median days on market: (the time it takes to sell a property) 20 days
Listing views: 4.8 times the U.S. average
▪ 28262 (Harris-Houston, Arbor Hills, University City)
Median list price: $207,000
Median household income: $47,000
Median days on market: 44 days
Listing views: 3.1 times the U.S. average
▪ 28213 (Newell, Back Creek Reserve, Whispering Oaks, College Downs)
Median list price: $174,000
Median household income: $46,000
Median days on market: 44 days
Listing views: 2.4 times the U.S. average
▪ 28269 (Highland Creek, Davis Lake-Eastfield, Derita Statesville, Farmington)
Median list price: $220,000
Median household income: $64,000
Median days on market: 51 days
Listing views: 3 times the U.S. average