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Report: Charlotte is a ‘sweet spot’ for homebuying

A jogger passes by a home for sale along Mecklenburg Avenue in Plaza Midwood neighborhood on July 22, 2015.
A jogger passes by a home for sale along Mecklenburg Avenue in Plaza Midwood neighborhood on July 22, 2015. dtfoster@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte is one of the top 10 U.S. housing markets where buying a home makes more sense financially than renting it.

According to a report Wednesday from real estate data firm Zillow, homeowners in the Charlotte metro break even on a home purchase in one year and seven months. The national “breakeven horizon” is one year and eight months.

Zillow compared “breakeven horizons” with job market and income information to rank the top U.S. markets that are the “sweet spots” for homeownership, where buying makes more sense financially than renting. In Charlotte, which ranked No. 6, incomes have risen an average of 5.1 percent over the last year, and employment has grown 2.6 percent.

Both of those figures are much stronger than the national average. According to Zillow, income growth nationally was 2.3 percent over the last year, and employment growth was 2 percent.

“All places on this list are great for those looking to buy a home and settle down,” Zillow’s chief economist Svenja Gudell said in the report. “Not only do they have a strong labor market, but a home purchase in these markets makes a lot of financial sense.”

Zillow found that the median estimated home value in Charlotte was $161,100 in April, and the estimated monthly rental price was $1,244. Nationally, those figures in April were $187,000 and $1,403, respectively.

Right above Charlotte on Zillow’s homeownership list was Raleigh, where the “breakeven horizon” was one year and eight months, where income growth was 2.1 percent and where employment growth was 4 percent over the last year.

San Antonio, Texas, was top U.S. metro where buying a home makes more sense financially than renting, according to the report.

Zillow’s assessment assumes that potential homebuyers can qualify for a mortgage, can afford a down payment and can find homes in their price range. In Charlotte, tighter supply has driven up home values, making homebuying more difficult for many.

Katherine Peralta: 704-358-5079, @katieperalta

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