Development

Charlotte beats Nashville, Atlanta in real estate measures, group says

July 2014 file photo of apartments under construction on South Boulevard.
July 2014 file photo of apartments under construction on South Boulevard. mhames@charlotteobserver.com

Charlotte beat regional competitors Atlanta and Nashville on four of eight key real estate measures such as office vacancy rates, GDP growth and growing rents, according to the Wilbert Group.

But Charlotte lags in other measures, such as housing price increases and major economic development wins (i.e. luring big companies). You can read the Wilbert Group’s white paper, called “Southern Skylines,” online here.

“This report really confirms what we are seeing in the marketplace,” said Tony Wilbert, founding principal of The Wilbert Group, in a statement. “Many of our Atlanta-based commercial real estate clients are expanding in Charlotte, and on the residential and multifamily side, there is a lot of buzz about Nashville.”

Here’s a look at the four measures Charlotte “won”:

▪ Class A office rent increase: Charlotte had the fastest growing rents, up 2.9 percent on average since 2009. Nashville’s fell 3.3 percent over the same time, while Atlanta’s rose 1.6 percent.

▪ GDP Growth: Charlotte’s rose 23.8 percent since 2009, just ahead of Nashville’s 23.5 percent and well ahead of Atlanta’s 12.6 percent.

▪ Job growth: The Charlotte metro area’s employment base rose 32 percent since 2009, increasing from 816,900 at the depths of the recession to over 1 million now. Nashville jumped 20 percent, while Atlanta rose 9 percent.

▪ Office vacancy: Charlotte’s Class A office vacancy rate stands at 6.2 percent, compared with 16.1 percent in Atlanta and 9.5 percent in Nashville.

And here are the measures Charlotte “lost” on:

▪ Home price increase over the past five years: Charlotte’s home prices are up 9.8 percent, compared with 17.7 percent in Atlanta and 19.5 percent in Nashville.

▪ Home price increases since 1991: Over that time frame, Charlotte’s prices are up 99 percent, almost doubling. That’s more than 95 percent in Atlanta, but less than 152 percent in Nashville.

▪ Apartment vacancy: Nashville has the highest apartment occupancy rate, at 95.5 percent, though all are above 93.5 percent.

▪ Economic development “wins” for 2014: Atlanta drew the most corporate relocations out of the three cities last year, which makes some sense, since it is the largest city.

It’s also worth keeping in mind that “winning” on these measures is mostly good from the perspective of landlords and home owners. For example, having the lowest apartment vacancy rate isn’t great if you’re looking to rent an apartment, and having the fastest-growing office rents is not that good from the perspective of those leasing office space.

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Twitter: @ESPortillo

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