Development

At Charlotte real estate awards, it’s clear the good times are rolling

Construction is booming uptown, as it is in many areas of Charlotte.
Construction is booming uptown, as it is in many areas of Charlotte. dhinshaw@charlotteobserver.com

At this year’s annual Deal Makers Awards on Tuesday, it was clear that the local real estate market boom hasn’t slowed.

Held in the main banquet room at Myers Park Country Club, attendees at the Charlotte Region Commercial Board of Realtors event were singing the market’s praises. Commercial real estate is selling for record levels. Rents are up. Vacancy is down. And the brokers and developers in attendance were mostly optimistic about the months and years to come.

One live survey question during the program, answered by smartphone app, asked attendees when they think the Charlotte real estate market will peak. The most popular answer was 2017, indicating a slight majority of those in attendance think we have at least another year left before the market declines. The second-most popular answer was 2018 – even more optimistic – and the possibility that we’re already at the top of the market came in third.

“In layman’s terms, let’s just say life is pretty good out there,” said Chris Daly, a partner at Childress Klein.

Phil Brosseau, Jr., of CBRE won the group’s overall top producer award, with the highest dollar value production of deals. Ryan Clutter, of HFF, won the top producer award for deals in the Charlotte region.

Even the problems that attendees cited are byproducts of success. For example, land prices in desirable areas are high, because lots of buyers are interested. The cost of construction is still rising, because there are so many projects underway.

That could keep a lid on some new projects and prevent overbuilding – always a concern when a market gets hot.

“We’re still seeing construction prices rise,” said Mike Harrell, a partner at Beacon Partners, which is building an office building at 500 East Morehead Street. “Land is extremely expensive, especially in urban infill markets. So when you combine the cost of land with construction prices, it is really difficult to develop office right now.”

Ely Portillo: 704-358-5041, @ESPortillo

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