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Frequently Asked Questions About Charlotte

a man thinking of a questionFAQ’s About Charlotte, About Home Buying In NC, Communities, and More

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The number one question in the summer of 2009,

Q. “How is the real estate market in Charlotte?”

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My answer hasn’t changed much in the last 18 months… It is a Buyers market, prices are stable, and our strong local economy keeps creating jobs, so demand remains relatively high. In the summer of 2007 as the national housing market dipped to new lows,– and the financial sub-prime mess was just being recognized as a crisis, Charlotte real estate carried on, almost totally unaware. Business was slowing, but the economy as slowing as a whole.

According to Standard and Poors’s Case Shiller report of the top 20 housing markets in the US, Charlotte home prices rose all 4 quarters of 2007, and in those 20 major markets, led the nation in appreciation for the year.

And that has continued through the summer of 2008- though prices rose the first quarter, they’ve fallen ever so slightly the last few months– as in .2% over 2007, barely measurable.

Prices tell one story, sales another- Sales in 2008 are way off 2007- we are much slower, about 30 % slower thru the first 6 months of 2008. New Home Sales are worse, approaching 50% off last summer. The sales slow down began in the 3rd quarter of last year… it is a testament to the strength of the Charlotte market fundamentals that even after nearly 10 months of dramatically slower sales, prices have only given back a minuute amount of the gain.

Once people hear this,their next question is Why, why haven’t prices fallen and whats to keep them from falling in the future? Excellent Question, I think there are atleast 3 reasons…that yield, for the most part, the the same answer.

First is that Charlotte remains affordable— by that I mean, by any index, the average home price is affordable by a large Percentage of the population– PMI the large private mortgage insurer rates cities on a 100 points scale, considering anything above 100 affordable. Charlotte’s 114 scale is the most affordable in the south- according to Wall Street darling Radar Logic. theonly objectively affordable city in the major markets.

Another reason prices haven’t and won’t is because most Charlotte home prices here never ran up exorbitantly in the first place. We’ve had steady appreciation in averaging 3-4% annually, so with no hyper balloon like appreciation, there is no balloon to pop. To the extent a few areas went up quicker than the city average, thats where we ware seeing the largest price reductions today

Last , and most important is that our strong local economy is creating jobs at a much greater pace than the national economy– well paying jobs that stimulate increasing housing demand. In 2007, the three cities that appreciated in value- Charlotte, Portland And Seattle, all had strong local economies creating well paying jobs.

That’s it in a nutshell- it’s a strong buyers market here, you’ll find a good selection of homes, prices are stable- and the economy creating jobs makes me believe that Charlotte has a bright future.

Q. “What are the nice areas? usually related to the very Big Question, Where should we live?

The first thing to notice is that this is by definition the answer is completely subjective– whats nice to one person may not be nice to the next. So what is it you are looking for? Also- if you are coming to Charlotte for a job, where is your job located? In almost every case, if you are working north of Charlotte, for example in Huntersville or Mooresville, there really isn’t any reason to spend much time on South Charlotte– and vice versa, if your work is in south Charlotte- say Southpark or Ballantyne, there wouldn’t be a lot of reason to look north of town—there are good choices in both- with the lone possible exception might be if you told me you had a big boat and wanted to live on Lake Norman- you can do that and work in Southpark!

If you work Uptown, or work from home, you can live just about anywhere.

What is most important? If its a short commute to Uptown, then perhaps its convenient in town living? The more affluent will prefer Myers Park, Eastover, Dilworth, Southpark… for more affordable options, others may like Belmont, Mt Island Lake, close in Huntersville, or the University area..

If its schools, I would recommend you do some school research- my site offers a good place to start, for both public, private and parochial, then we’ll search for homes in those school districts. School districting is somewhat complex, and varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, but suffice to say, all jurisdictions have good schools, average schools and below average schools, so good research is the right answer. I’d recommend you beware of anyone saying XYZ schools are bad or great… the answer is typically much more complex than that.

Are you looking for a home in a community with amenities? Good news, you’ll find these throughout the area, generally more on the outer rings of Charlotte, but not always, as pools have been popular in the larger communities for a long time. If you are totally new to the area, I highly recommend these, as these community gathering spots are wonderful to meet other people who most likely are also new to Charlotte.

The good news is there are many good neighborhood choices in Charlotte, and to help you find the right one for your family you can explore my website, research schools, or the fastest way is to just give me a call, and I’ll try to help get you started… 704-351-1519, so you can narrow down your home search. I look forward to talking to you about the best real estate market in the US.

Q. Where would I live if I wanted a luxury home in Charlotte?

Of course this is highly subjective too, but I’ll give it a try… In Charlotte, the very top of the market begins around $1.5Million, and for those homes, it would most likely be one of five areas- Myers Park or Eastover for close in luxury living- For lake living, its the Point on Upper Lake Norman, or the Peninsula on the Lower Lake, both are golf and water communities… to the south, the Sanctuary on Lake Wylie is a winner for those looking for privacy and seclusion on large acre estates- 3-10 acres with new homes close to Charlotte and the airport. Southpark, south of Myers Park, and its tony neighborhoods of Foxcroft and Morrowcroft, are very popular among newcomers, or, if you want country club living near Southpark, try Seven Eagles at Quail Hollow. If you want acreage, and/or horses, it’s a Union County address in Weddington, Waxhaw or Marvin you are looking for. If you are thinking country club in low tax Union County, there is only one, The Club at Longview with the area’s only Signature Jack Nicklaus golf course. Providence Downs South has become a popular haven for newcomers with it’s great selection of custom homes, amenities and new schools. If you are running that tech company in Ballantyne, you’ll find an attractive selection of newer homes in the 1-2M range. Each of these areas have homes below the $1.5 mark as well, but it is hard to get into the Sanctuary or the Point for much below $1.2, and of of course larger homes on the water or on the fairway at Longview are most frequently between $2 and $3M.

Just a step below there are many beautiful luxury homes in the 800-1.5M range, in just about all the areas described above, plus many more. True Myers Park starts around 800K, Lake Wylie (waterfront) from 800K-1M and up, the Palisades, custom homes from the low 700’s, more in the 900’s and the new Ranch property is in the 1.5 to 3M range. South Charlotte has many homes in that 800-1.5 range in the Ballantyne area, along Route 51, Providence Road, and in the various country clubs like Providence Country Club and Piper Glen. Around Southpark, look to Stonecroft, Colony Road, Pellyn Woods, the Conservatory on Park Rd, or Sharon View Road.

Union County has many 800K- $1.5M plus communities, all slightly different combinations of land, amenities, and houses in communities like Chattelaine, Skyecroft, Providence Downs, Providence Downs South, Kingsmeade and more.

Lake Wylie has a growing contingent- existing homes at River Hills and Riverpointe, and new waterfront communities at Reflection Pointe and HandsMill. Plus the entire area known as the Palisades, with homes from the $500’s to $3M at the Ranch, a genuine resort lifestyle in Charlotte.

Choices- Kinds of Homes

Closest to Uptown, you’ll have your choice of larger estate homes, older children homes, or homes built for empty nesters. Most of these are either infill or a tear-down. You’ll find homes under construction (yes they still build spec here) , never lived in homes and newer homes. Most of the older homes are bought by builders and redone. On the outer rings you’ll see the greatest selection of custom homes built to exquisite detail- this is a very competitive niche in Charlotte, I think you will be impressed with the details and the quality. Charlotte has been such a strong housing market for so many years, that developers have required builders to build inventory- that is why there is always a good selection of homes ready now at the Sanctuary, Longview, Providence Downs South or slightly less expensive Springfield in Ft. Mill.

Condominiums

If you are searching for a luxury condominium, your search is much easier, it’s either Uptown or Southpark, depending mostly on work- if you work in Uptown, that will be a leading contender, but if not, many feel Southpark is a bit more complete today with extensive retail along with fine dining and theater. There are also a few very upscale condo projects in Myers Park if you like that area, Rosedale being the newest and latest top tier project.

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The McDonald Group
Wilkinson and Associates ERA Powered
8604 Cliff Cameron Dr ST 110
Charlotte NC 28269
704-390-6221 Cell
704-393-0048 Office
Licensed in NC & SC
USAA Certified
ERA Luxury Home Certified

Charlotte Communities Online

Terry McDonald [email protected]   704-351-1519

Bobby McDonald [email protected] 704-351-1519