In Charlotte’s housing market, perhaps the only sure thing is unpredictability





Charlotte’s real estate market may be cooling as homebuyers have less pressure to bid tens of thousands of dollars over asking price. Compared to cities like Denver and New York, house prices in Queen City are relatively low, according to local real estate experts.

But experts also warn the market is unpredictable, and affordable housing advocates say big questions about accessibility remain.

Morgan Wisea senior loan officer at Bridgewater Capital, said recent bidding wars have unnerved many buyers in the Charlotte area, where it was not uncommon for sellers to receive dozens of offers and then sell for more than $50,000 over asking price.

It was enough to prompt real estate agents Maceon McCracken sharing a video on TikTok in May in which she discusses her experience with a client.

McCracken shared that her client offered $85,000 over list price and $25,000 in non-refundable due diligence for a 1930s Plaza Midwood home, even though the home had outdated wiring and a slight basement leak. McCracken, who works at Allen Tate Realtors, found her client’s bid was nowhere near the winning bid.

The video went viral.

McCracken said the market is finally “normalizing”. Most recently, she helped the same client sign a contract to buy a home for $40,000 below list price, a significant change from just a few weeks ago.

“Precarious and Unattainable”

“Normal” does not necessarily mean affordable, cautions.

Charlotte’s appeal has increased prices and demand, drawing more people to the area. But advocates of affordable housing say it has also begun to displace people who lived in the state’s largest city before the “boom”.

Ismaail Qaiyim, principal attorney at Queen City Community law firm. Qaiyim also works with the Housing Justice Coalition CLT, which works to educate and raise awareness of housing issues. Caroline Willingham/Carolina Public Press

“Housing [in Charlotte] is not only increasingly unaffordable, but also increasingly precarious and out of reach for people,” he said Ismaail Qaiyim, Principal Counsel for Queen City Community Law Firm. Qaiyim also works with the Housing Justice Coalition CLT, which works to educate and raise awareness of housing issues.

He said many people who are not in the city’s upper income brackets will struggle to keep their homes or gain access to property as house prices and property taxes rise.

Charlotte has had its fair share of controversies surrounding affordable housing and increasing development. In the last city council election, the focus was on housing in the local government — 32.7% of the $185,000 raised by the front-runners came directly from the real estate industry, according to Axios Charlotte.

Qaiyim said he believes developer influence is changing.

“And that’s only really changed recently because of grassroots organizing and how bad things have gotten,” he said.

“(Charlotte grows) for who? There’s this notion that economic growth is good, but people don’t define what economic growth is,” he added. “Does that mean the quality of life will increase for the majority of people in the city…or for people who are being displaced because they have steady incomes and can no longer afford their property taxes?”

“As a resident, you’re conflicted about wanting Charlotte to remain the best kept secret, but being in business, I know the people and businesses who move here will help our economy and our city thrive. The flip side of this coin, the dark side, is that property values ​​will increase.”

real estate agent Maceon McCracken

Qaiyim’s concerns are shared by many, including McCracken. She reflected on the fine line between wanting to see your city thrive while also including all the people who make that city special.

“As a resident, you’re torn to want Charlotte to remain your best-kept secret, but being in business, I know the people and businesses who move here will help our economy and our city grow,” she said . “The flip side of this coin, the dark side, is that property values ​​will go up.”

Charlotte and national trends

real estate agents and brokers Heather Hopkinson said the Charlotte housing market is keeping pace with national trends. She said larger markets like New York first started to slow down and now Charlotte’s is following suit.

Hopkinson also said she sees a repeat of what happened after the 2008 market crash, a time when she saw low valuations and rapidly fluctuating home prices.

She said that in such a fast-moving market, price information on comparable homes is inaccurate after 30 days as prices change, leading to estimates that may no longer match. It’s critical for realtors to explain these market issues to buyers, Hopkinson said, so buyers understand how appraisals and price changes can affect their ability to buy a home.

Qaiyim said the market has not yet stabilized for his group of friends, who have told him about the difficulties they are having buying houses at high prices in a competitive market.

“Anything in Charlotte is overrated because it’s highly profitable,” he said.

“The practical change we’d like to see,” he said, “would be for the county and city to take more action and use their regulatory powers to protect Charlotte residents, limit corporate power and put money back into the community.” communities to invest.”

McCracken acknowledged how unpredictable this market can feel for homeowners and buyers as prices and interest rates fluctuate constantly. Nationwide, mortgage agency Fannie Mae recently forecast that overall home sales will fall 17% from 2021.

“Things are certainly changing,” McCracken said, “but I don’t think it’s headed for a crash. The appeal of the Charlotte area will not change.”

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