Known for its eclectic mix of history and modernity, the city of Charlotte, North Carolina has been a hotbed of growth in the last few decades thanks to its status as the second-largest banking city in the country. The Queen City is a regular on “Best Places” lists each year, and its housing market is typically one of the strongest in the country, even during times of recession. However, the COVID-19 pandemic has shuttered industries and social activities across the country since March. How is the Charlotte metro area’s housing market faring, and what does it mean for prospective buyers?
A Tale of Two Markets: Before and After the Pandemic
Though 2019 began with a government shutdown, Charlotte’s housing market suffered only a slight dip before rebounding with momentum that carried it into 2020. It’s estimated that about 60 people were moving to the area every day, drawn to the strong local economy, steady job creation, and retirement friendliness.
“Before COVID-19 and the economic crisis, the 16-county Charlotte housing market was on a run of positive gains in sales,” said Canopy Realtor Association president John Kindbom. “This actually started in December 2019 and basically continued up until the crisis.”
Once the pandemic hit, the nation’s entire housing market was dealt a heavy blow. How has Charlotte, a historically strong market, fared so far? Here’s a year-over-year snapshot::
- Inventory for the region is down about 25%, hovering around two months’ supply.
- Currently home listings average about 38 days on the market, compared to 47 days this time last year.
- The average sales price sits at $325,403, while the median sales price is $275,000. These prices have increased 7.1% and 8.1% respectively.
- The average list price is down 4.1%, but the original list price to sales price ratio has increased to 97.7%, meaning sellers are reaping the financial benefits of the strong housing demand.
Indeed, Charlotte’s housing market seems to be a mixed bag. New listing activity, though still weak, looks to be improving. And while locations closer to the city limits are feeling the squeeze of tighter inventories and higher prices, several of the surrounding counties show year-to-date figures of growing pending contract activity.
Charlotte Homebuyers Should Prepare for the Hustle of Competition
The Mortgage Bankers Association has noted a recent uptick in mortgage applications. As of May 13, North Carolina saw double-digit increases week-over-week, signaling a rise in buyer confidence. With the state’s first phase of reopening on May 8, real estate agents are continuing to conduct business following strict state and CDC guidelines. Buyers should expect most open houses to remain virtual, and that they may still be requested to wear protective items like gloves and masks for private home tours.
Safety measures aside, buyers should also be aware that the usual spring market has been delayed, with transactions within the last few months happening in a safer, but slower manner. This could mean pent up demand, with buyers potentially facing the same challenges of other high-demand markets: extremely tight inventory that forces prices upward.
“Our message to buyers has been that they be prepared, that they get lender pre-approvals in place, and that they realize that as the market heats up they could have less room for negotiation and be in multiple offer situations,” said Kindbom.
Is it Worth it to Buy a Home in Charlotte Right Now?
Though the Charlotte region is unquestionably in a seller’s market right now, there’s a good reason for it: more and more people think it’s the perfect place to call home.The city enjoys a relatively low cost of living, a strong local economy and steady job creation that residents of all ages can benefit from. With a major international airport and access to major highways, Charlotte is also an attractive choice for entrepreneurs and frequent travelers.
Sports aficionados can enjoy the area’s multiple professional teams, including the Carolina Panthers football team, the Charlotte Hornets basketball team, and a major league soccer team on the way. For nature lovers, the city lies between Lake Norman — the largest lake in North Carolina — and Lake Wylie, bordering the South Carolina state line. Two hours to the mountains and three hours to beaches, its position in the Piedmont region lends itself to mild weather, suitable for countless outdoor excursions, almost year round. Children have no shortage of activities to enjoy, like the rides at nearby Carowinds amusement park or the hands-on learning at Discovery Place.
“Charlotte really is the perfect place to live,” says resident Leslie Giron. “It’s a friendly city, it’s well-maintained, it’s got great schools, and there’s always something going on for everyone.”
Find Your Charlotte Dream Home Today
If you’re looking to call the Charlotte area home, we’re here to help! Even as some coronavirus restrictions remain in place, Homes.com makes it simple to take virtual tours, participate in virtual open houses, and request these resources from local agents if they’re not readily available. We also have additional COVID-19 resources to help you navigate sheltering in place, so be sure to check them out!