Charlotte, NC was not supposed to be strongly affected by the housing downturn. Everybody in Charlotte was told that we would be one of the last cities to feel the housing slump and would be one of the first cities to stabilize. This has not played out theway that everyone expected.
Worries about Charlotte's real estate market did not really scare the public until Wachovia was bought by the San Francisco based Wells Fargo. Charlotte is known as a banking city. The scare ooccurred again when there was talk of Bank of America being moved to New York. Now that we have a new CEO located in Charlotte this has been forgotten. The city has always attracted a large amount of young college graduates and has always had the jobs to support the growth. Since Wachovia was bought by Wells Fargo it does not feel that this is the case. Only recently has Charlotte been able to again attract the young/educated crowd because of new companies moving to the area because of Charlotte's affordability.
Over the last several months the city has not grown as fast as it was projected. Uptown real estate has felt the worst of the market. The condo prices Uptown have dropped dramatically and there are still a lot of short sales. In 2007 there were multiple sky-rises on the way up and there was talk of many more. The downtown area was suppose to be getting a lot of retail on the streets to help support the living style of Uptown residents. One of the condo buildings (The Catalyst) was unable to contract enough of the units so the building has turned into a rental high rise. Another project (The Park at Caldwell and Third) failed and has been bought by a group of investors. They hope to turn the building into a hotel/condo building. The VUE is the other large building that looks to be almost complete. The builders stopped building for about a month because they had not received money from the investors. The building is under construction again and they hope to close several of these units in September 2010. The VUE will be the tallest condo building in Charlotte.
The Uptown condo market is projected to be the the area of Charlotte that appreciates the most over the next 10 years. This is probably because this is the area that has taken the hardest hit and because the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce is continuing to lobby hard for Uptown retail.
The housing market has seen declining prices over the past 2 years. These prices are continuing to drop but it feels that we are finally starting to stabilize. Buyers are still wanting to present low offers and they expect to have most of their closing costs covered. With interest rates on the way up I expect to see some move up buyers dropping the prices of their houses so that they can lock in a low rate on their next purchase.
High unemployment in Charlotte is the number one cause of the slow recovery. Once the unemployment rate drops I expect the Charlotte housing market to be on the way up.