Charlotte, North Carolina. When I hear the name of this beautiful city, nicknamed the Queen City in honor of King George the III’s popular wife Charlotte, I envision warm summer days, Southern hospitality, and of course a refreshing mint julip.
The other side of Charlotte, one which is perhaps less well known, is reflected in British General Cornwallis’ depiction of the city which drove him out - noting that it was “a hornet’s nest of rebellion,” he coined Charlotte The Hornet’s Nest.
This fighting spirit, hidden beneath a genteel, confident exterior aptly describes the character of this historic locale and its residents.
A report conducted by Metrostudy for the third quarter of 2011 was recently released, and the results are interesting. Although the unemployment rate stood at 11.1% as of August 2011, and job growth decreased from 4,500 to 4,100 jobs from July to August, home closings reduced the number of homes on the market significantly.
Bill Miley, director of Metrostudy’s Charlotte division stated that “Consumers remain apprehensive with the weak job market, high unemployment, and the economy in general.”
“Inventory months of supply for all new housing types (attached and detached) dropped due to closing more homes than we started and our rising annual closing rate,” continued Miley.
“Despite our high unemployment, the Charlotte MSA currently ranks fifteenth in the country in single family permits, further testimony to the desirability, appeal and strength of Charlotte NC and the overall weakness of the national housing market,” Miley said.
Rental prices have risen by 5.6%, with a median rent of $950 per month, however depending upon locations, rentals can range anywhere from $950 to $1,350 per month. The average list price for Charlotte is at $159,900, however the median sales price is much higher at $166,100.
According to Zillow, as of September 2011, home prices in the Charlotte region were down 6.7% over last year, and home values, are currently at $132,800.00 on average. Foreclosures represent a small number of homes sold, at 0.1% year over year. Sellers are, on average, getting approximately 95% of their asking price.
Despite the fact that a large portion of Charlotte homes have gone down in value, a surprising number have risen, as reflected in a 12.8% increase, reflecting pockets of areas which are seeing positive growth signs. For example, homes in the Provincetowne suburb of Charlotte have seen a 16.8% increase in home values reflecting an increase which is slightly double the values at this time last year.
According to Scot Hartis, Broker and Realtor with LiveUptownNow.com, “Charlotte, NC's real estate market hasn't seen a "bubble" like the rest of the country.” He goes on to prove this proposition by stating that “Nowhere is this more obvious than in Uptown Charlotte and the neighborhoods within a five mile radius of center city Charlotte.
Neighborhoods like Cherry, Chantilly, Cotswold, Dilworth, Eastover, Elizabeth, Myers Park, Midtown, NoDa, PlazaMidwood, Southend, Sedgefield, Wesley Heights, and Wilmore are all going through dramatic transformation. With new condos being built and developers tearing down old homes to build new larger homes, values in these core neighborhoods are seeing some of the strongest appreciation rates in the nation.”
Debbie Maxwell, with Savvy + Company Real Estate, Inc. seems to agree with Scot’s consensus view of Charlotte’s downtown. She states that “Charlotte’sDowntown has gone from looking ‘down’ to an Uptown filled with vitality and growth! Walkability is the best in the city in what is now Uptown Charlotte.” She goes on to discuss early morning coffee meets at several coffeehouses, lunch at your choice of many fantastic restaurants, a revitalizing workout at the YMCA, and then back to the office, (via a free trolley ride if you choose) refreshed and ready to finish out the day in style.
Charlotte at night offers 5 star restaurants, Blumenthal theatre, watching the Bobcats at Timewarner Cable Arena, or even a fun night at the Wiskey River in EpiCentre riding the mechanical bull.
This year marks the 17th season of the Charlotte Panthers’ involvement with the National Football League, and it has been a tough year for the cats - at the moment they’re at 2-7, with a lot more work to do before the end of the season.
The University of North Carolina Charlotte, spread across 1,000 acres in the piedmont of North Carolina, and situated only 2 hours from the mountains and 3 from the Atlantic is one of the fastest growing universities within the UNC system.
Offering its 25,000+ students a small college atmosphere, the Charlotte campus is known as “North Carolina’s urban research institution.”
Charlotte’s public schools pride themselves on the academic prowess of their students. According to the school, they “combine academic rigor with rich opportunities in the arts and humanities to prepare every student to compete locally, nationally and internationally.”
Despite experiencing difficult times, as many other cities across the country have, Charlotte, a city rich in history and pleasant in climate, still has much to offer.