Fed Raises Interest Rates Again

Last week, the Federal Reserve again announced that they are raising the nation’s federal funds rate by one-quarter of one percent. This brings it to a range of 1.00 to 1.25 percent making this the second straight quarterly increase.

At this time, the prediction is that mortgage interest may not see a direct increase from this rate hike. In the short term, car loans and bank fees will probably be the first to show an increase. This could also affect millions of borrowers who have credit card debt as it could push their monthly payments higher. The hike could additionally impact borrower’s ability to qualify for a mortgage.

It is not clear at this time if the Fed needed to raise the rate right now. Unemployment is low at 4.3 percent in May. The economy isn’t growing as fast as the Fed would like, nor are wages. The rate hike is unlikely to help either of those causes. It seems that the Fed found themselves in a bind. They said they would raise the rate earlier in the year and they are following through, even though it might mean slowing the economy further.

The Federal Reserve will reassess the market again in September to be sure the projected additional increase is in line with the market at that time.

If you are in the market for a home right now, the hike is not likely to affect you in terms of interest rate. You may qualify to borrow less money if you have significant credit card or other short term debt.

Borrowers who will feel the rate hike the most are ones with an adjustable rate mortgage that is about to adjust as it will now adjust by half a percent. This could mean hundreds of dollars more per month on a mortgage payment. Other borrowers who will feel the pinch are ones with home equity loans or lines of credit. Repayment on those loans will call for steeper payments due to the rate hike.

If you are in the market for a home, call us at (704) 525-4045. We can help you get started on the process today. You can also view homes currently for sale on our website here.

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SouthEnd Harris Teeter opening soon

Despite all the news today about Amazon buying Whole Foods, we are more excited about the new Harris Teeter opening up in South End. We’re not sure yet how Whole Foods might change as they transition to new ownership, but we are sure that the new Harris Teeter will be great.

Located on South Boulevard as part of the Sedgefield shopping center redevelopment, the new Harris Teeter has a retro logo harkening back to 1952 when the first store opened. That original location was in the same block as the new store so this new store is like a homecoming.

Coming in at 53,000 square feet, the store will have everything you already expect, as well as a Starbucks, a bar with wine and 16 beers on tap, beer growler filling station, an events area, weekly meal specials, pharmacy, and sit down eating area. This is a far cry from what was in the 15,240 square foot original store.

The new store will be open daily from 6am until midnight. For opening day, opening will begin at 5pm and will have a free-to-the-public sampling event following the ribbon cutting ceremony.

The Sedgefield Shopping Center redevelopment will also include 14,000 square feet of retail, and following later will be 300 apartment units.

There are many homes within walking distance from the new Harris Teeter and many more homes within a short drive. This poises the new Harris Teeter to be direct competition with the Publix just down the road.

Harris Teeter hasn’t been in the neighborhood since 1988 when the original location closed. This is a welcome return for residents. The store opens this Tuesday, June 20th.

If you are interested in a home in Sedgefield or any of the many other neighborhoods serviced by the new Harris Teeter, give us a call at (704) 525-4045. You can also view homes on our website here.

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May Market Update

Home sales were down slightly in May according to data released by the Carolina Regional Realtor Association. New listings and pending sales were up year over year, up 4.6% and 16.6% respectively. This shows that there are buyers out there and they are willing to purchase when the right home comes on the market.

The Charlotte area is still suffering from a lack of inventory. The supply of homes fell again down to a 2.5 month supply. This is down 26.5% from the same time last year. A balanced market between buyers and sellers is considered to be a 6 month supply.

The supply of homes was up slightly from last month. In April, there were 9,525 homes on the market. In May, there were 9,795. This represents a rise of 270 homes or 2.8% month over month. Last May, by contrast, there were 12,268 homes for sale.

Median sales price was up 7.9% to $226,500, and Average sales price was up 6.6% to $274,957. Low inventory drives prices up and we have seen gains in home prices for the past few years with no end in sight.

Homes are staying on the market for less time as well. Days on market from list until close went from 106 last May to 95 this May.

Buyers are also not getting as much of a discount on list price. Last year, they paid 96.8% of the list price for a home, and this year they are paying 97.3%. This could indicate more instances of multiple-offer situations where the highest and best offer wins the home.

We have not seen widespread evidence of homes selling for more than list price. When this happens, there is often a case of a home selling for more than the appraisal value and the buyer having to come up with the difference in cash. This is happening in some cities such as Austin, TX.

If you are interested in a home in the Charlotte area, give us a call at (704) 525-4045. You can also view homes on our website here.

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Is renting or buying the best bet in Charlotte?

Home prices have been rising in the Charlotte region for the past few years with no apparent end in sight. Case-Shiller’s S&P CoreLogic home price index has prices 6.7% higher in March. This is well above the 4.3% year over year increase they reported in March of 2016. It also far outpaces the national average of 5.8% which represented a nearly three-year high.

Unusually low inventory of homes takes much of the blame for the price hikes. People are staying in their homes rather than selling and moving up. Mortgage interest rates are also on the rise which may deter some sellers as a new mortgage would have higher carrying costs. This could contribute to the current trend as it keeps inventory low and prices going ever higher.

With all of this news, you might be thinking that renting might be a better option, but is it? According to home real estate website Trulia, buying remains a more cost-effective option than renting. Trulia’s study shows that purchasing a home in Charlotte is 39.4% cheaper than renting. This assumes that buyers have a 20% down payment, have a 30 year fixed rate mortgage and stay in the property at least seven years.

However, Trulia’s study shows that renting appears to be making up some ground. Home prices have been escalating faster than rental prices. Rental rates from 2016 to 2017 have dropped 0.4% while home prices increased 7.5%.

For now, buying a home in the Queen City is a pretty safe bet. If you are interested in making the jump into homeownership, give us a call at (704) 525-4045. You can also create custom searches of home listings on our website here.

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Get in on in Demand Sharon Woods

Sharon Woods began to be built in the 1970’s and hasn’t stopped being a popular destination. With large beautiful homes on large lots, homes here are highly sought after, and rarely hit the market. SouthPark mall is within walking distance, as are great schools, businesses, and fitness facilities.

Homes in Sharon Woods are generally larger than any homes in nearby Beverly Woods. Most are around 4,000 square feet and have typically 4 to 5 bedrooms and 3-4 bathrooms. Many of the homes feature full basements, original hardwood flooring, extensive millwork, custom built-ins, gourmet kitchens, luxury bathrooms, and much more. There is a mix of brick ranches, colonials, and new homes to choose from.

Lots here are generously sized, most close to or over half an acre. Mature trees, meticulous landscaping and well tended lawns are a hallmark of the area. Sharon Woods feels remote and tucked away, but is only 6 miles from Uptown and about a mile from the center of bustling SouthPark.

Park Road Park is just down the road with 122 acres of green space. The park includes basketball courts, baseball fields, playgrounds, tennis courts, and an 11-acre lake. Phillips Place and the Harris YMCA are also nearby. Specialty Shops on the Park, the Farmers Market, Whole Foods, and Symphony Park are all just a few minutes away.

Children in Sharon Woods attend prestigious Sharon Elementary, Alexander Graham Middle and Myers Park High Schools. All three award winning schools earned 10 out of 10 by Carolina School Hub. Please verify school assignments as they are subject to change. There are many private school options close by as well.

Expect homes in Sharon Woods to average around $630,000, with some homes costing far more. New luxury homes on these generous old lots fetch much higher prices.

These homes don’t come up for sale often. If you are looking to purchase a home in Sharon Woods, call us at (704) 525-4045. You can also save searches and view listings on our website here.

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Spotlight: Fairmeadows

Fairmeadows is one of the hidden gems of SouthPark. Walking distance to SouthPark Mall, the neighborhood also boasts a great tennis and swim club, large lawns, and top rated schools. All of these great features, yet average sales price is just $410,270.

Originally built by Crosland back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, Fairmeadows homes are mainly brick ranch or split-level style. Many of the homes have been updated and modernized to meet today’s lifestyles, but there are plenty of opportunities to buy a home and modernize and personalize it. Homes typically have 3-4 bedrooms and 2-3 bathrooms. Lots are large, most around a half-acre so there is room to expand homes here and many have additions of screened porches, and some even have added second floors.

There is a voluntary neighborhood association in Fairmeadows that organizes community events and is responsible for upkeep of common areas. For an optional joining fee and yearly membership fee, residents can join the Fairmeadows Swim & Racket Club. The pool was renovated in 2015 and has kiddie splash pool, shaded pavilion and lounge areas. The swim team competes with local teams and is great for neighborhood kids.

Summer is a great time to get in on a home in Fairmeadows so you can walk to Symphony Park to enjoy the Summer Pops series. The season kicks off June 4th and concerts this year include blockbuster movies, jazz, Star Wars, Broadway and classic Americana. This year, you can also purchase premium tickets with VIP seating with shaded tent, reserved parking, and a chef-curated picnic basket from Reid’s Fine Foods.

Besides all of the things to do in SouthPark, Fairmeadows is convenient to the airport and is a quick commute to Uptown Charlotte. The Harris YMCA is right down the road for fitness and family events.

Children in Fairmeadows attend Sharon Elementary, Alexander Graham Middle, and Myers Park High Schools. There are also many private school options close by.

If you are interested in a home in Fairmeadows, give us a call at (704) 525-4045. You can also view listings on our webstie here.

Get more information and Summer Pops tickets here.

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Market Update

Last week we showed you the local trends for housing prices. This week, we have national numbers as well, released by the National Association of Realtors. They show that housing prices in metro Charlotte rose at nearly double the rate of the national median in the first quarter of this year. Median sales price of an existing single-family home in Charlotte grew year over year 13.4% to $209,600. Nationally, the median rose 6.9% to $232,100.

Low inventory factors into the high appreciation in Charlotte. There was a more than 20% drop in home supply in the Charlotte area, just a 2.5 month supply. This is well below the balanced market of 6 months supply, giving sellers a distinct edge in transactions.

Housing Analysis firm Metrostudy released figures on new home sales this week. They show that new homebuilding rose 16.4% from last year at this time to total 2,695. Additionally, the number of previously vacant new homes that are now occupied rose 23.5% to 2,725. Annual starts increased 7% to 11,372, and annual closings rose 10.6% to 10,922.

At the same time, the unemployment rate in North Carolina came in below the 5% mark in April according to newly released labor data. While this is still higher than the national rate of 4.4%, it is really encouraging. It also means that more people could be eligible for mortgages once they have enough job history in these new jobs.

There are some glimmers of a market correction on the horizon. Rental rates in the Charlotte area have showed a cooling trend in recent months. Housing markets across the nation are showing the same trend. Trulia published their report showing that 12.5% of rental listings had a price reduction to get tenants in. This could be a prelude to upcoming price cuts in the for sale market as well. We will keep you up to date on all of the market trends.

If you are in the market for a home in the Charlotte area, give us a call at (704) 525-4045. You can also view listings on our website here.

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New Speakeasy Coming to Park Road Shopping Center

A new speakeasy is coming to Park Road Shopping Center next month and you can already sign up to be a member. Called Dot Dot Dot, the speakeasy will feature cocktails and pair them with food, but the focus will be on the drinks.

Located at the rear lot of the shopping center, Dot Dot Dot might be tricky to find the first time you go. The entrance is just to the right of Blackhawk Hardware’s garden center, and just below the patio for Flying Biscuit. A long hallway will take you to the hostess stand and you will be buzzed into the interior of the bar.

The design and feel will be that of a 1920’s jazz and blues club, with a 37 foot long bar and copper accents. The 2,700 square foot club will hold about 100 people. Motown and Soul music will also be in the mix.

Dot Dot Dot is a members only club. To become a member, you pay a $10 fee and agree to the 12 house rules. These rules include no talking on cell phones, three guests per member maximum, and “don’t be a jerk”. Also included is to be patient as your cocktail is being crafted individually.

Anticipated hours for Dot Dot Dot are Tuesday-Sunday, 5 pm – 2 am. Look for the grand opening to be mid to late June.

There are plenty of other spots in Park Road Shopping Center that you could try out while you’re waiting for Dot Dot Dot to open. Sir Edmund Halley’s is a perennial favorite, as are Cantina 1511, Rocksalt, and Fuel Pizza. Right down the way, there are additional restaurants and bars at Montford with Sushi 101, Brazwell’s Pub, Duckworth Grill & Taphouse, Angry Ale’s and Park Lanes.

If you’re in the market for a home and you love Park Road Shopping Center and Montford areas, give us a call at (704) 525-4045. You can also view homes on our website here.

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Charlotte Transit Update

Four firms have submitted applications to become the consultants to analyze building new rail lines in Charlotte. The consultation would involve a transportation study expected to begin in July and take 18 months. Budget for the consultation could be as high as $4.4 million, though cost estimates have not been finalized.

The study will analyze building new lines and how those lines will align with existing stops and stations. This is the latest development for the 20 year old campaign to develop the transit system. Busses remain the main thrust of the system, but as light rail is built out, it will take on more of the load.

The first of the lines they will be studying is a proposed 25-mile northern rail line from Uptown to Iredell County. This proposed Red Line would help ease congestion on I-77 especially for people who live in Lake Norman, Mooresville, and Davidson.

The second line in the study is a western route connecting Uptown to the airport and possibly going to the future master planned community River District. This line would be great for travellers of all sorts, business travellers and tourists most especially.

The third piece of the study will be how the new lines would be integrated into center city. This would include the already proposed 13.5-mile $2.5 billion Silver Line extending from Uptown along Independence Boulevard towards Matthews. It will also include the currently under construction 9 mile $1.2 billion Blue Line extension connecting Uptown with UNC Charlotte.

Much has changed since the original transit plan was adopted and there are now new buildings that need to be accounted for in the plan to connect new rail lines. This could mean tunnels to get lines in and out of Uptown like were recently built in Seattle.

Rail advocates propose building all three additional lines simultaneously for an estimated range of $5 to $7 billion. These numbers are rough and are subject to change. Building out the light rail so robustly would launch Charlotte ahead of many other mid-sized cities and help make it more of a destination that it is currently. Many leaders see these lines as necessary as the population in Charlotte is projected to double from 2.5 million to 5 million in the next 20-30 years.

Real estate along the existing corridors has increased in value tremendously after construction completed. If you are interested in purchasing a home in Charlotte and want to take advantage of existing or future rail lines, give us a call at (704) 525-4045. You can also view homes on our website here.

For more information, read the full article in the Charlotte Business Journal.

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April Market Report

The Charlotte Regional Realtor Association released their monthly market report this week. Based on their findings, we are again facing historic low inventory and higher prices, but we are also seeing a dip in closed sales and in new listings from the same time last year.

Inventory for the entire region is now at 9,525 homes. This is up from last month’s 9,212, but substantially down from last year’s 11,919. The rise from last month is a typical trend, as spring goes on, more homes are listed.

Average sales price also rose year over year. Last year, the average price for a home was at $251,290. This year the average is a staggering $275,491. This is up $4,140 from last month’s average price of $271,351 and $38,269 up from this time in 2015.

Days on market time is down year over year as well. This means homes are staying on the market for a much shorter time before they are under contract. This speaks to the low inventory as homes are being snatched up almost as soon as they are listed. 96 days is now the norm from listing until a transaction is closed.

Pending sales are up from last year at this time. This means we could see a bump in closed sales next month. If we don’t start seeing more listing activity, there will be even more competition over the homes that do come up for sale. Buyers need to be prepared to pay higher prices and be prepared in case of multiple-offer situations.

If you are interested in purchasing a home in the Charlotte area, give us a call at (704) 525-4045 and let our experts guide you through every step in the process. You can also search for and view homes on our website here.

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