Last March, I asked real estate agents how the pandemic would impact the market. People expected inventory to dip, but demand exceeded expectations, and drove home prices.
There’s no way to know for sure how 2021 will play out, but eyes are on Charlotte from all corners of the country.
- Realtor.com made an early prediction and ranks Charlotte as No. 3 housing market for 2021.
- Zillow.com says that “city living will almost certainly enjoy a renaissance in 2021.”
Why it matters: For all the talk of how the pandemic made people reconsider living in dense areas, and for all the national political rhetoric of urban markets falling apart, residential real estate rolls along in Charlotte. And I haven’t talked to anyone who sees it stopping this year.
What they’re saying: “If you said give me a 10-second headline for 2021 it’s ‘Real estate signs are going to flood the streets in 2021,’” says David Hoffman, owner of DHG Group. Hoffman gives three reasons:
- People who bought in 2019 have completely different needs now given the pandemic. We’re still spending most of our time at home and need more space for home offices and school for kids.
- Many people didn’t list in 2020 and decided to ride the year out. They’re ready to sell now.
- Spring is the busy season for real estate in any year.
Out-of-state surge: Matt Ewers, president and owner of Grandfather Homes and a real estate agent at Nestlewood Realty, says a third of his clients in 2020 came from larger cities. Charlotte, while pricier than surrounding areas in the Carolinas, is still affordable to people from the northeast.
- He’s building houses for not only them but their siblings, parents, and extended family who are following behind and moving here, too.
- Ewers predicts that because people are spending so much more time at home, there will be more emphasis on local architecture and more variation in design, with focus on outdoor living, from custom pool houses to professional landscaping.
- “People still feel uncertainty with the pandemic. They don’t want the big city life — they’re coming here and really investing in their homes,” he says.
Yes, but: “The main problem is lack of supply,” says Jeff Clay, a first-time-home-buyer specialist and owner of JClay Realty Group.
- Houses under $250k often have 20-30 offers, Clay says.
- At the entry level, under $300K, you’ve got buyers competing with investors who buy in cash.
- What he said: “Once we get the vaccine rolled out later in the year, I’m hoping we have an influx of sellers, people who decided to hold off last year, take advantage of the equity they’ve built. That would be great for the market, help balance things out a little bit.”
Vaccines = showings: Dickens Mitchener founder Vicky Mitchener, who’s been in Charlotte real estate for 33 years, says the pandemic has contributed to the historically low inventory in one simple way: Potential sellers don’t want other people in their homes.
- That should improve when more people are vaccinated, she says.
- But in the immediate future, the lack of supply forces people to look in the suburbs from Fort Mill to Gastonia to Concord.
- What she said: “My general thought would be the entire market will continue to expand further from the center of Charlotte. Which, we knew it would happen but it’s expedited now (with the pandemic).”
Home prices rise: Bree Pittman, a top agent for Keller Williams – Charlotte, University City predicts 2021 will be a sellers’ market, just like 2020. Unless:
- Interest rates drastically increase and that triggers a decreased demand.
- Homes appraise under asking price and/or under what buyers offer. Right now, homes under $350K receive many offers, and many of those offers are over asking. But the bank won’t give you more than what the home is worth — and potential buyers won’t be willing to pay more. If there’s a big gap between appraisal and offers, asking prices will have to come down to meet the appraisal.
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