The Charlotte Observer’s front-page Business Section headline today is: “Charlotte home prices slip for the year…It’s the first such drop since 1991, and things are a lot worse elsewhere – but that’s little comfort for homeowners who can’t sell.”
This article goes on to quote the latest of the popular S&P/Case-Shiller’s Home Price Indexwhich states that Charlotte area prices have dropped .1% in the 12 months through April 2008. However, “the Charlotte market was strongest in the survey of 20 Cities”.
According to Mark Vitner, senior economist with Wachovia (who is headquartered right here in Charlotte), “Charlotte is still holding up better than other markets….I think our economy is very resilient.” He went on to predict: “Prices will likely continue to fall, possibly to 7 or 8% before things turn around.”
An article in the Triangle Business Journal: “Charlotte home prices finally slip, but not nearly as bad as elsewhere” reiterates this positive/negative perspective.
Meanwhile, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University recently released their annual report on the state of our nation’s housing markets. While they indicated that the “current slump is far from over and is shaping up to be the worst in 50 years”, they are more “optimistic about medium to long-term prospects.” They say that “Until the number of vacant for-sale units on the market…falls enough to bring vacancy rates back down, house prices will remain under pressure….Working off the oversupply will require some combination of the following: housing starts fall even further, prices decline enough to bring out new bargain-seeking buyers, interest rates drop enough to improve affordability, job growth improves, consumer confidence returns, and mortgage credit again becomes more widely available.”
In an article in The Charlotte Observer on Saturday regarding recent unemployment figures for North Carolina, Wachovia’s economist, Mark Vitner, said it best: “While there is some good news out there, it’s probably not enough to overcome this wicked trifecta of soaring energy costs, the credit crunch and the housing slump.”
I’m looking forward to doing my 2nd quarter sales analysis for Lake Norman next week in which I will, as always, compare data for Lake Norman real estate by price-range so we can better identify the strengths and weaknesses of our local housing market.
In the meantime, know that it is possible to sell your home in this market if it is priced right and marketed properly. I just listed and sold a home in less than 3 weeks…we are due to close on Monday. Even during the wicked trifecta (for some reason I love this term) there is good news!
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