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Are Charlotte Area Home Vales Holding Their Value?

by Buddy Frey

A recent article in our local newspaper The Charlotte Observer, came out with some very interesting statistics about our housing prices.  While many areas have been hit with lower prices, some regional pockets have actually gone up in price.  On average though home prices only fell 4% across the area...way better than most thought.  (See 5 year zip code stats below)

                  http://www.charlotteobserver.com/661/story/501993.html

States the Observer, "No one likes a loss, especially in the value of their home. But put your panic on pause.  The average price of homes sold last year in more than three-fourths of the area was at or above prices from 2003 through 2005. That means most people who have been in their houses a few years are likely still sitting on gains.

The Observer reviewed Carolina Multiple Listing Services' sales from 2003 to 2008 and found:  Last year, 26 of 70 area ZIP codes, or more than one-third, posted their highest prices of the six-year period.  Only seven ZIP codes posted declines for the period. In Charlotte, the University area's 28262 and northwest Mecklenburg's 28216, both pocked with foreclosures, had the biggest declines.  The region's biggest gain in the six years came in 28206, which includes part of Charlotte's Arts District, or NoDa, and the fragile Lockwood neighborhood north of uptown.   And, for 2008, Lincoln County's Iron Station led with a 49 percent hike for 28080.  Last year, the top Mecklenburg ZIP code was 28204, which includes the new Metropolitan condos and the historic Elizabeth and Cherry communities."

I believe the true decline in our market began in May of 2008.  Some believe it started as early as July/August of 2007 when Countrywide got in trouble.  I didn't see it here, maybe flat at worst.  But the truth of it is, we're haven't  bottomed hard because we never really exploded to the up side.  And historically, our home inventory is low.  Less people are putting their homes on the market and builders aren't building so that has helped as well. 

Warning!!!  When we turn around here in Charlotte, it will not be gradual.  We're the 7th largest market in the US and and over the years we have actually become a destination.  I predict we will take off big time.  Don't know exactly when but buyers...get in while the getting is good.  Sellers, hang in there. At some point, the ball will be in your court and it might be sooner than you think. 

Buddy      

    

Housing Stimuls Package to the Rescue

by Buddy Frey

If you have been watching the news this week, you may have noticed that the debate in Washington has finally turned toward real stimulus for the housing industry. As a result, many believe that we could be on the brink of a substantial turn around in the real estate market.  

Last night, the Lieberman/Isakson Amendment was included in the senate version of the Economic Stimulus Bill by a unanimous voice vote. This amendment would provide a Tax Credit to all home buyers at the rate of 10% of the sales price up to a limit of $15,000. The credit would be available for a one year period to all purchasers of primary residences.  And home mortgage rates may be heading lower...Today, the senate expects to debate Amendment 353, a proposal by Senator John Ensign (R-NV) that would provide 30 year fixed financing at a rate of about 4%, for anyone purchasing a primary residence.  This is great stuff.

If these two provisions survive in the final passage of a stimulus bill they could have a tremendous impact on our industry. If they are coupled together with provisions to ease the flow of credit and reduce foreclosures, we could see an immediate and dramatic turn-around in real estate.  Some feel that these provisions represent real economic stimulus. They will put money in the hands of millions of homeowners, increase sales, stabilize home values and add more revenues to local communities in the form of property taxes.

Why not contact your senators and representatives to let them know that you believe these provisions are essential.  You can go to the official Senate and House web sites to locate the email and phone number of your legislators.  Thanks!

Buddy

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