As Charlotte’s population booms, home sales are slowing down

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Charlotte’s leaders throw the statistic around all the time: An average of 60 people are moving to Charlotte every day.

Interest rates remain low. Employment in Charlotte is strong. Wages are growing. Millennials are aging and forming families.

Then how is it possible that Charlotte home sales are actually slowing down?

1,725 home sales closed in April across Mecklenburg County, down from 1,770 in the same month the year before, according to the latest data available from the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association’s CarolinaMLS.

That marked the third consecutive year-over-year decrease in home sales in the spring selling season. New listings were down similarly.

This seeming conundrum has one primary culprit: Historically low inventory.

There simply aren’t that many homes on the market — and certainly not enough to satisfy Charlotte’s booming population.

Only 6,762 homes were up for sale across the Charlotte region in April, according to the most recent data available from Zillow.

That’s down from a peak of more than 22,000 homes in April 2010 and 2011. The inventory of homes on the market was 8,900 in 2015.

In Mecklenburg County, the number of new listings and closed sales fell in April from the year before.

Data by CarolinasMLS

Don’t think this means the real estate market isn’t strong.

With supply low and demand high, prices are naturally rising. And they’re selling quickly.

The time houses take to go from listing to closing continues to shrink — to just 29 days. More houses are selling at asking price or above.

Data by CarolinasMLS

Charlotte’s booming real estate market is bound to cool off at some point.

But this analysis of the region’s latest housing data indicates that it won’t be anytime soon. By all accounts, we’re in a seller’s market.

So what comes next?

The relatively low cost of real estate has been a major driver of Charlotte’s economy, as companies look favorably on moving here because their workers can find good places to live.

If this trend continues, Charlotte could soon find itself being priced into a new category of real estate market, alongside the Seattles of the country.

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Andrew Dunn
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