Charlotte Housing Market Forecast For 2021 – Is A Crash Coming?


2020 has, without a doubt, been one of the most unpredictable years in American history, not only in terms of the pandemic, protests and unrest, and politics, but also in the economy and real estate market.

After roughly 7 years of exponential growth in housing prices, many economists were predicting a crash in 2020, but as of October 21st, 2020, prices are still going up.

So what happened? 

I spoke with David Hoffman, one of Charlotte’s top-selling real estate agents and former Washington economist, about why there’s been such a discrepancy, especially given this year’s shutdowns, job losses, and prevalent fear.

He told me that we essentially skipped the Spring selling market when the pandemic and lockdowns hit, which became one of the largest factors in the Charlotte market only having 1.1 months of housing supply (down 55.1% year over year) and an average sales price of $349,041 (up 16% year over year). 

“We went straight from Winter to Summer, because the spring Market was stopped when agents weren’t allowed to do physical showings, and potential sellers weren’t sure what was going to happen in the world; week to week. This created both pent-up demand, and a limited supply of housing,” David said.

When Summer hit and interest rates fell to historic lows, Spring and Summer buyers combined to make demand go through the roof, especially in rural areas.

“Demand for the large home in suburbia with an acre and a pool has never been higher, versus demand for a small house in the big city on a quarter acre of land. More and more, buyers are wanting enough space to work, vacation, and homeschool, without being too close to neighbors who might spread the virus,” said David. “With the pandemic increasing work-from-home situations, buyers no longer see the benefit of being an urban environment when they can get more bang-for-the-buck a little further out.” 

So what will happen next year? 

David told me that he actually believes that demand is lower than what it seems, and that price increases are more due to supply shortages. He said that he believes much of the inflated demand is coming from the historically low-interest rates, and that if they increase in the short term, demand will likely fall back to realistic numbers.
Also, David reminded me of the fact that both the Federal interest rate, and mortgage interest rate are at all-time lows, and rates usually drop along with demand.
He also said that a large number of the buyers who have been losing their bidding wars this year have now decided to rent, as prices continue to break records.
The good news, Hoffman said, is that the Charlotte region has always been more affordable than most similar-sized cities, so the fall shouldn’t be as great in some MSA’s across the nation.

At this point, a large crash in the housing market seems unlikely; at least locally. Either the economy will continue its “V-shaped” recovery and continue to increase housing prices, or market conditions will level off and supply will catch up with demand over the coming months, stabilizing prices in 2021. “Regardless, hundreds of new people moving to the Charlotte area from the north, each day, will keep prices from falling too sharply whenever a downturn does arise,” Hoffman said.

Many leading experts are of the opinion that realtors and agents are going to take help from technology to plug the loopholes in operations. In other words, we are going to see a lot of virtual open houses, chat support, digital showcasing, paperwork and other online activities. If you were looking for the Real Estate Forecast for 2021, it is going to be heavily dominated by tech adoption and digital adaptations.

What do you think the next few months will bring? 

What do you think the housing market in 2021 will look like?

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