UNCC’s Center for Real Estate Presents Analysis of ‘The State of Housing in Charlotte’


The Childress Klein Center for Real Estate at UNC Charlotte presented its first Summit on the State of Housing in Charlotte, to provide policymakers, real estate professionals, and the general public a comprehensive, data-driven analysis of the housing markets in the Charlotte region.

Buttimer.jpgRichard Buttimer, director of the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate, presented the analysis, which included key findings looking at the owner-occupied housing market, the rental market, and low-income housing analyzed from data sources over a 10-year period from 2007 to 2017. The center analyzed housing data for Mecklenburg County and the seven counties that are physically adjacent to it: Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, and Union counties in North Carolina and Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina.

The key takeaway in the report released today: The Charlotte region has a population that is growing faster than its housing stock. As a result, prices are rising for all housing faster than inflation. This increase in prices is affecting both owner-occupied and rental properties.

“When housing prices rise, wealthier households that cannot find housing at a price point appropriate for their income level can “buy down” into less expensive housing and renovate. Lower income households do not have an equivalent option. The lack of “starter home” priced properties is reducing the ability of people to transition from renting to ownership as quickly as they could in previous generations,” Buttimer said.

Among the top trends identified by the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate according to the data analysis from a variety of sources for the Charlotte region:

  • Land prices are going up in the Charlotte region, especially in Mecklenburg County.
  • The population of the Charlotte region is growing faster than the number of housing units available.
  • The owner-occupied housing supply in the Charlotte region has tightened.
  • The prices of owner-occupied housing have risen since the end of the recession in both nominal and real terms.
  • The lowest-priced segment of the owner-occupied market has seen the sharpest price increases.
  • Lower-priced homes are harder to find in the Charlotte region.
  • Affordability is a challenge for both lower-income and middle-income people in the region.
  • Rental rates have increased for all types of rental housing including apartments and single-family rentals.
  • There has been strong growth in the apartment market.
  • Cost-burdened renters make up a high percentage of all renters in the region.
  • There is an ongoing need for additional low-income housing.

Skyline.jpgWhile the Charlotte region is experiencing interesting housing trends, Buttimer said generally the region has a well-housed population. “Housing is relatively plentiful, and generally the area has a relatively low cost of housing,” he said. “A low cost of housing, as a component of an overall low cost of living, has been a significant contributor to the region’s economic competitiveness.”

“It is clear that although the Charlotte region faces very real and substantial housing challenges, yet it is still doing well in comparison to regional and national cities. This is not to mean that the region can be complacent in addressing the challenges around housing that we have identified. Rather, it means that as a region we still have time to address these challenges,” he said.

The report was released during a half-day “Summit on the State of Housing in Charlotte” at UNC Charlotte Center City hosted by the Childress Klein Center for Real Estate and sponsored by major organizations.

Ten organizations and firms have pledged a total of more than $200,000 over five years to support the report and summit, including Center City Partners, Charlotte Housing Authority, Charlotte Regional Realtor® Association, Crosland Southeast, Evergreen Strategies, Foundation for the Carolinas, Moore & Van Allen, National Association of Realtors®, Piedmont Public Policy Institute and True Homes Inc.