Posted by: Roby Robertson | February 2, 2008

Charlotte and Lake Norman Area Real Estate-Media does not get it!

Front page of the Charlotte Observer! Slump Catches Up to Charlotte and Lake Norman”

The headline reads, with a picture of the area counties and number like -20% and -24% .  The fine print tells a different story and you realize they are measuring the decline in new home building permits. Not home prices! Unfortunately, every essential element of this front page article was at best a half-truth.

The decline in permits is a sign that the new home construction industry is in difficult times. Charlotte homebuilders have been increasing inventory for years.  However recently,  they have to come to their senses and cut back, and they probably were 6-9 months late!   This is a building industry problem, not “The Slump Catches up with Charlotte”! It is not a real estate market-valuation issue, which is the cause of the national downturn in real estate prices.  There has been a great decline in equity in our country, but thankfully for those of us who live in Charlotte, Lake Norman, Seattle, Austin- and a few others, our city’s have not participated in this great decline.

So, The headline should read something like this:

Charlotte home prices rose 4.3% for 2007
Despite an 11% decrease in unit sales for the year, and a 24% 4th quarter drop, and the national down turn in real estate, Charlotte is leading the nation’s major housing markets in home appreciation. The Charlotte real estate market remains strong despite weaker demand, and home price appreciation may be slowing but Charlotte area real estate was still 4.3%.  Other cites would kill for numbers like that!
The Observer writer then quotes Mark Vittner, Chief economist for Wachovia, an acknowledged housing expert, talking about the housing market not being back to normal until 2012… what is misleading here is Mr Vittner was talking about the national housing market– not Charlotte. Here is a virtually identical quote from Mr Vittner, in discussions with Home Depot:

“The housing market is still stuck in neutral and no one should expect to hit bottom until the middle of this year at the earliest. So says Mark Vittner, senior economist at Wachovia. He tells John Wordock Home Depot’s latest concerns about housing are on the mark and there’s still “further room to decline.”
The bottom line is this.  Sellers can sell with the use of savy agents and buyers have a lot of choices.  I don’t think it is time to sit in the wings.
Contact Your Lake Norman Agent at 704 451 7051 to get more information!

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