Finding an affordable home in the Charlotte region is becoming harder for people with low to moderate incomes, UNC Charlotte researchers said Thursday.
They spoke at the university’s Childress Klein Center for Real Estate at its annual State of Housing in Charlotte Summit. They cited rising prices in a market where supply is falling behind demand.
In September, a family income of $152,000 was needed to purchase a median-priced home, with the cost of that home jumping from $376,000 last January to to $415,000. The $39,000 difference is a 10% increase.
Yongqiang Chu, the center’s director and co-author of the report, said the region has continued to grow rapidly after the COVID pandemic. That increase in demand for housing, combined with the disruption of supply because of the pandemic, is creating continued pressure in the market.
Housing prices are also shifting, Chu reported.
“The research shows that prices at the lower end of the scale have increased much faster than at the higher end,” Chu said. “Also of concern is that middle-income housing affordability is emerging as a significant challenge for the Charlotte region.”
The fifth report partially led by faculty from the Belk College of Business is a multi-year project which includes research from Mecklenburg, Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln and Union counties in North Carolina, and Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina.
Here are a few other takeaways from the housing report.
How much has Charlotte grown?
From 2021 to last year, the region grew by 55,023 people — from more than 2.7 million to over 2.75 million. Chu said this is a rate of about 150 people per day.
Affordability challenges remain around Charlotte
Just 2.5% of houses sold for under $150,000 this year, while in 2023 only 22% of homes sold for under $300,000. Rising interest rates and prices made housing unaffordable in the Charlotte region.
COVID impacts housing market
The Charlotte region had a shortage of 10,000 new housing units last year because of a disruption of the housing supply and the pandemic.
Time is of the essence
The median amount of time a house is on the market is less than 10 days. That doesn’t leave buyers who do have the means to buy a house a lot of time before they have to make a decision about the property.
“If you’re a buyer, you don’t want to be in this market,” Chu said during his presentation. “First of all, you’re most likely not going to buy that house.
“Second of all, if you’re lucky enough to be able to get that house, it’s very likely that’s not your dream house that you were looking for,” he said. “You just don’t have enough time to go through the whole process.”