Ballantyne

The area of Charlotte that’s essentially become its own suburb is thriving. And if the emergence of gourmet food shops, upscale eateries, a swanky resort and spa, and designer boutiques are any indication, Ballantyne “is past up and coming. It has arrived,” says Graham. In fact, the area leads the Charlotte region’s Quintile V ($371,000-plus) new-home market.

PROS “Places like Ballantyne are strong markets,” says Brian Pace, president of the Charlotte Homebuilders Association. “It will be consistently strong due to the close proximity to transportation [such as major highways] and great schools. That gives the area a little more lasting power in a down market.”

CONS Providence Road/I-485 traffic woes aside, Ballantyne is becoming unaffordable for many people. “There’s so little remaining ground to build in Ballantyne,” says Graham, “so lot prices go up. When lots go up, builders want the prices to go up. The affordability factor disappears.”

VERDICT If you want a starter home in the $250K range, say sayonara to Ballantyne. But for those who can cough up the cash for a $500,000 to $1 million abode, our advice: do it.

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