Center City, South End
Center city, including South End, now claims 13,000 residents, almost double the number living there in 2000. But this is not the market of mid-2006, which Allen Tate’s Sandy Kindbom says “was hot as fire,” with bidding wars common. Now properties are sitting for three or four months, and often longer.
PROS Center city employers continue to hire people, often from outside Charlotte, and many of those people want to live close to work (Kindbom estimates that half her clients are relos). Also, the changing loan market doesn’t affect center city that much, because buyers are too young to have bad credit or too rich to worry about it. And South End continues to boom, although Ryan Willis, owner of Boxwood Realty, which advises developers, has been steering people looking at South End toward uptown, because of falling prices in the latter.
CONS On the other hand, loans for investors, which have driven some of the center city demand, are very tough to come by. It’ll be interesting to watch what happens when it comes time to close loans on slow-developing condos that are under contract. Adds Willis, "People aren’t budging on their prices, and they need to…they'll be lucky to get out of it what they put into it."
VERDICT It’s a great place to live, but we wouldn’t want to invest there. If you’re looking to buy here, pick a place you love and don’t worry about resale. If you’re looking to sell, don’t expect to get rich.