Market Timing

I thought maybe it was just me. While television commentators and newspaper headline writers have been falling all over themselves to see who can make the most negative pronouncements about the real estate market, houses in my little southeast Charlotte neighborhood continued to sell. A neighbor is moving to New York City for a better bank job, but he's keeping the Charlotte house, calling it the best investment he has. Other friends keep buying and selling, and conversation turns much more often to the state of the front lawn, as opposed to the state of the market.
Yet every time I pick up the paper, there's another big story about housing starts this and permits that. Honestly, did anyone think we could continue building homes here at the rate we have the past few years? The world would run out of stucco if we did. It doesn't mean the sky is falling.

Still, though, there are signs of concern. Our big banks are struggling a bit, and as other markets continue to suffer, the flood of newcomers could slow. So, for our annual real estate package, we decided to evaluate the market as best we could. Writer Jodi Helmer and Associate Editor Blake Miller interviewed dozens of industry sources and pored over stats. What they learned was this: things are slow, yes, but we're doing just fine. The package of stories starts on page 74.

If you've been reading closely the past few months, you've noticed a newish byline. Mike Giglio is a relatively recent Davidson grad who's been writing close to a story a month for us since the middle of last year. This spring marks his one-year anniversary living in Charlotte, and he proposed to me that he write a short memoir of his first year here. At first, I wavered: you wouldn't believe how many people pitch us stories on the trials and tribulations of settling in Charlotte. It's a cliché bomb waiting to explode. But then I told him I would take a look at it. As soon as I reached the part where he got arrested for fighting during Speed Street, I knew we would publish it. It's not the typical

I've-just-moved-to-Charlotte-and-no-one-uses-their-turn-signal-here story. "Stranger in a Strange Land " starts on page 65.
His story won't end on these pages. By the time you read this, we'll have launched his new blog, where he'll detail his urban exploits. I'm guessing he won't be writing exposés on how much Charlotteans like sweet tea, but I'm hoping he doesn't get arrested again. Access his blog at

Finally, a quick look back to our March issue. In it, Sam Boykin wrote an exhaustive article about water reclamation, a semicontroversial idea that would help conserve drinking water and clean up our lakes. We positioned the piece as one possible solution to our drought-related woes. Since the day the magazine hit mailboxes, it has rained once or twice a week. Water gurus haven't declared the end to the drought yet, but at this rate, it can't be long. If and when that happens, we at Charlotte magazine are happy to take full credit for turning the situation around. It's the umbrella principle (if you carry an umbrella, it's guaranteed not to rain) taken to the extreme. I don't know why we didn't think of it earlier.

Categories: Editor’s Note, Opinion, The Buzz