Monday, March 23, 2009

Charlotte's housing market: still sagging, more active, or both?

Is Charlotte's housing market starting to stir - or are we merely seeing some annual warmer weather activity?

There are no comparable local figures to match the encouraging news today that existing homes sales rose unexpectedly across the country in February. But there's one small indicator that the market here might be getting more active.

First, the national news: The National Association of Realtors said Monday that sales of existing homes grew 5.1 percent to an annual rate of 4.72 million last month, from 4.49 million units in January. It was the largest sales jump since July 2003. Sales had been expected to fall to an annual pace of 4.45 million units.

A caution: The figures do not represent a year-over-year increase from last February, which some industry experts feel is a more accurate indicator of housing health.

The most recent Charlotte MLS numbers, which include new home sales, also show a slight increase in closings from January to February - 1,258 to 1,348 - but that January-to-February rise has happened every year since 2003.

A glass-half-empty perspective: The number of Charlotte-area home closings in February 2008 was 2,179. That's a 38-percent drop from last year to this year.

A glass-almost-empty perspective: Average sales price dropped 15.5 percent both nationally and locally from January to February, as buyers took advantage of deep discounts and foreclosure sales.

So what's the encouraging news? Internet real estate search site says the total number of property views in Charlotte has doubled from February 2008 to February 2009. (Trulia doesn't release exact figures.)

Trulia spokesman Ken Shuman says Charlotte moved from the 24th most popular city in search volume a year ago to 19th last month.

We'll have a better idea soon if interest translates to sales here. Charlotte's MLS figures for March will be released in 2-3 weeks.


Anonymous said...

The increase in visits to the site is probably due to homeowners checking to see how far the value of their homes have fallen since 2007.

pstonge said...

Anon, 2:05: That would probably be true in other cities, as well.

Anonymous said...

Over 500 foreclosed homes were auctioned last an average of 1/3 the tax appraised price as pricy 775k uptown condos went for 225k and this was still high.

The only thing not coming down are rabid tax values as no laws on the books to protect property owners from county tax bandits.

The Obama stimulus to aid bank toxic assets will stop nothing as homes continue to plumett.

Charlotte homes will keep decreasing to 10-20% of their old values in the near future. The fed cannot continue pumping trillions into this economic corpse. China balking on buying more debt.

Experts predict the 684 trillion in toxic assets worldwide will collaspe the global economy to rubble soon and half way there now.

America down from 1st world to 2nd world status and will end up 3rd world as the govt is totally bankrupt and only printing trillions in play money while selling its debt.

Worse case scenario experts predict millions may die from civil war choas as 3rd world status spreads outside US big cities into the mainstream and beyond that will create a massive breakup.

While this may not occur one cannot be naive to anything. Who would have predicted America in a quick downhill decline like this even 2 yrs ago? They would have laughed.

This is the first time in US history where every major endice has declined significantly and never has America seen such debt. Obamas budget is more than the total of all past 43 presidents and America already has 12 trillion debt on paper but more like 100 trillion colectively.

Yes chicken little, the sky is falling ...

Anonymous said...

OOooOOoooOoo Anon 2:56... I'm so scared!

Jen said...

Anon 2:56- Please go back in your bomb shelter and keep waiting for the end of the world. Comments like that serve no purpose but to freak people out.

Things feel different than they did just a month ago... you drive past restaurants with full parking lots.. you go to the mall, and there are people shopping again... the American public is starting to spend bit by bit, and this will keep spreading until the economy is healthier again. When that does happen, it's up to individuals to cover their own backs and worry about their debt and savings. We can come back from this stronger than before.

Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous, nice nominal numbers there from some copied article from the Negative RUSH GOP party.

Keep kicking at Obama. Hate, fear, it's what the GOP lives for.

Anonymous said...

Republicans, peddling hate and fear with a side order of ignorance like they always do. Where did you find that fetching tin hat, 2:56?

Vincent said...

Welcome back Peter.
Anonymous 2:56 get your facts straight, how many of those properties actually sold for said prices. Unbelievable people still take the press’ words as gospel. Uh no offense Peter.

This economy and situation will change, it may not be a pretty adventure, but things will even out, and the playing field will be green once again. Housing market issues are the root of cause of this mess, but not the only ones.

The biggest problem we face now is understand and coming to grips with the extraordinary amount of debt this new administration made a gift to the American people in the form of uncomfortably over sized time bomb suppositories.

Once the majority of Obamainites get the wind out of their sails, and get clear enough vision to see what is what, another round of problems will crop up 2010, 2011, 2012 Though this time due to being over taxed, and having no incentive to achieve more than a certain amount per year, less being super taxed.

The sky isn’t falling; the chips are simply falling where they need to fall.

I am really not so pessimistic, just a realist, and truly feel a new wave leaders , exercising fiscal conservatism with the people’s money, yet instilling a great sense of capitalist fervor will come about with only the best interests of the American people at heart, and no more of this “I did not have sexual relations with that woman”, and “No more ear marks" "government transparency ” garbage.

Anonymous said...

Okay Civil War G.O.P. Freak,

Prove that a $775k uptown condo went for $225k.
I cannot find any info on your B.S. anywhere.

Did Rush tell you it was so ?

Anonymous said...

I just love anonymous postings predicting dire consequences, don't you? :)

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:56 I totally agree. We cannot keep printing money and expect things to get better. We will see hyper-inflation within a year or two. Better buy gold, silver and guns while you can!

Anonymous said...


Don't go slyly beating up on the current administration. How about his time last year when W proposed a 3.1 trillion spending plan on the military alone. Oh yeah, Congress nixed that - thankfully.
You had better take a look at the W graph of the U.S. deficit before you ever open your mouth about this current administration. Obama hasn't even touched the yearly spending habits of W and he is actually trying to get us out of a total disaster. Unlike W and his b.s. spending habits. The Republicans have spent us into a world of hurt, especially during 2000 to 2006 when they had the control of the Congress and they had their good ol' boy George at the helm. Check out the numbers for those years, compare them to 2007-2009 when the Dems had control and then get back with us.
Conservatives, not very likely.