Easy up, easy down: Charlotte home prices make soft landing

    If market stability and predictability are important factors for you in purchasing a vacation or retirement home, Charlotte, NC, golf communities are worthy of consideration.
    The Case-Shiller March '09 price index of major metro housing markets was published this week.  As it has been for many months, the year over year price changes were dismal in every one of the 20 markets, ranging from plummets of 36% in Phoenix to 5.5% in Denver, just one of five markets in the single-digit point reductions.
    Charlotte, prices, however, rose .3% between February and March, one of only two markets to
Prices in all-business Charlotte never went up too fast, so they haven't crashed either.

do so.  Denver rose a scant .1%.  Charlotte's economy and employment is largely dependent on banking; it is headquarters to Bank of America and Wachovia Bank, which has been merged into Wells Fargo.  Since the banking problems began, prices in Charlotte have dropped nearly into the double-digit range (-9.3% between March '08 and '09).  
    But because the business-oriented town never reached the level of irrational exuberance that was characteristic of Phoenix, Las Vegas and Miami, its real estate price decreases have not been steep.  True, March is typically a good month for sales in markets with family populations, like Charlotte.  Home buyers want to be in their homes and have the kids registered for their new schools before summer.  If the price increases continue for a few months in Charlotte, they may be real.
    Golf-oriented couples and families have much to choose in the area, all communities within easy driving distance of the growing city.  The area is home to about 90 golf courses, many of them inside the gates of communities.  Prices range anywhere from the $300s to over $1 million; the sweet spot appears to be in the $500,000 to $750,000 range.  Lake Norman, north of the city, has the priciest real estate, including The Peninsula Club.  However, lower-priced alternatives are plentiful throughout the area, including in Fort Mill, just over the state line in South Carolina.
    If you would like to know more about Charlotte area golf communities, contact me and I will do the research for you.

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