Here’s why buying a house in Charlotte could be a big challenge this spring

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Observer archives/BigstocK

Home buyers in Charlotte this spring are facing a tough market, with fast-rising prices and plummeting inventory.

That’s according to the latest figures from the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association. But in spite of the market’s problems, demand appears to be strong, and the number of homes sold is expected to rise this year.

Charlotte is experiencing the same shortage in the number of homes for sale that has beset cities nationwide. Home building that’s well below historical norms, Wall Street-backed rental companies buying single-family houses and a focus on the luxury market from homebuilders have all combined to make entry-level housing especially scarce.

“Despite the challenges the Charlotte region continues to face surrounding inventory levels and price increases, we’re pleased to see positive year-over-year sales during the first two months of the year,” said CRRA president Jason Gentry. “Buyer demand continues to be steady, and we saw homes average about 10 showings per listing in February.”

Image Courtesy of Charlotte Regional Realtor Association

The average price of a home sold in the Charlotte region jumped 7.8 percent in February from the same month a year ago, to $264,529. The median price, another measure that places less emphasis on high-end sales and more on the middle and low-end market, increased even more, shooting up almost 13 percent in the last year. The median price of a home sold in the Charlotte market was $227,000 in February.

At the same time, the number of houses on the market was down almost 18 percent in February, compared to the same month last year. There were 7,915 homes on the market, or about two months of supply. A balanced market is considered to have roughly four to six months of supply available.

Despite all that, the number of pending sales rose 10 percent in February, indicating there are still plenty of buyers in the market willing to pay higher prices and compete for scarce homes.

Within Charlotte city limits, the numbers paint an even starker picture. The median home price jumped 15 percent since last year, to $230,000. Meanwhile, the number of houses listed for sale plunged almost 19 percent.

There are only about 1.3 months of supply on the market within Charlotte city limits, down from 1.6 months in Feb. 2017. That means if no new homes were listed for sale, Charlotte houses would be sold out in just over five weeks.

Featured photo: Observer archives/Bigstock

This story first ran at CharlotteObserver.com.

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