When real estate brokerage company Redfin released its annual “Hottest Neighborhoods” prediction for 2019, a few popular Charlotte ‘hoods were missing: Plaza Midwood. NoDa. Dilworth. South End.
Instead, Redfin dubbed three up-and-coming regions — Madison Park, Sunset Road, and Mallard Creek-Withrow Downs — 2019’s most likely to succeed. The findings are based on year-over-year increases in pageviews and favorites on Redfin.com.
Jill Delmastro, a locally based Redfin real estate agent who has sold homes in the Queen City for five years, said these findings speak to what Charlotte house hunters are really looking for: great locations, both in terms of transportation and amenities, and affordable prices.
Take Sunset Road, for instance. The area in northeast Charlotte where Metrolina Tradeshow Expo used to be has seen a lot of growth over the past few years. Delmastro said new construction and the neighborhood’s proximity to I-77 have brought the area’s price point up. Plus, neighborhoods like Sunset Road offer more space at a lower price than those in center city. Redfin lists Sunset Road’s median sale price as $201,500. For a direct house-to-house comparison, two similarly sized houses listed on Redfin were sold in February for drastically different prices: A 1,459-square-foot bungalow in Plaza Midwood sold for $473,000, and a 1,346-square-foot house in Sunset Road sold for $165,000.
“I see a lot of people finding properties they can invest in,” Delmastro said, adding that the area is a great opportunity for first-time property owners.
The difference in rates in Plaza versus those in Sunset Road come down to proximity; in Plaza, you pay to be close to, even walking or biking distance from, restaurants, shops, and other amenities. Although somewhat bikeable, Sunset Road’s walk score comes in at 11 out of 100, while Plaza’s is 57 out of 100. Sunset Road is also listed as “car-dependent,” which Plaza is not.
Still, whether the prices in neighborhoods like Plaza are achievable is something Savvy & Co. real estate agent Heather Claxton deals with all the time. “People love Dilworth and it’s beautiful, but it’s also really expensive, so when home buyers come to me with a price point in the $300,000s, I go to Madison Park,” she said.
Another neighborhood listed in Redfin’s findings, Madison Park is close to both Park Road Shopping Center and South End — arguably two of Charlotte’s hottest regions. Claxton said people love the character and charm of the area’s mid-century homes. Although not entirely walkable, there are also a lot of bars and restaurants nearby, and the trees, which are abundant throughout Madison Park, tend to attract buyers who want that “walkability” factor.
Redfin lists the median sale price here as $303,000, but Delmastro estimates that number will grow about 6 percent because of the nearby growth in South End and off Park Road.
Claxton said the light rail, accessible to Madison Park residents via the Woodlawn and Scaleybark stations, has had a huge impact on the neighborhood’s growth and popularity. “People are looking at neighborhoods located away from urban cores, but still close enough for easy commutes to job centers,” Claxton said.
That statement rings true for Mallard Creek-Withrow Downs as well, although Claxton doesn’t sell homes there. Redfin’s third and final “hot Charlotte neighborhood” is in the University City area, which has experienced tremendous growth thanks to the extension of the light rail and the addition of new restaurants and shops. Delmastro said UNCC’s financial commitment to the area has helped to put it on the map for home buyers. “I think the university has done an excellent job making the community as beautiful as the campus,” she said.
Other area gems
When asked what other areas of Charlotte home buyers are looking in besides those in Redfin’s findings, Claxton listed her top five: Elizabeth, Plaza Midwood, Dilworth, NoDa and Villa Heights. Delmastro said she think’s Plaza’s home-buying heydey is pretty much done, but she sees a future in NoDa. “NoDa is going to be hot again, but they’re doing teardowns, so it’s going to be expensive,” Delmastro said.
Outside city limits, both agents said the town of Belmont is the place to watch. Delmastro said the town has a lot of inventory — she’s sold 24 townhomes in three months — and things to do, such as micro-breweries and distilleries.
Claxton said the downtown is walkable and has that small-town feel, and the commute really isn’t that different from living in Charlotte. “It’s only 30 minutes away but has all the amenities you’d want,” Claxton said.