By Matthew Paul Brown – Senior Managing Broker, Broker Associate ResideCharlotte.com
The Charlotte market continues to flourish even during the holiday season. Dilworth home sales remain consistent with last year at 11 closed homes during the same time period over 500k in December. In South Charlotte / Ballantyne, home sales are in pace with last year. Myers Park and Eastover continue to remain strong, however, inventory of homes on the active market has decreased to 54 in both neighborhoods. With inventory tapering off due to the holiday season, I would highly recommend that sellers consider placing their homes on the market right after the New Year. Why wait to compete with all the other sellers waiting to place their home on the market in early Spring 2016?
Total sales in the 500k and up range this year in Charlotte were 1,148 houses, versus 962 last year, again, a healthy 20% increase. The two best ranges were 500-999k up to 961 from 795, and the 2m plus range, up to 26 total sales from just 16.
Last quarter, according to the U.S. Department of Labor estimates, e-Commerce grew 15 percent year-over-year while m-Commerce soared 70 percent. Mobile is arguably the most overwhelming change to digital commerce since the introduction of the internet itself. The real estate market has experienced a dramatic shift over the decade with more consumers starting their search online. With that, my team is experienced in offering the best presentation of a home online with extraordinary photography and video. Positioning a home is critical to capture the buyer’s attention to engage them to make an appointment to preview in person.
Clicks for Bricks
Speaking of in person, holiday shopping exploded on Cyber Monday, total e-Commerce spending reached $3.1 billion, exceeding the $3.0 billion mark for the first time. Mobile commerce rose a staggering 53 percent, to $838 million in sales, according to comScore. Looking to holiday season shopping, m-Commerce growth is expected to jump significantly compared to desktop growth.
In October of this year, gains were realized in private residential construction which was up 1.0% and public nonresidential construction rose 1.4%. Private housing construction continues to rally up a very strong 16.6% year over year, and home improvements are up 22.6%, near peak growth rates seen during the housing boom in 2006. In 2014, residential construction totaled 12,114 units. Non-residential permits accounted for 7,503 in Charlotte. The recent warm weather has helped extend the building season. The Pending Home Sales index, a leading indicator of existing homes sales, rose 0.2% in October after two straight months of declines. This data would lead one to believe that home sales will continue to trek higher at a slow pace.
Being a car enthusiast myself, consumers continue to spend freely on big ticket items, including automobiles. In November, lightweight auto sales remained near cycle highs for the expansion at over 18 million units. The domestic sales ticked slightly lower, but were almost fully offset by a jump in sales of imported cars and trucks.
My team always takes extreme precautions when handling client’s personal data such as checking account numbers. With deposit checks being taken and emailed back and forth, this remains a big concern with both REALTORS and Closing Attorneys. Efforts to maintain security and consumer confidence in the face of rising hacker risks will continue to be an area that can be improved upon such as online document storage. Personally, I make sure to ink out the checking account numbers prior to uploading for online storage and emailing to involved parties.
The labor market continues to be very strong and also supports the December Fed rate hike. The initial claims for unemployment insurance are near the lowest levels in over 40 years. This also suggest that strong job growth is likely to continue. In 2014, we experienced 13,134 new jobs in the Charlotte region! This year, the pace continues with companies like Red Ventures a marketing and sales firm adding 500 local jobs making an investment of $5 million. Coca-Cola Bottling Company a manufacturing firm added 117 jobs investing $8.1 million. This year, there had been an estimated $265.2 million dollar investment of additional jobs. Fortunately, we rank 5th in the U.S. as the best place for job seekers. We too, are the 17th largest U.S. city making us even more attractive to talent and companies.
Fed raises interest rates after a decade!
This is a positive move for our continued recovery in the United States. The Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate on Wednesday, December 16, 2015 from a range of 0% to 0.25% to a range of 0.25% to 0.5%. The rate hike is a small one, but will affect millions of Americans and the residential real estate markets. Obviously, the move was long anticipated and it is a great sign that the economy has healed since the Great Recession. With this rate increase we can expect to see mortgage rates gradually increase. However, do not worry, mortgage rates are still at historical lows, so do not let this impede you from moving forward with your home purchase. Personally, I feel confident about the fundamentals of the U.S. economy and the health of the U.S, households, and domestic spending. I too, feel that we are in for a continued uphill trend in 2016 with both residential and commercial real estate.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!
Sources: Department of Labor Statistics, Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, U.S. Trust, CMLS