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Mint Hill Downtown Improvements for 2015

by John C. Walker, Realtor

A new Publix Grocery anchors the new Mint Hill Commons shopping centerMint Hill's downtown is taking a large step forward into 2015. A new retail site, Mint Hill Commons, has just opened and is anchored by a high-end Publix grocery store. Across the street, a Sherwin-Williams paint store and a Jersey Mike’s sub shop are also soon to open.

Other infrastructure improvements include new medians, a traffic light at the intersection of Matthews Mint-Hill Road and Brighton Park Drive, and the extension of sidewalks along Matthews Mint-Hill Road through the downtown area.

Up to 125 new Mint Hill Homes may be built on the 40 acres behind Publix. The proposed development would back up to the Farmwood East subdivision. The homes would range in size from 1,500 to 2,000 square feet, with prices between $220,000 and $300,000.

Local Towns Among Safest in North Carolina

by John C. Walker, Realtor

Offering an abundance of affordable housing, a diverse landscape and cutting-edge tech industries, its no The Charlotte area has many desirable, low-crime suburban communitiessurprise that the state of North Carolina is growing. According to U.S. Census data, during the first decade of the 21st Century North Carolina was the 6th fastest-growing state in America, enjoying an 18.5% increase in population. And its unemployment rate continues to fall.

If you’re considering a move to North Carolina, we're sure that a safe area to relocate to is one of your top criteria. SafeWise, and independent source of crime and safety information, has paired the most recent FBI Crime Report with their own independent examination to bring us North Carolina’s top 50 safest cities to settle in.

To make their list, a city had to have a population of over 5,000 as of 2012 and needed to meet criteria regarding both violent and property crimes, according to FBI statistics from 2012. They analyzed the number of violent crimes as well as property crimes and calculated the chance of these crimes happening out of 1,000 in order to level the playing field for the different populations of each city.

If North Carolina is calling you, it’s time to discover your new hometown among the below with emphasis on towns in our real estate coverage area:

1. Pinehurst
2 Holly Springs
3. Elon
4. Apex
5. Winterville
6. Morrisville
7. Stallings
8. Cary
9. Black Mountain
10. Wake Forest
11. Matthews
12. Huntersville
13. Mint Hill
14. Cornelius
15. Archdale
16. Boiling Spring Lakes
17. Brevard
18. Fletcher
19. Boone
20. Clayton
21. Waxhaw

North Carolina: Best Places for Homeownership

by John C. Walker, Realtor

Best Places to Live in North CarolinaAdding about 100,000 residents to its population of nearly 10 million between 2012 & 2013, the state of North Carolina is truly growing. The unemployment rate plunged from 9.5% to 6.9% during this period... a strong result to be sure.

NerdWallet, a website on a mission to save you money, took a look at the 59 North Carolina cities with populations greater than 15,000 to find out which offer the best value for potential homeowners. Their analysis tried to answer three main questions:

1. Are homes available?  They looked at the metro area’s homeownership rate to determine the availability of homes. A low homeownership rate is likely a signal of competitive inventory, more options for renters rather than buyers and expensive housing. Areas with a high homeownership rate led to a higher overall score.

2. Can you afford to live there? They looked at median household income, monthly homeowner costs and median home value to assess affordability and determine whether residents could live comfortably in the area. They used monthly homeowner costs to measure cost of living. Areas with high median incomes and low cost of living scored higher.

3. Is the area growing? They measured population growth to ensure that the area is attracting new residents and showing signs of solid growth. This is likely a signal of a robust local economy, which is another attractive characteristic for homebuyers.

Many areas we serve ranked highly in the results. Top cities include:

1. Holly Springs
2. Indian Trail: The town with Native American roots sits about 15 miles from Charlotte. Indian Trail celebrated its centennial just seven years ago. Homeowner costs here account for 26.4% of the median monthly household income and 85.8% of homes in Indian Trail are owned rather than rented. The population jumped during the 1990s from 1,942 to 11,905 residents, and has not stopped growing. The U.S. Census Bureau estimated a population of 34,800 for 2012. The town turned its focus to improving the community atmosphere in 2009, by initiating a Parks Master Plan, which would create more parks and recreation opportunities in the town. Crossing Paths Park, the town’s first municipal park, opened in 2011 and features public art, playgrounds and an amphitheater.
3. Fuquay-Varina
4. Wake Forest
5. Clayton
6. Apex
7. Huntersville
8. Morrisville
9. Cornelius
10. Mint Hill: A suburb of Charlotte, Mint Hill saw a 4.3% population jump between 2010 and 2012. The town has an 81% homeownership rate, the median monthly income is $5,806, and 27.5% of that income is devoted to homeowner costs. Mint Hill is home to Mint Hill Veterans Memorial Park and Wilgrove Park, as well as a nationally recognized youth football program.
12. Concord
16. Matthews
19. Charlotte
20. Kannapolis

Changes Ahead for Park Road Shopping Center

by John C. Walker, Realtor

Not far from the Madison Park and Myers Park neighborhoods, Park Road Shopping Center was Charlotte's Park Road Shopping Center to see welcome additionsfirst open-air retail center built in 1956. Now the center’s owner is announcing new tenants at one of Charlotte’s most-recognizable retail landmarks, adding three upscale dining options and a makeup bar. These additions continue Columbia, SC-based developer EDENS’ multi-million dollar efforts to make over the location.

EDENS hopes to draw more customer traffic and turn Park Road Shopping Center into a destination that’s open from early morning to late night. The shopping center has a decades-long history and appeal as a neighborhood retail spot.

The new businesses announced include:

Cantina 1511, a Dilworth fixture, is moving from its East Boulevard location. The new location will be able to seat about 100 more people than the current restaurant’s 174 maximum.

Va Da Vie, a locally-owned gelato store.

RockSalt, a farm-to-table, seafood-focused restaurant will feature an outdoor patio and wood-fired grill. The restaurant is their fourth East Coast location, and its first in North Carolina.

The LALA Girl, a locally-owned shop offering full-face makeup applications.

Park Road Shopping Center is being reorganized around specific districts. The theater district will feature Cantina 1511 and the movie theater. The market district clustered around Harris Teeter, features more casual restaurants, such as the Carolina Soda Shoppe.

EDENS has invested millions to renovate buildings, storefronts, additional outdoor seating, sidewalks and landscaping at the shopping center. Work will continue in 2014 with more upgrades to facades and more subtle touches, such as lighting.

Happy Holidays!

by John C. Walker, Realtor

Charlotte Zip Code Among Most Searched in Nation

by John C. Walker, Realtor

Ballantyne is one of Charlotte's most desirable home locations!Charlotte's Ballantyne and Piper Glen areas are among the most-searched zip codes of 2013 for those looking for real estate, according to an affiliate of the National Association of Realtors.

South Charlotte's 28277 ranks No. 5 on the nationwide list. The area's strong schools, the number of nearby businesses and office parks, and its abundant shopping and dining options among the reasons for its growth.

Topping the list is Chicago's Old Town neighborhood, followed by McKinney, Texas, in the Dallas area. Two Florida neighborhoods, Wellington in West Palm Beach and Hollywood's Pembroke Pines, round out the top five.

Ballantyne is also one of Charlotte's wealthiest zip codes. Residents there have an average disposable income of $82,263 and average net worth of $766,864.

Mortgage Rates in 2014: Where Are They Heading?

by John C. Walker, Realtor

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) is forecasting that mortgage rates will likely rise above 5% next Charlotte mortgage rate trendsyear and average 5.3% by the end of 2015. That would mark a significant increase... some 50-75 basis points higher than where they are as of this writing depending on the type of loan product and borrower qualifications. How might this affect Charlotte real estate transactions? Read on.

The MBA expects that the Federal Reserve will decide to taper its $85-billion per month bond-purchasing program in early 2014 and end it altogether in September 2014. The Fed’s bond buying program has been keeping mortgage rates low. The Fed has hinted in recent months that it will soon be winding down the program and the latest October Fed minutes have put this prospect again squarely in focus. 

As a result, refinancings will continue to drop, and borrowers seeking to tap the equity in their homes will be more likely to rely on home equity seconds rather than cash-out refinances. The MBA expects home purchase applications for mortgages to rise 9% next year, following expected continued home sales and price increases. 

However, the MBA projects that overall mortgage originations will drop 32% in 2014, as the number of refinancing applications post a large drop in the new year due to expected rising interest rates. While refinancings make up the bulk of home applications today, that trend is expected to reverse next year. Purchase loans are expected to make up 60% of originations next year compared to about 38% this year. 

Home purchase originations are expected to increase in 2014 due largely to gains in home sales and home prices. Also projected is a decline in the share of sales paid for with cash, and higher average loan-to-values on purchase mortgages, due to the rise in home prices.

Top Charlotte Realtor Award Earned Again For 2013... Three Years Running!

by John C. Walker, Realtor

Top Charlotte Realtor Award of 2013John C. Walker, Realtor has been named a Five Star Real Estate AgentSM for 2013 by Charlotte Magazine and Crescendo Business Services for third year in a row. This program is designed to identify and showcase real estate agents in a local market that score highest in overall satisfaction.

As part of an in-depth research process, real estate agents are evaluated by their customers and real estate industry professionals based on customer service, integrity, market knowledge, communication and negotiation skills, closing preparation, helping you find the right home, marketing the home being sold, and overall satisfaction.
Surveys were sent to Charlotte area residents who recently purchased a home over $150,000, that’s more than 15,000 households, between February 2012 and February 2013. Also surveyed were 1,000 subscribers of Charlotte magazine and an additional 250 mortgage and title companies. They were asked to name and evaluate real estate agents with whom they have had direct/personal experience with. Recent home buyers and subscribers can evaluate up to two agents, while mortgage and title companies can evaluate up to three agents. Both positive and negative responses regarding each agent are accepted. In addition to the survey results, other criteria such as acceptable disciplinary action and review by a panel of local industry experts are incorporated into the overall evaluation process.
The final list of Five Star Real Estate Agents recipients included just 7% of all agents in the Charlotte market. John is proud to have his hard work recognized and to be counted among this short list of top agents. The survey results and award winners will be in the December issue of Charlotte Magazine.

Charlotte Home Prices Log 7.6% Annual Increase

by John C. Walker, Realtor

In the July reading of year-over-year local real estate performance, Charlotte home prices were up 7.6%. That Charlotte home prices continue their trend of annualized gains... but at a slower pace.makes the 17th month in a row of annualized gains.

Las Vegas reported the largest year-over-year increase at 27.5%. Atlanta, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, Phoenix, Portland, San Diego, San Francisco, Seattle, and Tampa all had double-digit gains.

Charlotte real estate has seen annualized price increases every month since March 2012. The biggest for Charlotte so far in 2013 was in May, when prices climbed 7.9%.

But real estate price increases may well be leveling off in Charlotte and elsewhere. While Charlotte prices were up 1.24% from April - May and 1.3% from May - June, they were up only 0.7% from June - July.

If data moving forward  supports this budding trend, higher mortgage rates are a likely contributor. Since May 2013, rates are a full percentage point higher for a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage. It would also be natural for home prices to cool off after rising rapidly initially following the housing downturn and subsequent turn around.

A 3.2% - 3.4% annualized rate of home price increases have been the normal rate of appreciation since about the 1950's.

With this said, many Charlotte homes continue to sell quickly. August inventory was equal to 5.4 months of supply. Anything below six months of inventory is considered to be a seller’s market, according to a widely accepted definition.

Large Multi-Use Real Estate Project Planned for South Charlotte

by John C. Walker, Realtor

South Charlotte real estate development plannedA 90-acre former farm in south Charlotte is the proposed site for a real estate development to include homes, stores, medical facilities and restaurants. It is a large, wooded area across Providence Road from Rea Village Shopping Center and Providence Country Club. To the north of the site is Interstate 485, about half a mile away.

This land may well represent one of the most desirable, undeveloped tracts in the affluent south Charlotte corridor. As many as 180 single-family homes and town houses and 375 upscale apartments are expected. An upscale grocery store would anchor as much as 250,000 square feet of retail space. Another 90,000 square feet is planned as restaurant and shop space.

Two office buildings, as tall as six stories each, are planned, as are two medical office buildings totaling 60,000 square feet. Parking decks are planned, as well. No potential tenants have been announced, but developers said a pediatric clinic might be among them.

The project is not a done deal. The developers needed to file a rezoning request and have already submitted it. A hearing is set for October. A final City Council vote isn’t likely until next year.

Displaying blog entries 1-10 of 121