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Cornelius News

In-migration helps drive home prices

By Kate Stevens. Demand for mid-price housing in Cornelius is outstripping supply as in-migration continues unabated. The Lake Norman real estate market is expected to continue this low-supply trend into the foreseeable future, according to local market experts.

DataUSA says our town’s population 27,000 but the 2016 Census shows 30,207 residents. Five years out town officials are looking at topping 35,000. Meanwhile, a few more projects are coming, both single-family and townhouses, in-fill and larger developments.

Pat Riley

Despite the new projects, prices for existing homes are bound to surge: There’s a labor shortage slowing new construction and renovation as well as the continued in-migration of newcomers, said Pat Riley, president and CEO of Allen Tate Real Estate. 

“People are coming in droves,” said Riley.

Real estate is doing even better than last year, said Abigail Jennings, president of Cornelius-based Lake Norman Realty Co.

“Both markets are doing even better than last year, as we are seeing the inventory decrease in the $1 million-plus market and sales increasing,” Jennings said.

Abigail Jennings

Mid-range homes priced from $250,000 to $499,000 are a hot commodity, Jennings said.

In mid-range new construction through July 2017, there is a 6.7 month supply in Lake Norman area compared to a six-month supply during the same time period the previous year, according to data from the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association.

A six-month supply is considered a balanced market.

In resale for the $250,000-$499,000 market through July 2017, there is a 4.1 month supply, down from a five-month supply during the same time the previous year.

“It’s really hot,” Jennings said. “Homes need to look their very best.”

Through July 2017, 431 resale homes ranging from $250,000-$499,000 sold through the end of August 2017 compared to 347 comparable homes sold during the same time last year, Jennings said.

In new construction, 196 resale homes priced $250,000-$499,000 sold through the end of July 2016 compared to 124 comparable homes sold during the same time period last year, Jennings said.

Riley said he doesn’t see the housing shortage ending for a few years due to Baby Boomers staying in their current homes and retiring later in life, millennials having children and requiring more space and new residents moving to the area.

The shortage in construction labor—after the recession forced many out of the business—has also played a role in the slow-down of construction and projects, especially since there is a huge premium for new homes, Riley said.

Real estate experts encourage homeowners to renovate and update, even if homeowners don’t foresee moving right away, so they will be in a good position to sell when it is time.

“If you don’t maintain or upgrade at all price points, people will pass you by,” Riley said.

Then, too, rent is at an all time high and as soon as leases are up, renters may choose to purchase a home before interest rates climb, Riley said.

Although the Lake Norman area has lately attracted people who don’t have to travel to Charlotte for work, once the construction work on I-77 is completed, Riley said downtown workers will again consider the Lake Norman area to live.

But the future seems exceptionally bright for residential real estate—especially for sellers in that sweet spot between $250,000 and $499,000. “Right now, I see continued, steady growth,” Jennings said.

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