Picture it: moving day, 2010. The boxes are taped and black marker, scrawled on the side, gives them their room assignment. The moving truck is parked out front. It is a beautiful March day and you are getting ready to walk into your new home. You shield your eyes from the sun as you look up and down the street. You didn’t notice that broken down ‘72 Winnebago at the end of the block when you first drove through the neighborhood. Night time creeps into your neighborhood and it is the first night in your new place. Thump! Boom! Thump! Thump! You trip over your dog to grab a glimpse from the window. The Winnebago has sprung to life, with black lights and the soundtrack to “Party Nights,” you see a teenage girl doing a keg stand, while her beau looks on approvingly with a beer funnel. This is not what you were thinking. It is Tuesday night.
Real estate is local in its scope; despite Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, iPhone apps, Zillow, Polaris or any of the other hundreds, or thousands, of websites that can provide real estate data, sometimes nothing can beat a local real estate agent, who can provide you with information you didn’t know you needed on your next home purchase.
Several agents from the Triad, Triangle area and Charlotte spoke about neighborhood trends they have noticed in their area.
Charlotte has seen the Plaza Midwood area give life to an eclectic mix of urban hipsters and Subaru-driving soccer moms; despite its, hmmm, spotty past. A trend, observers note, is a desire to live close to downtown. In contrast, only a few years ago people wanted a home that had already seen revitalization and not one in need of much work or up-fitting. With the hope of a useful light rail system one day, people are looking for a cozy home close to public transportation. Colonial Village, Brandywine and the surrounding Scaleybark area are spots that are getting some nods. Things along the light rail corridor seem to get more attention from prospective buyers. Charlotte’s strong backdrop of bankers and financiers keeps money and spending consciousness around. As a result, price is still king in the Queen City. Affordability is the number one driver of buyers in Charlotte.
In the Triangle area buyers want walk-ability. They want to walk to work and shopping. Being “green” is the new black. New homeowners are buying much more than a house — they’re buying into a lifestyle, as well. One agent told us buyers now specify the lifestyle they want — whether it be living in an historic district, on the golf course or close to work — even if it means sacrificing a home in a particular neighborhood or town. New construction here is a challenge. One-third of Durham County, for example, is in a watershed area, according to Paul Stinson from Prudential-York Simpson and Underwood, a former chair of the Housing and Appeals Board.
The Triad market is very soft at this time, but areas in the northwest city of Greensboro and the northwestern area of Guilford County remain strong. Lake Jeanette, Henson Farms in Summerfield and Jefferson Woods, among others, have retained their value because of great schools, wonderful shopping and the array of recreational activities. Since textiles have moved away and the furniture industry is packing up its chest of drawers to leave, the Triad is bruised, but not knocked out. Greensboro hopes to see growth due to a new transportation hub, new land development and a great highway system. According to Tom Chitty, of Prudential Carolinas Realty, “We are trying to be an ‘aerotropolis’ through both air and land; once that happens we are anticipating more companies to come.” : :
This article was published in the March 6—March 19 print edition.