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Report shows it’s harder to find an affordable home in Charlotte

Homes in Charlotte's Cherry neighborhood where housing prices have increased rapidly.
Gwendolyn Glenn
Homes in Charlotte's Cherry neighborhood where housing prices have increased rapidly.

Finding an affordable home to buy or rent in the Charlotte region has gotten even more challenging over the past year. This year’s State of Housing in Charlotte Report released Tuesday, Nov. 15., looks at exactly how much harder it is.

There are some positive signs for homebuyers: housing prices have gone down some over the past several months, homes aren’t being snapped up as quickly and only 26% of houses are now selling above the listing price.

But Youngqiang Chu, a professor of Real Estate and Urban Economics at UNC Charlotte, says as far as affordability it’s “getting much worse.” He’s the report’s primary author.

Here’s the situation, according to the report:

  • Most households in the Charlotte region can’t afford some of the cheapest homes on the market — those priced at the 10th percentile. 
  • 80% of households can’t afford a house priced in the middle. 
  • Since the pandemic, median housing prices in the region have increased by 54%. 
  • The median price of a home in the region is now $420,000.

Another pain point: Interest rates have more than doubled in the past year. And that recent drop in housing prices, Chu says, is likely just a regular seasonal dip. He says those factors are driving more people to rent and rents continue to rise. Last year monthly average rent increased by $198.
So is there any relief on the horizon? Analysts do expect interest rates to go down over the next year.

“In the long run, affordability is still going to be a big challenge in this area with very high house prices, very high-interest rates,” Chu said. “The only way to get out of this, if there is kind of a solution, is we need to build more houses.”

Compared to other cities the region competes with nationally, the report says Charlotte is largely in the middle when it comes to affordability. Taking into account home prices and incomes the report found Charlotte is more affordable than Austin and Nashville, but slightly less than Atlanta and Memphis.

Major support for WFAE's Race & Equity Team comes from Novant Health and Wells Fargo.

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Lisa Worf traded the Midwest for Charlotte in 2006 to take a job at WFAE. She worked with public TV in Detroit and taught English in Austria before making her way to radio. Lisa graduated from University of Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in English.