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What A Foreclosed 'Starter Castle' Says About The Charlotte Housing Market

A house RE/MAX Executive Realty's Leigh Brown calls a 'starter castle.'

A house RE/MAX Executive Realty's Leigh Brown calls a 'starter castle.' There's some good news this week in the Charlotte-area housing market. A report from the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association showed about 20 percent fewer homes sitting on the market in July compared to last year. But the report said there's still an inventory of about 22,000 homes for sale. And according to realtytrac.com, about 4,400 homes are in foreclosure. One of the foreclosures is in Weddington, in an area that RE/MAX Executive Realty's Leigh Brown called the exurbs of Charlotte. (Think suburbs but even farther out.) It's in a beautiful, gated community full of lavish homes, and it's not the only foreclosure there. "We are in what I like to call a starter castle," Brown said after stepping inside the foreclosed house, "which were the houses that were built in the height of the real estate boom that have really ornate exteriors with a little French influence, a little German influence, maybe a little Swiss influence, maybe some Italian and Spanish all tossed into the same house." Yes, the result can be a bit gaudy. And the development in Weddington is full of those kind of houses. "This particular community has been hit really hard by mortgage fraud, which caused prices to not just fall in relation to the rest of the market but to really tumble," Brown said. The foreclosed starter castle is a perfect example. Brown said it sold for about $1.3 million in 2007, but it will probably sell as a bank-owned property somewhere around $650,000. "You're talking a beautiful home," Brown said. "You can see it's got the hardwood floors, and it's got the fancy kitchen, and you're going to get two chandeliers in the dining room - and who needs two chandeliers in the dining room?" Brown said it's indicative of the boom the Charlotte market experienced. "If you look at Charlotte as opposed to a lot of other markets, we had a lot of available land," Brown said. "Builders we're continuing to build out and out and out, so you go from suburbs to exurbs. All of a sudden, you're driving 45 minutes or an hour because you want the starter castle with a little bit of elbow room, and you can't buy a house like this in the middle of town."