Friday, July 29, 2011

Groundbreaking For Romare Bearden Park

Please join us as we celebrate world renowned artist Romare Bearden’s 100th birthday with the ground breaking of uptowns newest park named in his honor.

Romare Bearden Park Groundbreaking Ceremony
September 02, 2011 9:00-10:30am
Corner of 3rd and Church St.

Be prepared for a unique experience unlike any groundbreaking ceremony you’ve ever attended.
Refreshments will be provided.
What great news this is!  Several things to look for as the park develops.  Poplar and Mint Streets will both become 2 way streets.  The curved part of Poplar that currently goes to meet Mint Street by Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard will disappear.  Poplar will now dead end into Third Street.  Fourth Street Will also become 2 way up to Mint Street.  The curved portion of Fourth Street to meet Third Street will go away, making a larger parcel for the proposed Knights Baseball Stadium.

Go Here for the Parks and Recreation website for the Romare Bearden Park.  The construction of the park will certainly be a difficult thing for the Panthers home games as three different parking lots / tailgate areas will no longer exist!  Should be exciting.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Charlotte Is A Best Value City

The Kiplinger Newsletter has proclaimed Charlotte to be the 2nd "Best Value" city in the country.  Go Here to see the article.

This again points toward trends that are developing Charlotte.  Great weather; great business climate; low cost of living; low taxes; and an educated labor market. 

Much has been written about the Epicentre over the years, some good some bad.  Some complain that Gahzi took advantage of the city and contractors with some lawsuits still waiting to be settled.  Without getting into the legal ramifications of that, the accompanying picture of the Epicentre shows the impact that it is having on the city.  There has been a significant move off of Tryon Street to College Street, and the Epicentre is a big part of that.

Most weekend nights finds the restaurants and bars packed.  It is a true destination, and the location by the LYNX and the proximity to the Time Warner Cable Arena provide a steady stream of people.

Think back to the monolith that the old convention center was, and the hole that it put in the fabric of downtown.  We have come a long way, and Epicentre has been a big part.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Possible Re-Birth Of The Encore On Tryon

Go to this link to see the revised plan for the Carolina Theatre renovation and development.  Originally, this was going to be a 20 story high end condo project with the quirky feature of having car elevators deposit your vehicle just outside your door, regardless of the floor you were living on!  Quite a concept. 

The recession and financial considerations by the developer has scrapped the original project in favor of a smaller building, but one that will assist in restoring the Carolina Theatre.  This is a welcome bit of news as it will accomplish several things.  It will remove an unsightly empty corner on Tryon across from The Historic Dunhill Hotel; It will renovate the Carolina Theatre into a functioning venue again; It will help to shift some entertainment back to the north end of Tryon Street, and signal a renewed interest in redevelopment in the First and Fourth Wards.

While the project is not a sure thing at this point, the concept and timing are great.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Dropping Foreclosures Across The Country

Go Here for an article in the Real Estate Economy Watch which talks about the significant rate at which foreclosures are falling.  The article is not a month over month knee jerk reaction to what is happening, but shows a developing trend in real estate.

Why foreclosures are falling could have many causes; loan modifications; short sales; recovery; and owners turning to renting to get through this economic recession.

I have been focusing on rentals over the past several articles and have activly encouraged many owners I talk with to rent instead of listing in this market.  In fact, I am doing that with the properties I own.  I would rather sell them, but renting is a viable option.

The fact remains that a property is an asset like any other asset you may own.  While many people are reluctant to sell a stock that has taken a significant hit, think Bank of America or any bank stock, they appear more willing to sell their propety at a loss than continue to hold it.

Feeding a financially distressed property market more property will have the effect of extending the downturn and slowing the recovery.

Monday, July 11, 2011

More Rental Information

The Rental Market continues to be hot. Previous articles have documented the increased activity both from a traditional rental building as well as condo owners looking to generate some revenue from their properties.

I have a friend who was looking for a short term furnished property to rent.  My advice to him was to try the Catalyst.  That building was born as a condo development by Novare.  As they also built The Avenue, they did not want to interfere with the closing of The Avenue, they did not do presales.  Unfortunately for Novare, the recession had hit when they finally started marketing. 

Too late!

After frantically trying to sell the building, they hoped to convert it to half rental half condo, an interesting plan, but it failed to materialize.  They finally decided to turn the entire building into rentals.

As of this writing, they are 98% leased!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Charlotte Regional Indicators Project

Go to this site created by UNCC Urban Institute to get a wealth of data, charts, and speculation about the 14 county Charlotte Region.  Normally I would limit my focus to just downtown Charlotte information, but found this to be extremely valuable.  Listed below is information directly from the "About The Project" from the website.

The quality of life or well-being of a community is measured by many social, economic, and environmental factors. In the Charlotte region, it has become increasingly evident that these factors can only be effectively measured and addressed by crossing political boundaries and looking at the entire geographic area or region. Successful regional approaches to maintaining and enhancing the quality of life require tracking and assessing trends over time.

The Charlotte Regional Indicators Project does just that. It provides critical benchmarks measured over time and compared to state and/or national data for the 14-county, 2-state region, which includes Anson, Cabarrus, Catawba, Cleveland, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, Mecklenburg, Rowan, Stanly, and Union counties in North Carolina and Chester, Lancaster, and York counties in South Carolina. The Indicators Project provides objective, reliable, and relevant data that measure the region’s annual progress on a wide range of indicators that impact the region’s quality of life.

The Indicators Project focuses on ten theme areas: Arts, Recreation, and Cultural Life; the Economy; Education; the Environment; Government and Citizen Participation; Health; Housing; Public Safety; Social Well-Being; and Transportation, plus Demographics. Individually, the ten theme areas represent critical components of the region’s quality of life. Collectively, the ten theme areas provide a holistic framework that allows the region to better understand the inter-relationships among them.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Wealthy People Are Trading Up

Here is an interesting article from a publication called the Real Estate Economy Watch.  It alludes to the fact that wealthy people are using the current market conditions to trade up primary residences.  I have not found this to be the case with high end condos in downtown Charlotte, but that trend may be changing.

While a third of homeowners struggle to stay above water on their mortgages, nearly a quarter of those in the upper income tiers have been trading up to take advantage of deals in the luxury home market.

Lured by lower prices, one in four U.S. consumers with annual income of $150,000 or more have bought a residential property since 2008 at a median purchase price of $509,000, up 3.2 percent from the 2005 to 2007 period. Most new residences (83 percent) are single-family homes and two-thirds of these are in suburban settings. Seventeen percent plan to purchase additional property this year, while 23 percent of those younger than 50 plan to buy in 2011.

According a new survey by the Luxury Institute and the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, high net-worth homeowners are taking advantage of the downturn to trade up into higher-priced new primary residences. More than one-third (37 percent) of the wealthy value their homes at $1 million or higher, while 32% assess their primary residence to be worth $500,000 or less.

 “Luxury homebuyers recognize that many premium homes are available at relative bargains,” said Milton Pedraza, CEO of the Luxury Institute. “Similar to the luxury retail landscape, luxury home sales provide more evidence of durability at the high end of the market.”

“Luxury is the good news story in real estate,” said Laurie Moore-Moore, CEO of The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing. “The number of wealthy households has jumped back to pre-recession levels and affluent home buyers are actively purchasing. The National Association of Realtors’ statistics show that national home sales at $1 million and above were up more than 18 percent year-over-year in 2010. Strong activity continues this year as well.”

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Supply And Demand: Declining Listings

The chart below comes from MLS history.  It clearly shows the year over year decline of listings, whether traditional or financially distressed.  It is reflective of several things, but they all relate to supply and demand. 

Clearly, during the height (or depth) of the recession, property  was not selling, many properties stayed on the market a long time with no results.  Some of those properties slipped into short sale or foreclosure situations, some of those properties were made available as rentals by their owners, and some of the owners simply took their properties off the market delaying making a change in their lives.

Whatever the cause, the effect will lead to stabilization of prices, and a rise in property values, such is the law of Supply and Demand!