Saturday, September 24, 2011

A Change Moving Forward

As I like to say, there is nothing as sure as change (except from a vending machine).  Everything changes, the weather, the economy, relationships, etc.  So it is with the knowledge that change is constant that I decided to open my own Agency.

Please welcome Church Street Realty!

Center City Realty was the only agency I have worked for, and met a lot of nice people and great clients.  I enjoyed working with the name that embodied my "primary market", downtown Charlotte, so the change for me was difficult, but I felt I needed to really narrow my focus to the 4.5 square miles that is downtown Charlotte.

I selected the name Church Street Realty to reflect one of the grand residental streets in the city.  Certainly there are other streets, and other areas of the downtown that I will be with, but none with the strength of Church Street.

My mission statement is simple, "To engage with people who seek to find an urban lifestyle that will allow them to spend less time commuting and more time with their friends."

Being downtown is being in the center of the city.  If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that I look for information and trends that affect the property values in the city, and even when things have looked bleak, this city did not experience the same depths of other cities.

We are emerging from the worst part of the recession and businesses are starting to hire, and there is evidence that property values have stopped dropping.  Now is the right time for me to do this journey. I look forward to sharing this journey with you. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Is Florida Leading The Way Back?

Go here to read an incredible story about a significant change in the real estate market in Florida

"August median prices in Fort Myers are up 33 percent from 2010. Miami is up 24 percent, Punta Gorda 20 percent, Sarasota-Bradenton 10 percent, Daytona 9.3 percent and Lakeland-Winter Haven 8.8 percent. Compare those increases to the national average increase for median list prices from all 146 metros tracked by .46 percent."

Wow, who saw that coming?

I am sure that we are all aware that Florida lead the decline with all the overbuilding of condo's and spec houses when the market was peaking in the mid 2005 - 2006 era, and that despite the lofty increases noted above, they are still selling for below pre-2005 pricing, but the direction is positive.

It is one more sign that buyers, or perhaps investors, are evaluating the market and snapping up value where it exists.  This trend, though not with the same percentage of increase, has come to Charlotte as well.  The media keeps reflecting on the ups and downs of the market and average price of Charlotte, but they look at the entire metro area.  My focus is on downtown.

Prices have stabilized to a large degree here.  There have been several instances of multiple bids on a property, forcing all respondents to submit a best and final offer to secure the property.  It is this type of activity that will allow prices to rise.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Kanvas, An Urban Nightspot

A friend of mine told me he was going to hear some live jazz last night at Kanvas.  I have known about Kanvas since it's opening about a year ago.  A blend of Art Gallery and Lounge, I could not find when it was open, and never took the time to find out.  That changed last night.

First, Kanvas is located in the Court 6 Condominium building located on the corner of East Sixth and Davidson Streets.  It's tall ceilings give the feeling of a much bigger space.  There is a well stocked bar, and soon will have a kitchen to prepare snacks.  Currently, they have an arrangement with Kalu, and a special menu.  Open Wednesday through Saturday from 6 pm to 2:30 am.

Live Jazz is featured every other Friday and the next live Jazz will be September 30th.

The music, art, and friends were great, but the best part is it is a 5 block walk from home!  It is venues like this that make urban living more attractive,and the more attractive that lifestyle becomes, the more it affects property values.

Friday, September 9, 2011

New Yorkers Move To Charlotte

While some of the numbers in an article in the New York Post seem a bit unbelieveable, the thrust of this article remains pretty accurate, go here to read the full article.

People in this article point to incredibly high property taxes, as well as car insurance, something that people seldom think about when talking about where they live.  In this instance, a persons car insurance has been cut from nearly $3,000 to $850 a year. 

As I repeatedly suggest, trends are something that happen slowely but consistantly.  Look at the Colorado River's trend started some millions of years ago along a plateau which has developed into the Grand Canyon.  The New York Post is responding to a trend that they can detect at their end that will benefit us.  And they are not the only location, other cities are experiencing the same trend.

The cost of living here remains extremely attractive and that will be the driving force that will fuel the continued growth of our region.  With these people come energy and excitement.  With these people will come new companies both big and small. 

Couple this with the planned structured growth of the five Transit Corridors and infill density.  Existing properties will increase in value with the increased density.

The future looks bright for Charlotte.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Downtown Rental vs Sale Ownership Trend

This economy is creating some interesting statistics.  Available condo units for sale in downtown Charlotte are lower than they have been in over 5 years, and available condo units for rent are higher than they have been, ever!  I have applied the information reported below from a national level and applied it to a local graph of downtown Charlotte activity.

Housing affordability continued to be near record highs in the second quarter, hovering near its highest level in the 20-plus years it has been recorded, according to the NAHB/WF Housing Opportunity Index.  'At a time when home ownership is within reach of more households than it has been for more than two decades and (interest) rates are at historically low levels, the sluggish economy and tight credit conditions confronting home buyers and builders remain significant obstacles to many potential home sales,' says Bob Nielsen, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders. 'That said, however, some housing markets across the country have stabilized and are beginning to show signs of a budding recovery.' Source: NAHB

The conversion of owner-occupied single-family homes into renter-occupied homes has played an important role in stabilizing housing markets that have been wracked by foreclosures, according to a report on rental housing. The Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University report shows that 1.4 million single-family homes became occupied by tenants during the 2008-2009 period, up from 700,000 in the 2006-2007 period. 'That is a tremendous surge in rental housing supply,' JCHS research director Christopher Herbert said during a Washington presentation of the report’s findings.

The conversion from owner-occupied to renter-occupied data comes from the American Housing Survey that is published every two years. JCHS managing director Eric Belsky told National Mortgage News that he expects the next AHS report will show a continuing surge in conversions in 2010. Source: National Mortgage News

Friday, September 2, 2011

Romare Bearden Park Is Underway

I am not sure that I expected so many political personalities be on the agenda for this groundbreaking, but they were there in full force!  The festivities started with the All Angels Church Choir from St. Michael Episcopal performing 4 songs.  That was nice.

As the politicians began thanking all the people who made the park a possibility, my mind couldn't help but project to the completion of the park and how it will change Charlotte.  The arbor and trellis entrance from the corner of MLK, Jr. Blvd and South Church Street will be a short walk from the Levine Cultural Center and turn that bland intersection into one full of life and activity.  The particular topographics of the site drops around 30 feet from that point.

Charlotte, known for it's trees, will now bring hundreds more into this park and surrounding approaches.  The lot opposite from 230 South Tryon will be reconfigured for a 25 foot wide promenade leading from Tryon Street to the park, giving it the impression that it is much bigger. 

The park will force Poplar Street to terminate at West Third Street, eventually leading to both Poplar and Mint Streets to become a two way street.  Currently, they are sometimes one way, sometimes two way streets.  The intent of a one way street is to speed up traffic, a two way street has the opposite effect.

As the economy improves, adjacent parcels will cease to be just parking lots and instead continue to bring life into these approximately 25 acres of under utilized space.  Across from the park going towards the railroad is where the new Knights Stadium is currently planned to go.  This stadium will bring in somewhere between 5,000 and 10,000 people about 100 times a year.  All that foot traffic will surely catch the eye of retailers and restaurants, and like spiders and their webs, those folk live off traffic.

The event ended with County Commissioner Jennifer Roberts operating a piece of construction equipment and knocking down the wall of one of the buildings being cleared for this park.  She did so well that she may have a future after politics in the construction business!

What all this means for downtown residential property values is that as land disappears to projects, all land becomes more valuable.  The rise may be slow, but it will be steady.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Clearing Up Terms About Distressed Properties


Foreclosure is the legal and professional proceeding in which a lender, obtains a court ordered termination of a mortgagor's equitible right of redemption. As long as this equitable right exists, the lender cannot be sure that it can successfully repossess the property, thus the lender seeks to foreclose the equitable right of redemption.

The foreclosure process as applied to residential mortgage loans is a lender selling or repossessing a parcel after the owner has failed to comply with an agreement between the lender and borrower. When the process is complete, the lender can sell the property and keep the proceeds to pay off its mortgage and any legal costs.


A short sale is a sale of real estate in which the proceeds from the sale fall short of the balance owed on a loan secured by the property sold. In a short sale, lender agrees to discount a balance due to an economic or financial hardship. This negotiation is all done through communication with a bank’s loss mitigation or workout department.

The home owner/debtor sells the mortgaged property for less than the outstanding balance of the loan, and turns over the proceeds of the sale to the lender, sometimes (but not always) in full satisfaction of the debt. In such instances, the lender would have the right to approve or disapprove of a proposed sale. A deficiency balance will remain as a potential liability for the Mortgagor / Borrower.


Real estate owned or REO is a class of property owned by a lender after an unsuccessful sale at a foreclosure sale As soon as the bank repossesses the property, it is listed on their books as REO – Real Estate Owned – and is categorized as an asset (non-performing).

After repossession and the property becomes classified as REO, the bank will go through the process of trying to sell the property on its own. It will remove some of the liens and other expenses on the home and try to resell it to the public. Generally speaking, bank REO properties are in poor shape in terms of repairs and maintenance, however, purchasers will often go after these properties as banks are not in the business of owning homes and so, in some cases, the low price can more than compensate for the condition of the property.