Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Drop in Charlotte home prices a worry?

The latest S&P/Case-Shiller home price index figures released this
week gave U.S. homeowners a reason to be happy  - six straight months
of gains and statements that the housing market is in the midst of a

But five of the 20 cities included in the index posted declines.
Charlotte, which itself had seen six straight months of increases, for
example, watched its home prices slip 0.3 percent in September from

Should Charlotteans be worried?

Local real estate veteran Pat Riley, president and chief operating
officer of Allen Tate Cos., said he isn't bothered by the monthly
drop. In fact, he said his company hasn't watched monthly figures for
the last three years. He prefers to take a longer view.

"We are creating new stats and comparing stats becomes very hard to
do," Riley said.

He focuses on year-over-year sales. Case-Shiller data shows Charlotte
home prices rose 3.5 percent in September compared to the previous

"Bottom line is home ownership is returning to the 63 percent/64
percent levels," Riley said. "Sales and closing nationally will be up
and up each year off the new norm."

He said the Carolinas' housing market has been performing better than
he expected.  He'd predicted no change in home values this year, but
"because of high rents and low interest rates and low inventories,
appreciation rates are going to be ahead of schedule like this year."

He also has a prediction for area home prices during next year:
Another 3 percent jump.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Charlotte foreclosure rate continues slide

Foreclosure rates in the Charlotte-Gastonia-Rock Hill area fell in September compared to the previous month and the same time last year, according to CoreLogic, a real estate analytics firm.

The area's foreclosure rate was 3.15 percent in September, down from 3.42 percent in September 2011 and down from 3.29 percent in August 2012.

The local foreclosure rate is lower than the national rate, which was 3.25 percent, CoreLogic reported Tuesday.

Also noteworthy: The percentage of area loans 90 days or more delinquent fell. This is an indicator of future foreclosure activity.

In September, 6.63 percent of mortgage loans were late 90 days or more, down from 6.98 percent during the same time last year. The U.S. delinquency rate in September was 5.49 percent, down from 5.65 percent in 2011.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Publix: South End store 'a rumor'

A Publix spokeswoman declined to comment on reports that land along South Boulevard has been put under contract for a future grocery store.

The Charlotte Business Journal has reported that land went under contract to a limited liability company manged by Scott MacLaren, senior vice president of the real estate investments group at Stiles, a commercial real estate firm that works closely with Publix.

Developers and their associates regularly, and quietly, put land under contract that they hope to develop.

Spokeswoman Maria Brous said the grocer has no definite plans to open a store in South End.

"That is just a rumor," Brous said Wednesday morning.

She said the company's only signed deal for a store in Charlotte remains the Ballantyne location, at Providence Road West and Johnston Road.

But Brous did say Publix is still "aggressively looking" for more sites in and around Charlotte. Stiles, which is developing Publix's Ballantyne store, recently partnered with Charlotte-based Levine Properties to develop future projects. Company president, Daniel Levine, declined to comment on a possible South End location for Publix.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Levine Center for the Arts to be recognized tonight at Charlotte City Council meeting

Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx is expected to recognize the Levine Center for the Arts at tonight's city council meeting for winning several recent awards.

The cultural arts and business center last month received three honors from two international real estate organizations.

The Urban Land Institute selected the center as one of 14 developments chosen as a winner in the 2012 Global Awards for Excellence competition, recognized among professionals as one of the land use industry's most prestigious programs.

The arts center, located at the southernmost edge of uptown, also won the 2012 Prix d'Excellence in the category of downtown redevelopment projects from the U.S. chapter of the International Real Estate Federation. It has also been named the winner of the group's Grand Prix award for 2012, the group's highest honor.

"This project is one of the most complex and game changing investments this community has ever undertaken," Ron Kimble, Charlotte's deputy city manager, said in a statement released by Wells Fargo & Co., which owns and helped developed the project. Bob Bertges with Wells Fargo's corporate properties group is also expected to attend tonight's meeting.

The center transformed more than four acres of surface parking lots on three separate blocks into an arts district. In announcing the award, the Urban Land Institute, praised the "progressive architecture interwoven with public art and carefully planned spaces" that "provide the opportunity for new retail and restaurants to activate and enhance the street level experience."

The center  includes the Bechtler Museum of Modern Art, Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Arts + Culture, John S. and James L. Knight Theater and the Mint Museum Uptown. There is also an office high-rise, the Duke Energy Center.

Project architects and designers include: tvsdesign, Machado and Silvetti Associates, Mario Botta, Wagner Murray Architects, The Freelon Group/Neighboring Concepts and HGOR Planners and Landscape Architects, according to the land institute.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Real estate sales proving 'steady'

The housing market typically is known for having ups and downs - the popular spring selling season, for example, or slow winters.

But 2012 is bucking that trend, according to the latest information from residential real estate giant Allen Tate Cos.

"We have been steady, steady, steady since January," president and chief operating office Pat Riley said in a statement Monday. He said the company has consistently had 55 sales per day and 45 closings per day across its markets in the Carolinas throughout the year.

Recent years, in contrast, had either a more positive first half or second half of the year, he has told the Observer.

Allen Tate expects to end the year with around 15,500 closings, up 20 percent from the past three years and "well on par" with 2008, Riley said.

Some of the reasons cited for the increase: Low interest rates, high rents, and low supply of available homes.

New construction will soon offer competition to the resale market, Riley predicts, as buyers are buying up lots and will offer new homes at prices set for today's market.

In all, he says, he's confident the market has turned the corner.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Parkway close to buying 525 N. Tryon building, sources say

Parkway Properties Inc. could be close to owning its third uptown Charlotte property, sources say.

The real estate investment trust, which announced Wednesday it had bought NASCAR Plaza, is about to finalize a deal to buy 525 N. Tryon St., say sources familiar with the transaction.

The sales price could be around $40 million and the deal could close by Thanksgiving, sources say.

The building, at North Tryon and West Ninth streets, has not been officially on the market.

Parkway made an unsolicited bid for the property, which is owned by a joint venture between Gramercy Capital Corp. and an affiliate of Garrison Investment Group.

Parkway, which is based in Orlando, paid $250 million for the Hearst Tower earlier this year.