One of the fastest-growing metropolitan areas in the United States, Charlotte, North Carolina, is home to a booming economy and a high-flying real estate market. Charlotte is North Carolina's largest city, with an estimated population of roughly 810,000 people as of 2014, up sharply from 731,000 people on the last U.S. census in 2010. The city has a median household income of about $53,300, and an owner-occupied housing rate of 55.4%. With a strong economic base anchored by corporate companies including Bank of America Corporation (NYSE: BAC), Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC), Lowe's Companies Inc. (NYSE: LOW) and Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE: DUK), the Charlotte metropolitan area has become an attractive destination for professionals, entrepreneurs and young families from across the region and beyond.

Market Insights

As in most big cities in the United States, the Charlotte real estate market experienced a downturn in 2008 as the effects of a national financial crisis played out. However, the downturn was both shallow and short-lived compared to many other cities across the country. From an all-time high of just more than $170,000 first set in summer 2007, the median price for residential property in Charlotte plummeted by about $20,000 during the fall of 2008. The market stabilized at $150,000 and began a long upward trend that continues in 2016.

Both prices and sales volumes in Charlotte show consistent seasonal fluctuations, with highs between July and September and lows around the month of January. Since the market turned upward in 2009, each successive summer has set a new median price high. In summer 2010, the market returned to prerecession highs around $170,000. In summer 2012, the market broke through the $190,000 mark for the first time, and then continued higher, briefly hitting $208,000 in 2013. Growth moderated somewhat in the following years. As of April 2016, the median price for residential property in Charlotte stood at $215,000, which is 26% above its prerecession highs.

Property and Transfer Taxes

Property tax in North Carolina funds county and municipal governments, schools and a wide variety of public services provided at the local level, including police and fire protection, libraries, parks and road maintenance. The overall property tax burden for Charlotte property owners for the 2015-2016 tax year ranged between $1.31 and $1.36 per $100 of assessed property value, depending on the location of the property. Roughly $0.82 per $100 of assessed property value goes to Mecklenburg County, while the remainder goes to the city of Charlotte and other special taxing districts within the city. Residential property in North Carolina is assessed at fair market value on the first day of January during periodic revaluation years. State law requires counties to revalue property at least once every eight years. The most recent revaluation in Mecklenburg County occurred in 2011.

The real estate transfer tax in Mecklenburg County is $1 on each $500 of property value, a rate of 0.2%. The charge is known locally as an excise stamp tax.

Most Expensive Neighborhoods

The most expensive neighborhoods in Charlotte are clustered in the southern half of the city. Eastover and nearby neighborhoods in the 28207 ZIP code south of downtown Charlotte produced the highest median sale price for residential property in the city at $551,000 as of March 2016. Immediately to the southeast, Myers Park, Cotswold and other neighborhoods in the 28211 ZIP code produced an overall median price of $413,000, continuing a long-running upward price trend. Further to the southeast, Sardis Forest, Oxford Hunt and nearby areas in the 28270 ZIP code managed a combined median sales price of $287,000.

Top Real Estate Websites

The Mecklenburg Times, a regional newspaper covering Charlotte and nearby counties, specializes in coverage of the local residential and commercial real estate markets, offering regular news and analysis of developments and trends in the area. The newspaper is available online at MeckTimes.com. The Charlotte Observer newspaper maintains an online real estate portal offering local property listings and neighborhood-focused content for prospective homebuyers. Its website is at CharlotteObserver.com. Although targeted mostly at professional real estate agents, the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association website, available at CarolinaHome.com, is a good source for free monthly market reports and other information covering the region around Charlotte. The website also offers a realtor search tool and local property listings.

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