CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When Bryan Geers moved to Charlotte for his wife's job roughly three years ago, he hadn't planned to invest in housing here.
"I looked at a lot of different markets throughout the country and we own a couple of places in Texas where cash flow numbers are really good," he said. "When we were looking at other markets to invest in, it just so happened that we lived in one of them."
He now owns five rental properties here, all foreclosures he's purchased in the past couple of years. But getting those five hasn't been easy.
"It is really tough to get a property. They'll go on the market and they will be off the market literally sometimes within an hour," he explained. Geers has bid on as many as 20 homes before buying just one.
That competition is proof to him he's putting his money into a hot market. His real estate broker, Scott Lindsley with My Townhome Realty, sees a great deal of attention on Charlotte with national and even international buyers looking for properties.
"Recently we've had clients we've worked with that are from Hong Kong, Toronto and upstate New York," Lindsley said. They'd done their own homework, he said, and identified Charlotte as a solid place to invest. "One of the things that has kept our market strong even in the boom years but it didn't end, is the influx of people moving here. We still have a population shift within the country. You know, Charlotte is still growing."
Lindsley crunched the numbers on foreclosures. At last check, there were 464 active bank-owned single family homes listed in Charlotte and 265 of those were under contract or pending. And in the past 60 days, 270 have sold.
"That is more than a balanced market. They are essentially selling as fast as they're coming on the market. The numbers for condos are basically the same," Lindsley explained.
Lindsley is not worried about a sudden surge of new foreclosed homes here. You can see many of those, he said, in the form of short sales. "I see a house that is listed as a short sale one month.
Two months later it is off the market. Two weeks later the bank has it listed. They're listing them as fast as they can get them," he said.
At Concord-based Benham REO Group, David Benham does expect to see more listings based on how long it's taking to get foreclosures processed, he is just not sure when.
"From the time a homeowner receives a delinquent notice until the day their house is sold on the courthouse steps, just a couple of years ago it was 185 to 220 days," he explained. "Today, it is 699 days. So you can only imagine that inventory is continuing to grow by that extended timeline."
Benham's company has 95 offices nationwide and he agrees foreclosed homes are selling quickly.
"We're seeing multiple offers on a number of our properties. If it is priced relatively competitive, we'll get three and four offers," Benham said.
One example is a house he showed NewsChannel36 in north Charlotte. The 3,300-square foot three-level home on 11 acres came on the market at $319,900.
"This one went within a week. As soon as we put it on we had offers coming in," Benham said.
Investor Bryan Geers tries to stay in the $30,000 to $50,000 range, buying homes that would've sold for around $100,000 a few years ago. He’s not done buying here, either.
"I'd like to add two or three this year. But I don't know if that is going to happen or not," he laughed.
"Somebody else may buy them.”