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Charlotte region housing market softening, but affordable homes are difficult to find

Among the big takeaways: There's a high demand for housing and not enough of it. There's also a lack of affordability.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Charlotte's housing market appears to be cooling off, but affordable homes are becoming even more difficult to find, according to the new 2022 State of Housing in Charlotte Report released by UNC Charlotte’s Childress Klein Center for Real Estate (CKCRE) on Tuesday.

The report takes a comprehensive look at the state of housing in the Charlotte region. The report, which pulls from seven primary data sources, focuses on Mecklenburg County and the seven counties that surround it: Cabarrus, Gaston, Iredell, Lincoln, and Union counties, as well as Lancaster and York counties in South Carolina.

Among the big takeaways: There's a high demand for housing and not enough of it. There's also a lack of affordability.

“Housing in Charlotte has quickly become unaffordable," Yongqiang Chu, CKCRE director and the primary author of the housing report, said.

Charlotte's relationship with housing has changed over the years. 

For starters, the median home prices in the Charlotte market increased from $273,500 in January 2020 to $420,000 in September 2022. The report shows the prices are out of reach for most, but the well-off. 

“At some point this will become a serious concern for people who want to do business here," Chu said. 

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The Charlotte region is also seeing too many households and not enough housing units. For 2020 and 2021 alone, Charlotte is at least 10,000 housing units short. 

“We need to increase supply," Chu said. 

Chu offered two solutions to the problem. First, make development easier by softening regulations and restrictions. Second, build on green space. 

“We should be willing to make those compromises, before Charlotte becomes really unaffordable and people don’t want to live here anymore," Chu said. 

Only 3.8% of the houses sold in the region are under $150,000 and only about 25% of the houses sold are under $300,000. 

The report also found a rapid acceleration in rental prices. Over the last three years, average effective rent has increased by $320, or 27% per unit. 

Lastly, the median number of days on the market has increased from three days in May 2022 to nine days in September 2022.

Contact Lexi Wilson at lwilson@wcnc.com and follow her on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.  

WCNC Charlotte is part of seven major media companies and other local institutions producing I Can’t Afford to Live Here, a collaborative reporting project focused on solutions to the affordable housing crisis in Charlotte. It is a project of the Charlotte Journalism Collaborative, which is supported by the Local Media Project, an initiative launched by the Solutions Journalism Network with support from the Knight Foundation to strengthen and reinvigorate local media ecosystems. See all of our reporting at charlottejournalism.org.  

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