News & Media

Charlotte, Despite Drop, Shows Strength in Annual Report on Emerging Real Estate Trends

Charlotte’s overall real estate prospects remain among the strongest in the nation, according to an annual report that provides a comprehensive industry outlook.

The Queen City slipped a notch to No. 5 on the list of U.S. markets with the best real estate prospects — those powered by strong growth, a favorable homebuilding outlook, affordability and job potential. Charlotte ranked in fourth place last year.

The Raleigh-Durham market landed at No. 1 on this year’s list, the top half of which was dominated by 18-hour cities — another name for midsize markets. Following Raleigh-Durham on the list were Austin, Texas; Nashville, Tennessee; and Dallas/Fort Worth.

That’s just one takeaway of the Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2021 report. Urban Land Institute, a real estate research and education nonprofit, and accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers are behind that report, which is now in its 42nd edition. It’s based on feedback from nearly 1,700 industry experts who were either interviewed or surveyed in August and September.

The 100-plus page report also highlighted several Covid-related trends playing out in the real estate industry.

The pandemic, it said, sped up many existing trends, such as the reduction in retail footprints, while also creating new ones, like those centered around health and wellness. One example of a Covid-19 impact has been the heightened appeal of lower-density areas, particularly in the Sunbelt region, over big cities.

The report noted, though, that large cities should see their desirability return in several years due to their stronghold in entertainment, finance, technology and education.

“The next three to five years could be difficult as demographics favor suburban locations, and restrictions on public transit, office and retail/restaurant density and live entertainment — and individuals’ concerns about them — make big-city life less appealing,” it stated. “But, like many of the changes that have occurred due to the pandemic, the ultimate impact on the desirability of large cities will be on the margin. Some companies and residents will choose smaller cities or the suburbs, but, in response, cities will likely creatively adapt, perhaps adding more green space and outdoor activities, and continue to improve livability to retaining and attracting residents who continue to value an urban lifestyle.”

Charlotte was labeled in the report as one of six new “favorite boomtowns” that are “attracting far more than their share of smart young workers.” Other markets included in that assessment were Denver; Dallas; Nashville; Portland, Oregon; and Seattle.

“These markets are already starting to recover from massive job losses due to COVID, and JBREC (John Burns Real Estate Consulting) rates most of these housing markets as “strong,” the report read.

While Charlotte held on to a spot in the top five for overall real estate prospects, it slipped to No. 11 for homebuilding. Its homebuilding prospects ranked at No. 2 last year.

The local market showed more strength in other categories. Of the 80 real estate markets included in the report, Charlotte landed in fourth for investor demand, second for development and redevelopment opportunities, second for local public and private investment, fifth for availability of debt and equity capital and fifth for local economy.

More from the report can be found here.

Source: Martin, Jenna, Charlotte, despite drop, shows strength in annual report on emerging real estate trends. Charlotte Business Journal,, 14 October, 2020.