It isn’t officially Spring until March 21st but if you are in Charlotte and look outside today, you would think it has already arrived. That means doing some simple home maintenance tasks to keep your home energy efficient and beautiful. Increasing temperature and humidity can wreak havoc on your home or condo. Charlotte Sights provides some tips to help you preserve your home’s value.
The Continental Tire the Americas headquarters in Indian Land, SC now has room to grow to more than 450 employees.
The building’s new, 16,000-square-foot addition is open, bringing the facility to 91,000 square feet.
During the coming four years, Continental Tire’s will add 80 workers to its 375-employee local staff as it manages more tire-production facilities in North and South America.
Continental Tire recently celebrated the $4 million building addition during an opening ceremony.
The company has “enjoyed an outstanding relationship with the local community,” says Jochen Etzel, chief executive of Continental Tire the Americas.
The Charlotte Observer - August 25, 2012
But one of the most important reasons that so many retirees were moving here was familial. They wanted to be near adult children who already lived in the Charlotte area. Then the recession hit. And that steady retiree stream slowed to a trickle.
But since 2010, the number of retirees relocating to Charlotte is on the rise again, says Dan Owens, director of the Charlotte-based National Active Retirement Association.
In recent months, Marian Ingram, a real estate agent in Keller Williams’ Ballantyne office, has watched as more seniors from around the country look for new homes here. Ingram specializes in working with people 55 and over.
“The prices might not be as high as sellers would like, but the market has certainly picked back up,” she says.
Many are still choosing the Charlotte area to be near children and grandchildren who already live here. Retirement industry professionals refer to these seniors as “trailers,” because they’re following their children.
Retirees who settle here appreciate that Charlotte has a large, diverse population but the friendly feel of a smaller city. They also like the climate – warm, but without Florida’s sweltering heat.
Ingram is a senior transplant. She is Owens’ mother, and she moved here about seven years ago from Oklahoma to be near Owens and his brother.
Many homes she sells are in Del Webb’s Sun City Carolina Lakes, an active adult community in Lancaster County, S.C., just south of Charlotte. With more than 2,000 homes, Sun City is the area’s largest senior-focused community, and it’s still growing. More than 3,000 homes are planned.
Aging newcomers will find a variety of senior housing in the Charlotte area. They range from developments that cater to active seniors to continuing care retirement communities equipped with assisted living and nursing facilities.
If you’re searching for housing, Senior Living Resource Magazine is a good place to start. Available free at local stores and supermarkets, it lists active adult and independent housing options as well as assisted living, dementia care and nursing homes.
Several new senior communities also are in the works. They include Waltonwood Providence, on Providence Road across from Providence Country Club, and Brightmore of South Charlotte. Waltonwood is slated to offer independent and assisted living as well as memory-care units. Brightmore, at 8440 Rea Road, will provide independent and assisted living and nursing care.
The economy is still struggling to make a full recovery and the unemployment rate is still sitting above 8%, but when it comes to the housing market, consumers are optimistic about the future, according to a semi-annual survey by real estate website Trulia.
The American Dream survey was conducted in May, and shows consumers are optimistic about the health of the housing market and that home prices will rise in the near future.
The survey was commissioned Harris Interactive and polled 2,205 homeowners and renters in May to get a sense of their attitude toward home ownership in light of the housing crash that led to the recession. Surprisingly, the results also showed more people are seriously considering buying a new home now compared to the last survey.
Big Homes Still in Demand
The 2008 financial crisis was brought on by easy access to home loans and homeowners over-leveraging their homes. And despite many consumers being forced to downsize to homes they can actually afford, the survey shows Americans still like their homes large.
Twenty-seven percent of respondents considered the ideal sized home as more than 2,600-square feet, an increase from 17% in the previous survey. People identifying a “super-sized” home of 3,200-square feet or larger as their preferred home size increased to 11% from 6% last year.
Homeowners looking to find a home of this size might have to start new construction. Current existing inventory on the market is smaller than respondents’ ideal size, according to Trulia. In fact, the website says the majority of homes currently on sale are between 800 and 2,000 square feet in size.
Size isn’t the only thing future homebuyers are after. According to the survey, 63% of buyers want a master bedroom, 56% seek a walk-in closet and 50% want to cook in a gourmet kitchen. But these amenities might be out of reach. According to the survey, only 26% reported having a master bath in their first home, 35% claimed having a walk in closet and only 9% had the gourmet kitchen in their first home.
A more realistic desire that many homebuyers yearn for is wood floors. According to the survey, 35% of buyers could check off wood floors in their first home.
Price s Expected to Rise
The housing crash forced many homeowners to become renters, but the shift hasn’t tainted the dream of owning a home. Of those surveyed that are currently renting, a whopping 78% said they plan to buy a house, up from 72% in the early part of last year. Of those renters looking to buy, 27% want to do so in the next two years. The interest in buying can be attributed to low interest rates and depressed housing prices.
When it comes to buying, respondents seem more realistic about the cost of owning with 47% of wannabe homebuyers expressing concern about coming up with a down payment and 25% unsure if they would qualify for a mortgage.
Despite record foreclosures, a growing number of underwater homeowners, and short sales plaguing the market, consumers still expect home prices to increase. According to the survey, 61% think that home prices will increase in the next year and 58% think home prices will return to previous bubble level peaks during the next decade.
“The last four years it has not been good, but I have definitely seen an improvement over the last few months,” Elaine Eschert of Golden Properties Realty said. “Houses are selling, there are more buyers out there. Good houses are selling quicker.”
Eschert, who earned a place in the RE/MAX hall of fame, said she has lived in the south Charlotte area for more than 30 years.
“I have actually run into circumstances where we’ve had multiple offers [on a home],” Eschert said. “I haven’t seen that in four years. If it’s a good house, it doesn’t stay on the market long. Priced right, in good condition and if it shows pride of ownership.”
Melissa Brown, of Helen Adams Realty, agreed with Eschert that south Charlotte is on the upswing.
“It’s definitely seen an uptick from last year and years past ever since things started sliding downward in Charlotte around 2009,” Brown said. “Charlotte was a bit behind the rest of the country then, but we’ve hit bottom and started to come up.”
Brown said demand for houses has increased recently.
“There has been a much lower inventory than in recent years,” she said. “Contracts are way up and demand is surpassing the supply right now. The result of that is we’re seeing many multiple offers.”
Brown said she’s been working in real estate for about six years and had never seen multiple offers for a home until this year, and has now seen about seven or eight instances of multiple offers.
“I can’t really speak to the whole city because I focus on south Charlotte and I live in south Charlotte, but from what I’ve seen, south Charlotte is fairing very well and that’s because the schools in south Charlotte are such a draw,” Brown said. “That’s very helpful at keeping the property values higher. That area has done very well.”
Eschert agreed with Brown that south Charlotte has faired better than other areas.
“I would have to say from what I hear, south Charlotte has held its value better than some of the other areas,” she said. “It’s a better time than it has been for a while for both buyer and seller. But not every house is going to sell quickly.”
Eschert credited much of south Charlotte’s improvement on the low supply, but increasing demand.
“There’s such a limited amount of new construction that it increases demand for resale.”
Eschert said that after her many years in the business and after the recent housing market downturn, she isn’t sure the upward trend will continue, but she’s hopeful.
“I’ll tell you, after these four years I’m not confident in anything,” Eschert said. “It’s going to take a while and I’m waiting to see what happens with the elections. Buyers have to have more confidence in the economy in order for things to improve.”
Eschert said obstacles to improving the state of the housing market in south Charlotte include problems with lenders and appraisers.
“The biggest problems are lenders, appraisers,” she said. “Lenders’ requirements are to the point of ridiculous at times. Appraisers are also difficult. I sold a house and there should have been no problem with the appraisal, but it became a huge problem. The house had $90,000 in upgrades. It was a beautiful house in a good area but the appraiser came in so much below what was paid, I thought I would die. I could not believe it.”
Eschert said appraisers often come from different areas and are not able to accurately determine the value of a home because they do not see the whole picture.
“I don’t know how they’ll ever bring the prices up,” Eschert said. “Appraisers are not seeing the change in market.”
Brown agreed that lenders and appraisers can often create challenges to buying and selling homes in the area.
“In a lot of cases it’s becoming cheaper to buy than to rent as rent goes up and because of historically low interest rates, but there are some things holding people back from buying,” she said.
Of those factors discouraging people from buying homes, Brown said job uncertainty is common along with how difficult it is to obtain a mortgage, as requirements are stricter now than they have been in previous years.
“Even buyers with great credit are having trouble,” she said.
Brown and Eschert said their advice for sellers is to be sure to make your home as appealing as possible.
“Buyers want to see upgrades,” Eschert said. “That’s what’s going to attract them. It may cost you, but it will be better in the long run.”
“Now is not the time to try to get huge profits because values have come down,” Brown said. “All that matters is what a buyer’s willing to pay and that home has to appraise.”
Both Brown and Eschert said their advice for buyers in the current market is to work with experienced real estate agents and make sure the value of the home is accurate.
“Don’t go in and offer an obscene lowball,” Brown said. “Prices are coming up and it’s less of a buyers’ market now.”
Brown said she thinks south Charlotte is a great place to buy and sell right now.
“I think the values will continue to steadily increase,” she said. “I think we’ve hit the bottom. I don’t think we’ll see rapid increases, but I think we’ll see a very slow and steady increase in home values. South Charlotte is a great place to live.”
Charlotte Business Journal – August 14, 2012
The auto parts maker will add as many as 30 jobs to its 152-employee work force in Concord as part of the 50,000-square-foot expansion.
The addition will bring the Oiles headquarters building to 129,000 square feet.
“We are pleased to be a member of this community,” says Hiroshi Suda, president of Oiles America. The company is a subsidiary of Oiles Corp. of Tokyo.
About 75 company executives and local leaders attended the groundbreaking ceremony this morning at the plant site.
“Charlotte is really stepping into the future as the great international city of the Southeast,” says John Cox, president of Cabarrus Regional Development.
Concord Mayor Scott Padgett says the most important additions to the Oiles plant are the jobs. “That’s going to allow 30 people to have jobs and the pride that they are providing for their families,” he says.
Several of the new jobs will be in the research section at the plant, says Doug McCabe, Oiles America human resources manager. Others will support a new production line to make the company’s bearings and sleeves, which don’t require oiling and other maintenance.
1. The price is right. The median single-family home price hit its lowest in more than a decade when it reached $154,600 in January, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. That was the lowest since October 2001. During the height of the housing market in July 2006, the median home price for a single-family home was $230,900.
2. It’s cheaper to buy than rent. In nearly every major metro market, it is cheaper to buy a home than rent. Rents have been on the rise the last few years and are predicted to continue to rise. Meanwhile, home affordability is at record highs, which means that buying a home is more within reach to the median income family.
3. Inventories of for-sale homes are shrinking. Ned Davis Research estimates that excess inventories of homes to be eliminated by the end of next year. “When excess supply dries up, people start building more new houses, which has the virtuous effect of reducing the unemployment rate and increasing the economy generally,” according to the USA Today article.
4. Mortgage rates are at record lows. Mortgage rates have hovered near record lows for weeks, which has helped pushing housing affordability higher. For example, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, which is the most popular among home buyers, is 3.59 percent, according to Freddie Mac—just above its record low set on July 26 of 3.49 percent average. “It’s conceivable that at some point in the next 30 years, your interest rate would be less than the rate of inflation,” writes Waggoner for USA Today.
Schletter Inc., a German company specializing in the design and manufacturing of solar panel mounting systems, announced plans Monday to purchase the 100,000-square-foot shell building at the Foothills Commerce Center for the company’s U.S. headquarters.
The company will also create 305 new jobs by the end of 2016 and invest more than $27 million, according to the announcement.
The Schletter announcement comes one year after construction finished on the shell building. The city and county partnered to purchase the property and build the facility to attract new jobs. City and county officials now hope their new client will help attract more companies to the Foothills Commerce Center.
Economic development leaders say they are in talks with other companies looking to move to the U.S. and Cleveland County.
”The majority of our clients now are international,” said Kristin Fletcher, executive vice president of the Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership.
Fletche and County Special Projects Manager David Dear said the city and county spent $2.6 million to construct the shell building. Proceeds from the sale to Schletter will go toward building additional shell buildings at the 152-acre Foothills Commerce Center.
“We’re excited to offer our customers improved delivery and service options by opening our second U.S. manufacturing facility and new U.S. corporate headquarters in Shelby, North Carolina,” Schletter Inc. President Martin Hausner wrote in a prepared statement.
The new facility in Shelby, which will serve as U.S. headquarters and the production and distribution hub of Schletter’s east coast operations, will house all functions required to produce the company’s solar mounting systems.
What is it? Schletter Inc., based in Germany, announced plans to purchase the shell building at the Foothills Commerce Center for its U.S. headquarters.
How many new jobs will be created? 305 in the next 4 years
Average annual wage for the new jobs: $40,660, plus benefits (county average: $32,760)
What do they make? The company specializes in solar mounting systems. According to the company, they supply 25 percent of all solar mounting systems produced and delivered in the U.S.
How much investment? $27 million
Grants used to attract Schletter: Job Development Investment Grant and One North Carolina Fund; the Golden LEAF Foundation provided a $1 million grant to help in the construction of the facility
For more info on hiring: Visit www.schletter.us
What they said…
County leaders weigh in on the jobs announcement
“This project could not have happened without partnerships on both the local and the state level. This project will greatly benefit Cleveland County, however, I feel the biggest winners will be those 305 people who will be back to work.”
- Johnny Hutchins, Chairman, Cleveland County Commissioners
“This is an incredible win for our community that they will be expanding our budding renewable energy cluster and creating so many high-quality jobs.”
- Kristin Fletcher, Executive Vice President, Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership
“They are a great fit for the shell building in the Foothills Commerce Center and I know will be a high quality employer in our community.”
- Rick Howell, Manager, City of Shelby
“We are thrilled to have 305 new manufacturing jobs available to our citizens in the growing renewable energy market. Many thanks go to a lot of individuals who worked diligently to bring this outstanding company to our state.”
- Stan Anthony, Mayor of Shelby
“The recruitment of this company is the result of strategic and aggressive economic development efforts by the Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership, Board of Commissioners, City of Shelby and the State of North Carolina. This substantial jobs announcement reflects our continued commitment to recruiting jobs for our citizens.”
- Eddie Holbrook, Cleveland County Commissioner
Other job announcements this year, January-June
Company, Type, New/Expansion, Date, # jobs, investment
Baldor Electric Co., manufacturing, expansion, January, 166, $17 million
Kendrion FAS Controls, manufacturing, expansion, February, 57, $7.5 million
AT&T, data center, new, February, 100, $850 million
Steag Energy Services, LLC, manufacturing, expansion, April, 15, $3 million
MACO, manufacturing, expansion, April, 10, $339,000
Greenheck, manufacturing, new, June, 64, $7.8 million
Badger, manufacturing, new, June, 30, $1 million
Source: Cleveland County Economic Development Partnership
About Schletter Inc.
- Privately held and owned
- Employs 1,800 workers worldwide, with roughly 200 in the U.S.Manufacturing sites are currently located in Germany, Tucson, Az., Windsor, Ontario and Shanghai, China
- Distribution and service locations are in Italy, Spain, France, United Kingdom, Australia and Greece
- Remote sales offices are located in Connecticut, Virginia and New Jersey
As it reported Tuesday that Charlotte-area home sales rose in July from the same month last year, the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association also said that the area’s real estate market is returning to prerecession patterns.
There were 2,653 closings in July, an increase of 22% from 2,171 in July 2011.
Jennifer Frontera, CRRA president, in a press release issued Tuesday called attention to July’s 1,738 pending contracts, which were down 15 percent from the 2,053 in the same month last year.
“Pending contracts have always been seen as a gauge of demand,” Frontera said. “Contract activity has been elevated for nearly a year now. The fact that contracts are falling at this time of year shows that the market is now performing in a similar fashion to the way it did before the recession, with contracts and closings peaking in midsummer and falling as the selling season winds down.”
Also Tuesday, the CRRA reported that:
• The average sales price in July was $220,385, up 3% from $213,205 in July 2011;
• The median sales price rose 1.6%, from $166,100 to 163,500, over the same period; and
• The average list price fell 1.4%, from $237,904 to $241,380, during the same period.
FOX NEWS – Charlotte, NC
August 6, 2012
Welcome to the Queen City, the land of business and opportunity. The land aviation director Jerry Orr says is the center of all travel in the Southeast. Jerry Orr says, “If you can’t get there from here, you can’t do business.”
Orr helped build the Charlotte Douglas International airport from the ground up. With more than seven hundred flights at the airport everyday, Orr says it’s an essential part of the Charlotte economy. Jerry Orr says, “This is very clearly a business airport, business is the business of Charlotte. We cater to business travelers, and they want to get there right now, and they don’t have time to wait around.”
Time is money in Charlotte. And for those traveling the roadways, our interstate system is one of a kind. NC DOT’s Jennifer Thompson says, “North Carolina has the largest interstate system, we have the most miles to maintain in the country.”
With our massive and growing interstate system, and hundreds of thousands of motor vehciles driving through Charlotte daily, the city showcases the best in design. Thompson says, “The 85/485 interchange is a new concept called turbine interchange and we’ve received interntaion recognition for it.”
Its the kind of cutting edge design that helps thousands of truck drivers on our roads everyday, the trucking industry is in Charlotte’s wheelhouse. John Medina of Schneiders Trucks says, “We’re delivering up and down the East Coast so this is a vital lane.”
John Medina is the manager at Schneider’s Freight Company in Charlotte. Schneiders is one of many trucking companies here in Charlotte delivering goods, and keeping businesses moving in the Queen City. Medina says, “If you think about transport, and everything that is being delivers, products, good, things like that. 75% of freight is delivered by one of these trucks.”
Charlotte businesses rely on trucks to deliver across the country too. Our trucking hub is one of the largest in the Southeast, with more than a thousand trucks moving through Charlotte every day. Medina says, “We are vital to the economy, if you look back here, see that we are still moving freights.”
Along the roads, and the rails, Charlotte’s transportation system continues to grow. The city and Norfolk Southern are building a $90 million dollar intermodal hub at the airport. Freight will move among trucks, trains and planes. And our inland port keeps moving goods from here to the coast. It’s a growing industry, keeping the QC on the move, and it’s another good thing about Charlotte.