Meg Wilkinson, a broker with Charlotte-based Cottingham Chalk Hayes, said she and her business partner, Sam Cochran, received multiple offers for a luxury home on Overhill Road in April.
That alone is reason for her to be hopeful about the luxury-home market.
“Last year we didn’t have many multiple-offer situations,” Wilkinson said. “In the first quarter of this year, we’ve had three or four multiple-offer situations.”
Signs like that have some agents in the Charlotte area saying the area’s luxury-home sector might be turning around.
Statistics appear to support those claims.
According to a report produced for The Mecklenburg Times by Keller Williams broker Nadine Deason, 10 homes priced at $1 million and higher sold in the Carolina Multiple Listing Services area in April. That’s double the number of homes that sold in the same month last year.
Last month, there was 5.7 months of inventory of homes in that price range, down from 16.2 months in April 2011.
“I’ve seen more sales this year than last year,” Wilkinson said. “And with regard to an increase in prices, I have seen more sales this year where we actually had multiple offers on the home.”
Among areas in which Wilkinson and Cochran are representing high-end homes: the Pharr Acres neighborhood, off Sharon Road and near Myers Park Country Club.
Earlier this month, according to Carolina Multiple Listing Services, 15 homes in the Sharon Road area were for sale between Foxcroft Woods Lane and Brandon Circle.
“There have been many homes for sale in this area, even in the last two months,” Wilkinson said. “And they have been selling very quickly.”
She said she and Cochran sold a home in the million-dollar range on nearby Tanglewood Road in the first quarter. The seller was downsizing because of retirement, Wilkinson said.
Cindy Walsh, an agent with Charlotte-based Coldwell Banker United, said she specializes in luxury homes and that in the past 12 months she has had about $4 million in sales.
“But the 12 months before that I did almost nothing,” she said. “To me, that shows a turnaround coming for luxury homes.”
Wilkinson said sellers – like the ones who own a 5,700-square-foot Old Foxcroft home that’s at 2100 Harris Road and listed with her for $1.3 million – have noticed other luxury homes around the city selling for higher prices. Owners of such properties are deciding to finally sell, she said.
“People are taking this as an opportunity to move up to a nicer home,” Wilkinson said. “I think there are more luxury homes for sale because sellers have decided to get off the fence and go ahead and list their home.”
Sara Roche, also an agent with Cottingham Chalk Hayes, said she is listing a 5,500-square-foot home at 2600 Tanglewood Road for $1.95 million.
“The sellers have finally come out of hiding for this area that is near Myers Park,” Roche said. “I have seen more movement in the luxury market and in this neighborhood so far this year than all of last year, with many properties in the $2 million range going under contract after getting multiple offers.”
Dustin Read, director of the Center for Real Estate at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, said an increase in luxury homes on the market could be stemming from owners seeing other such properties for sale.
But that could backfire, he said.
“As the number of unsold homes in a neighborhood begins to increase, it may provide a signal to the market that the area is less desirable, which in turn lengthens the time on market and results in more inventory,” he said.
“The fact that (vacant) lots are absorbing slowly provides a signal to the market of limited demand,” he said. “Homeowners may also dislike living next to vacant lots, especially if they aren’t well-maintained.”
Doug Sidell, a broker with Charlotte-based Helen Adams Realty, is representing an Old Foxcroft home at 2132 Foxcroft Woods Lane and two vacant lots nearby. One of the lots is 2.8 acres and sits behind the Foxcroft Woods Lane home.
Sidell said he hasn’t gotten much interest in the vacant land. He said selling the home on Foxcroft Woods Lane has been a challenge.
“I have seen an increase in activity in that area, but finding the right buyer for this house is like finding a needle in a haystack,” he said. “Everything is top-shelf quality, but in this market that can be tough for buyers to notice.”
The listing price for the 8,000-square-foot home is $1.8 million.
“My intuition tells me the price point is making it difficult to sell this house,” he said. “If it were priced at $1.2 million, or somewhere around that, I would have already sold it.”
Sidell has had the listing for about six months.
Deason sold a 7,393-square-foot home in Denver for $2.75 million at the end of last month.
She said she gauges activity in the luxury market by the number of showings.
“We have one or two showings each month now,” she said. “Last year at this time it was one showing every two months.”
Even though it’s been tough to sell the Foxcroft Woods Lane home, activity in the luxury-home market appears to be on the rise, Sidell said.
“A lot of the good homes that hit the market when times were really bad have been scooped up,” he said. “What is left now for the most part are people who would like to sell their home, but they aren’t in that position where they must sell their home. These sellers aren’t in trouble or worried. They would just like to make a move. This lets them be more firm on their asking price.”
BAUGHMAN can be reached at [email protected].
A look at luxury-home sales activity in the Carolina Multiple Listing Services area from Jan. 1 to May 17
Price: $500,000 to $1 million
Homes sold: 505
Increase from same period last year: 15.3 percent
Price: $1 million-plus
Homes sold: 91
Increase from same period last year: 26.4 percent
Source: Peters and Associates