• Officials hope to bring in more first-time home buyers

    By: Scott Wickersham


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Federal Reserve Chairwoman Janet Yellin expressed concern to Congress Thursday about the housing recovery in the United States.
    She said its lagging and could take longer to get back to normal.
    Anchor Scott Wickersham found home sales in Charlotte haven’t been on a steady rise.
    There are new homes going up in pockets in Charlotte but new home listings overall have been up and down.
    New listings were up 2.3 percent in January, dropped 10 percent in February and increased by 4.6 percent in March.
    “We’d like to think it’s the weather,” said Mark Vitner, an economist with Wells Fargo. “We don’t know for sure.”
    Vitner said the February snow could be to blame for the winter slump and expects an improvement starting this spring.
    He said young people are choosing to rent.        
    “First-time home buyers are virtually nonexistent but Charlotte is one of the better markets,” Vitner said.
    Charlotte-metro area’s population increased by 45,000 in 2013, he said.                
    “We rebounded quickly,” said City Councilman David Howard.
    Howard thinks the influx of new residents will continue, propelling Charlotte’s housing industry.
    “People are still moving here,” Howard said. “They still see it as a land of opportunity, a city with opportunities and a city with jobs.”
    He would like to see more of first-time home-buyers but said it’s difficult for them to get a loan.
    Vitner said overall, Charlotte is ahead of the game and attracting new companies that bring people along with them.
    Charlotte home prices have gained steadily.
    In March, the average price was up 6 percent compared to the year before.

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