Dreams of owning a home cut short for some as market prices skyrocket

CHARLOTTE — Families struggling to buy homes are facing a new obstacle despite low interest rates -- many still can’t afford the asking price.

Channel 9 anchor Allison Latos took a closer look at why the housing market is out of reach for so many in Charlotte, especially first-time buyers.

[Priced out of Charlotte: Continuing to address the affordable housing crisis]

The Charlotte housing market is booming, and buyers are regularly competing to outbid one another. Those skyrocketing offers are contributing to a perfect storm, forcing many prospective owners out of the running.

Sabrina Hickenbotham said she has lived in the Charlotte area since 2009 and has dreamed about finding a place of her own in the Queen City.

“The approval process was really simple and once I got qualified, I got qualified for a great interest rate,” she said.

But Hickenbotham said she got frustrated once she started hunting for a house.

The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta said that the demand for housing is high and affordability is plummeting. Home sale prices are up 23.8% over the past year. That means a median-income household could spend 32.6% of its annual income on mortgage payments.

“Between 30% and 35% is what I’m seeing for my clients,” said Lori Randolph, a realtor with Glam Realty.

Despite low interest rates, skyrocketing home prices have forced several clients to continue renting, Randolph said.

“Not only depleting their hopes and dreams, but it is tapping into their savings,” she said. “They’re paying a mortgage. It’s just not theirs.”

Hickenbotham is one of them, and she realized that her dream of being a homeowner may not become a reality soon.

“I’m still looking but I’m not as excited as I was in the beginning,” Hickenbotham said. “I’m definitely being patient.”

(Watch the video below: New NEST Commission aims to help solve Charlotte’s affordable housing crisis)