Economic activity expected to weaken around middle of the year, Meck County economist says

CHARLOTTE — Mecklenburg County’s economist is predicting economic activity will weaken around the middle of the year, possibly heading toward a mild recession or zero-growth scenario. County economist Brandon Simmons made the comments Wednesday during Mecklenburg County’s budget retreat.

Simmons told county commissioners the housing market will likely face a correction this year and home prices will fall. He says new listings are down 42% from last year. Only 793 new homes went on the market in December. They are also staying for sale longer. This past summer, the average home was on the market for 12 days. Now it is 42 days.

In April 2022, the annual income needed to purchase a median-priced home of $381,000 was $105,000.

County Commission Chairman George Dunlap says the county is in overall good shape but there is room for improvement.

“I think, overall, it is clear Mecklenburg County is doing well but there are some areas of concern,” he said.

Renters aren’t faring any better.

The county says in 2021 that 48.5% of renters were cost-burdened.

The average one-bedroom apartment in the county cost $1,300 a month to rent.

Simmons says the population data shows the county is becoming more educated and connected and home ownership is increasing. But inflation is high and outpacing wage growth.

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