Local Realtor group president talks ‘frustrating’ housing market

STANLY COUNTY, N.C. — This year’s president of Canopy Realtor Association uses words to describe the current climate of Charlotte’s housing market that are sure to resonate with those competing for homes — tough, frustrating, nuts.

“It’s frustrating on all sides,” said Lee Allen during a recent interview with the Charlotte Business Journal, noting that many local buyers are finding themselves in competition with those with higher equity and more cash. “I always say terms make the deal. And these guys are coming in with just completely different terms, and a seller says, ‘I’d sell to these (other) guys, but I can’t turn that number down or cash to close in three weeks.’”

Charlotte-area sellers are currently receiving 100.6% of their asking price, on average. That’s up from 99.3% a year ago and 96.8% in February 2020. At the same time, housing inventory in the region is down to essentially a two-week supply, with less than 2,300 homes listed for sale as of early March. Home prices continue to post double-digit increases, with the median sales price jumping 22% year over year to $360,000 in February and the average sales price rising 19.6% to $407,812.

Allen, the 2022 president of the association and Canopy Multiple Listing Services Inc., and wife Mary Burt are broker-owners at Re/Max Executive and based in the firm’s Albemarle office — about 42 miles east of Charlotte.

A native of Randolph County, Allen graduated from UNC Charlotte in 1985 with an engineering degree, but he transitioned over to real estate and now has about 20 years experience in the local housing market. He and his wife founded a Re/Max franchise in 2006 and partnered with Re/Max Executive in February 2020. Allen has been involved with the association since 2012, serving in various roles. He’s also active in the Albemarle community, having formerly been chair of the legislative affairs committee for the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce and board chair of the Stanly Family YMCA, among other posts.

With roots in the Albemarle area, Allen’s primary focus as a broker is on the outlying areas of Mecklenburg County, such as Locust and Midland — parts of the region he described as “really blowing up.”

“I’m seeing a lot of buyers trade commute for affordability. They’re saying, ‘Look, as much as I would love to live in NoDa, I just can’t afford it anymore.’ Or, ‘Plaza Midwood has just priced me out, and so I’m going to make that 45-minute commute into town and I’m going to live out here where there’s some more affordability.’ It’s a little bit (of) elbow room,” he said. “That’s why you’re seeing activity so hot in the outlying areas; Cabarrus County, Union County, Waxhaw — those areas are just blowing up.”

CBJ caught up with Allen this week to discuss current trends in the local housing market, what could cause ripples and his expectations for the year ahead. Read the interview here

(WATCH BELOW: ‘Complicated’: Development for affordable housing near South End runs into setback)