Defend Charlotte: The Crown Town Effect on UC Real Estate


by Morgan Fogarty
Bio | Email | Follow: @morganfogarty

INDIAN TRAIL, N.C. - "It was an obvious fit here," says Mark Sitzer.  He was drawn from Hickory to Union County's Indian Trail four years ago for the small town feel, good schools, and lower property taxes.  Sitzer's 4 bed, 4 bath home is 3,500 square feet. It was built in 2007 and has a tax value of $360,000.  He pays $3,036 in county and town property taxes.  The same home in Charlotte would cost him $4,624 in property taxes, a difference of more than $1,500 bucks.  Sitzer says, "Our Realtor told us the tax rate has been consistent for years here." 

Sitzer's far from alone in his positive assessment of the UC.  "We've definitely seen growth across every section. Commercial, residential, you have it in Union County," says Maren Brisson-Kuester. She is President-Elect of the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association.  She says everything in Union County is rebounding, just at different rates.  The western side of the county sustained its values much better than the eastern side.  "But that makes sense cause it's closer to Charlotte-Mecklenburg, the commute time is there, you have more jobs, more access to jobs," she says.
However, the Crown Town Effect isn't all positive.  Some UC schools are struggling with overcrowding, after years of families choosing them over CMS.  Now, as county leaders consider re-districting, it's scaring off some home buyers.  For example, a six bed, five bath, half a million dollar home in Marvin went on the market in November.  It was under contract--until the buyers heard about the possible re-districting. 
"That level of uncertainty has brought people back into south Charlotte to secure a home school for their kids. It's a top priority," says Weichert Realtor Tommy Williams.  He says he isn't the only one to lose a sale recently.  "The agent who's clients were buying my home had three contracts that week that she had to terminate because of it," he says.
Experts agree home buying fear will fade once the county makes a decision on schools.  In the meantime, Sitzer remains pleased with his home purchase.  The construction across the street from him bolsters his confidence.  And he says no matter what school his daughter attends, buying in Union County is a decision he'd make again.  He says, "It's a great place to live, it's a great place to work, it's a great place to play, it's a great place to raise a family."
The president of the Union County Board of Realtors tells WCCB the average home price was up almost 45 percent from January 2013 to 2014.  Experts say ideally, single digit gains are best for sustainability.  They say we'll see those smaller increases as market health continues to improve. 
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