What's Regentrification?

Real Estate Agent with Leigh Brown & Associates, RE/MAX Executive

An article in the Charlotte Observer yesterday highlighted seven neighborhoods that are currently investor targets for upward movement in property values. The article talked about a couple of local investors who are buying and renovating and selling (some of you might consider that to be 'flipping') as part of a larger trend.

See, in Charlotte, we're very sprawled out for a city of our size. Land is still relatively inexpensive here so instead of the upfitting  in the close-in neighborhoods, it's just been a mass suburbia growth into the outlying counties.  As our banking community grows and we have more and more yuppies and DINKs, we have a larger market of folks who want to live in the middle of town (Center City as the Chamber folks refer to it), to be near work and restaurants and nighlife.  These are also the folks who enjoy taking on the risk of renovations and revitalizing neighborhoods.  The property values inside 277 (the inner belt loop) have gone through the ceiling (i.e. $144,900 for 489 sqft at the lowest price point, up to $3,450,000 for 7000sqft penthouse). 

Our inner city has long had the problems that other inner cities have experienced....high unemployment rates, high crime, low levels of education, large percentage of subsidized housing...and the proponents of these citizens are very concerned that rising property values are going to run off these folks, who will not find other suitable housing for what they are currently paying.  For as investors purchase and renovate, the rents go straight up along with the property value.

The process is referred to as 'regentrification', taking these dilapidated areas and bringing them back to their original glory-and beyond.  There are people who welcome the investors as they are improving houses that are in sore need of improvement-and just as many who shun them for-gasp-raising property values.

How can you win?  I'm not of the opinion that an area should stay low and suffer just so rents can stay cheap.  Because how are you benefiting those people who live there currently (the houses and apartments are in many cases run down) or the surrounding areas (which are also regentrifying), if you insist on keeping things down?  Why is improvement bad?  No, I don't know what to do with displaced people-I'm sure that the private sector could come up with a better model than what the government has relied upon for so  many years.  I do think the private sector should step up to help create a long term solution.  But hiding from progress doesn't help anyone.

For more information on these improving areas or other information on Charlotte area real estate, you know who to contact!


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Leigh Brown

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