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There may be fewer listings on the Charlotte, North Carolina, housing market today than there were a year ago, but what is for sale is selling faster. Closed sales rose nearly 6 percent in July from July of 2013, according to the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association; that, as the inventory of homes for sale fell nearly 5 percent.
"The market is strong, though not everything is selling at the prices the sellers want," said Bonnie Papandrea, a real estate agent with Wilkinson & Associates Real Estate in Charlotte. "Closer to town, those properties are doing fabulous and getting the price point back to almost 2006."
The median price of a Charlotte-area home that sold in July rose 5.5 percent from a year ago, and sellers are getting on average about 95 percent of their list price. Sellers have been getting a bit more realistic, at least on a national scale, lowering their list prices and negotiating more, according to a report from Redfin, a national brokerage.
Charlotte had been a target of large-scale investors in single-family rental homes, but that demand is easing, especially as home prices rise. Investors need to get bargain-priced homes in order to make the investment work, and there are fewer and fewer distressed homes coming onto the market. There is also more competition in the market.
"There are fewer investors mainly because they're building so many apartments," noted Papandrea. "We still see rental demand."
The number of new listings coming onto the Charlotte market fell nearly 3 percent in July, which does not bode well for the fall market. Affordability is key in markets like this one, where prices are being driven higher not so much by demand, but by lack of supply.
—By CNBC's Diana Olick