Selecting a location is one of the most difficult things newcomers face because of the size of region. Charlotte is in Mecklenburg County - which is an 850 square mile area, and there are 11 surrounding counties. So, the job/business location will probably limit/focus your choices significantly. What sometimes helps narrow the decision is schools. In the Charlotte area, school districts are very large and many buyers are researching specific schools closely and giving me direction to search in specific high school attendance zones. Taxes are low here compared to many other parts of the country, and you are slightly lower in South Carolina, which is 12 mi from Uptown Charlotte. If you want more info on schools or taxes, please ask.
Uptown Charlotte, University (UNCC) area, Lake Norman, Lake Wylie, Whitewater Center, Uptown Charlotte and the many suburbs within about 5 miles, NoDa, South Charlotte, Ballantyne all could appeal for after hours socializing and outdoors activities. If you are more of a homebody, there are lots of smaller towns in the Charlotte metro that could also work. It depends on what you like to do, how far you are willing to drive to work, and your budget.
There is a good diversity of employers in a wide variety of business sectors here. Charlotte is #2 financial center of the nation behind New York and is quickly becoming known as the nations energy center. Many Fortune 500 companies have a presence here, several are headquartered in Charlotte and many well paid executives make their home in the Charlotte region. Some good Charlotte informational sites are: charlottesgotalot.com, http://www.charlotteonestop.com, http://www.charmeck.org,
There are many small towns around here, several lakes, and a fairly vibrant uptown with homes that should appeal in your $700+/- price range. If you want a country cottage or estate, a lake home an uptown condo or something in-between, there are good opportunities for each type of home and lifestyle. Larger estate type homes on larger lots, and equestrian areas are in Union County (Marvin, Weddington, Waxhaw, Wesley Chapel) and in the Matthews/Mint Hill area. If you want to maintain a water oriented lifestyle, you will probably be considering Lake Norman, http://www.visitlakenorman.org
or Lake Wylie in SC/NC. If you prefer a more urban lake experience over a rural one, you will probably prefer the east side of Lake Norman and Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius, Mooresville.
Charlotte offers many very nice neighborhoods and planned communities ranging from elaborate turn of the century homes to modern construction recently built. A number of these planned communities appeal to those for whom a country club and/or golf setting is familiar or desirable. there is very good availability of newer high quality homes throughout the region. Many of these are in South Charlotte and Ballantyne areas. Uptown Charlotte appeals to a more modern taste and style. Areas close-in to uptown were developed in the 1920's as trolley car suburbs and many homes here have been wonderfully restored and updated.
Regarding the Real Estate market in Charlotte right now, I turn to Standard & Poor's Case Shiller report. Here we find that the Greater Charlotte region did not have as big a run-up in prices as in other metropolitan areas in America, so we also have not had such large price drops. The Charlotte market peaked in mid-2007. It declined sharply in 2008, less in 2009 and about 4.4% last year. Depending on the price point and specific location, today's prices are fairly stable to slightly declining. Prices average about what they were in 2005. While most of the builder defaulted properties of 2007 and 2008 have been foreclosed and sold, there are still excellent opportunities for purchase of bank owned, short sale and other "distressed" property at below market prices.
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