Monday, January 05, 2009

The details on what University City needs

If you'll recall, on Dec. 16 in "What University City needs," I referred to a study by the UNC Charlotte Center for Real Estate about housing and real estate in the University City area. University City Partners commissioned the study.

I've finally got a link to the report, if you've got a yen to burrow in. Here's the link. The study says it "evaluates the need for greater diversity across product types in the University City housing market. It also explores ways to encourage the production of higher–end housing through collaboration between the public and private sectors."

Here's one interesting tidbit about what homebuyers are seeking: "Interestingly, proximity to UNC Charlotte was identified as an amenity only for employees of the university. Athletic, cultural, and educational opportunities available at the university were rarely cited on their own as important factors to homebuyers."

Also pay attention to the sections on pages 8 and 9 about knowledge-based workers, a.k.a. the creative class. They prefer mixed-use, urban neighborhoods over homogenous suburbia, and tend to shun newly developed mixed-use neighborhoods because they feel contrived and lack "authenticity."

That doesn't bode well for U.C.'s hopes to attract the creative class. The area is total suburbia. Even if its new development is on a more urban pattern -- stores and homes not separated, apartments aren't sequestered from single-family houses and everything is closer than in conventional suburbia -- it isn't going to be "organic" for decades.

Quick disclaimer: I haven't read the whole report. It IS a workday, after all, and my regular job (editorial board member, op-ed columnist, etc.) nips at my heels. But I wanted to offer the full report to those interested.


annoyed said...

University City needs sidewalks with curbs on the roads, bike lanes, and street lights!!!!!!!!!

And they need to fix the lights around UNCC on University City Blvd. Crime is a problem and you wonder why... it is so dark. It doesn't take a genius to figure that out. Fix the lights already!!!

Steve said...

To Reiterate:

a) they did not have an understating of the research area b) they did not study the market outside of newly built homes c) they started with assumptions never exploring if they were correct or erroneous and d) any real-estate agent in the area could have written the summary in 20 min.
I read the entire report. It has major deficiencies. The study Area is bordered on west by Eastfield Road and the south by Dertia, but not once is the north rail line mentioned. Even thought 3 stops are included in the study area (Deria, WT Harris and Estfield/Hucks Road). How can you say that light rail will effective future growth on one side of the study area and ignore the other side, especially when 2 major developments have been announced (and approved) along the commuter rail line.

Nor does the report explain why Higher End housing is lacking in North Charlotte/University City. No research into supply or demand static’s just – plain housing stock numbers. No analysis was done on existing higher end housing neighborhoods (how long they are on the market, asking price vs. selling price).

Also the assumption that Better Schools drew parents away from area was not quantified. For one Huntersville shares the same school system as Charlotte, two- what is the test score comparison and student to teacher ration and over-crowdedness for North Meck and Mallard Creek to Cabarrus County Schools? And three what % of homeowners living in 400k+ houses send their kids to private schools.

The Report made the critical assumption that since there is little supply of high-end house there must not be any demand. You cant just look at Supply, that is only half the picture - you should research to see if a demand exists and is not being filled then explain why there is no demand or explain why the demand is not being met.
All in all the report is deficient in so many areas that the conclusions and analysis are all skewed. I would ask for my money back if I had paid for this report – it is obvious that they have very little knowledge of the area.

Anonymous said...

A couple of the comments are somewhat correct about the issue of higher end housing in the UNCC area. I have lived in the area since 1985. First, most major stretches of road do not have sidewalks, lights or curbing. Second, the uptown crowd has dumped a lot of the downtown public housing residents into this area as documented by the Observer. No developer is going to build any higher end housing or mixed use in this area due to the silly requirements the "class envy" planning commission and city council have. Get a grip. Foreclose on all of this substandard housing and bulldoze it down. We are better with dirt and weeds than we are with this garbage that has been thrust upon us.