The Charlotte Commercial Real Estate Market

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Charlotte’s commercial real estate marketplace draws investors and tenants nationwide. The city’s steadily growing population and diverse, robust job market make Charlotte an attractive investment option for CRE professionals and developing businesses alike. Charlotte-based brokers and interested parties utilize Crexi’s powerful suite of CRE technology tools to discover properties and close more deals.

Using Crexi’s powerful search tools, buyers and tenants in Charlotte and beyond can explore thousands of Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia MSA properties. Searchers can quickly narrow search results and reach out to the relevant Charlotte broker in seconds upon finding the perfect property. 

Similarly, brokers harness Crexi’s powerful listing and lead management software to market and close deals across Charlotte and the surrounding cities. Thanks to Crexi’s simplified tools, it’s easier than ever for Charlotte commercial brokers to connect with high-quality leads. As of this writing, CRE professionals have closed over $440 billion in property transactions and marketed more than 500,000 properties at a total valuation above $5 trillion. 

Crexi proudly serves Charlotte, Gastonia, Concord, Mooresville, Matthews, and the entirety of Mecklenburg County as the region’s fastest-growing digital commercial real estate marketplace.

The State of Commercial Real Estate in Charlotte

Charlotte, the largest city in North Carolina, is a vibrant business hub that has experienced steady growth in recent years. The city is known for its diverse economy, which includes finance, advanced manufacturing, and energy. Due to its favorable business climate, Charlotte attracts large corporations and startups, making it a prime location for commercial real estate investments.

One of the main factors contributing to Charlotte’s economic growth is its talented and educated workforce. The city is home to several renowned universities and colleges, including the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and the Queens University of Charlotte, which feed a skilled workforce into the local economy. In addition, Charlotte is known for its welcoming culture and affordable cost of living, which make it an attractive destination for young professionals and businesses looking to relocate.

The region’s business-friendly policies, world-class infrastructure, and excellent quality of life make it a desirable location for companies to set up shop. Charlotte offers access to top-notch education, healthcare, and entertainment options, ensuring that residents have everything they need at their fingertips. 

Charlotte Regional Breakdown

The Charlotte metro area – which includes cities such as Concord and Gastonia – was among the top 10 fastest-growing large metros in the US. Since 2016, Charlotte has gained more than 201,000 new residents, many relocating from the NYC-Newark-Jersey City metro area.

  • Charlotte is home to nearly 880,000 in the city and 2.7 million in the metropolitan area.
  • According to the most recent census, Mecklenburg County (where Charlotte is the county seat) saw its population soar by 22% since 2010, 
  • The Charlotte Region spans 15 counties in 2 states.
  • Major cities in the Charlotte metro area include Concord, Gastonia, Rock Hill, Huntersville, and Kannapolis.
  • Mecklenburg, York, Union, Cabarrus, and Gaston are the most populous counties.
  • The median age in Charlotte is 38.1, a little less than the figure in North Carolina.
  • Per capita income is $39,375, about 10% higher than NC.
  • Median household income is $71,041, about 20% higher than NC.

Charlotte Job Market

Employment growth in the Charlotte Region is outpacing the nation, according to a report from the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance. Year-over-year job growth was 4.6% vs. 4% for North Carolina and 2.9% for the US.

  • The GDP for Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia NC-SC is nearly $208 billion, growing by more than 73% over the past decade, as the St. Louis Fed reported.
  • The unemployment rate is 3.5% vs. 3.7% one year ago (BLS, January 2023).
  • The labor force in Charlotte has grown by 16% since 2010.
  • Target sectors and industries in the Charlotte Region are advanced manufacturing, financial services, headquarters, health care, innovation economy, international business, logistics and transportation, life sciences, and commercial real estate.
  • The biggest employers in Charlotte include Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Atrium Health, Novant Health, Amazon, Lending Tree, and Lowe’s.
  • The Charlotte Region has 25 colleges and universities, including the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Queens University, and Davidson College.
  • More than 39% of the residents hold a bachelor’s degree or higher, about 10% more than the rate in North Carolina and the US.
  • Charlotte ranks as one of the best cities to live in America on, with solid grades for housing, public schools, diversity, families, and nightlife.
  • The cost of living in Charlotte is 2% lower than the national average and 57% lower than in NYC.
  • Charlotte’s transportation infrastructure includes public transit, two interstate highways, the Charlotte Inland Port, and Charlotte Douglas International Airport.

Charlotte Industrial Market

The Charlotte industrial market remains resilient, with strong occupier demand and ongoing Southeast migration driving rental rates up to $7.95 PSF, based on the most recent research from Colliers. Despite a slight increase in vacancy rate due to lower absorption numbers, net absorption is still 6 times greater than pre-Covid levels, signaling the potential for continued leasing activity. Developers are continuing to invest in the area with over 17 MSF of new product under construction, suggesting faith in the market’s growth potential even during recessionary times.

  • Total industrial inventory: 359,446,528 SF
  • Average direct asking rent: $7.95/SF per year NNN
  • Vacancy rate: 3.86%
  • Net Absorption: 12,766,748 SF in 2022
  • Key lease transactions by tenant: Shutterfly 303,188 SF, Solve Industrial Motion Group 282,134 SF, Bosch Rexroth 227,500 SF, Brewer Supply 150,000 SF
  • New construction: 17,136,758 SF under construction with 8,562,036 SF delivered in 2022
  • Investment sales trends: $232.7 million (through Q3 2022), market cap rate 6.3% (NAR Commercial
  • Key sales transactions by property: Air Park West $80.5 million, 800 Food Service Drive $76.4 million, The Park/Huntersville $32 million
  • Largest industrial submarkets: South, Catawba County, York County, Iredell County

Learn more about Charlotte industrial space for rent.

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Charlotte Office Market

The Charlotte office market saw strong performance in 2022, with over 80% of new lease activity occurring in the suburbs and Class A product accounting for more than 76%, according to Cushman & Wakefield. The Airport submarket led demand due to low asking rates and proximity to the city center, while Midtown/South End came in second. Direct rates for Class A space rose 5.7% year-over-year to $35.73 per square foot, a premium of $7.24 over Class B product, indicating the continued “flight to quality” witnessed throughout the sector.

  • Total office inventory: 56,727,461 SF
  • Direct asking rents (all classes): $33.55/SF per year, full-service gross
  • Vacancy rate: 17.7% overall
  • Absorption: 222,680 SF in 2022
  • Key leases by tenant: Hartford Insurance 55,667 SF, Columbus McKinnon 55,300 SF, Meduit 24,280 SF, UBS Financial Services 18,928 SF
  • New construction: 2,501,616 SF under construction, with 523,365 SF delivered in 2022
  • Investment sales trends: $503.2 million in acquisitions in Q3 2022, market cap rate 6.6% (NAR Commercial Metro Market Reports)
  • Largest office submarkets: CBD/Uptown, Airport, South/485/Ballantyne, Midtown/South End 

Learn more about Charlotte office space for rent. 

Charlotte Retail Market

Charlotte’s retail market is performing exceptionally well, thanks to a robust labor market and low completion volume. This led to a net absorption of 1.7 million square feet and vacancy tightening by 100 basis points – the largest magnitude seen in 15 years – resulting in a record-low vacancy rate. Going forward, this strong performance is expected to continue as long as employment gains remain steady in the metro area. Here are the most recent trends from Institutional Property Advisors and NAR Commercial:

  • Total retail inventory: 150,435,194 SF
  • Overall asking rent: $19.08/SF per year, NNN
  • Market rent growth: 10.1% year over year
  • Vacancy rate: 3.6% 
  • Absorption: 934,833 SF over the past 12 months
  • New construction: 350,000 SF estimated to be delivered in 2022
  • Charlotte experienced the fastest retail sales price growth of major Sun Belt markets in the previous 12-month period, with an average of $448 per square foot. 
  • Shopping centers between York and Fort Mill lead multi-tenant deal flow, trading at relatively low entry costs. 
  • Fast food establishments and restaurants are commanding high-4% to low-5% yields and mid-5% cap rates, respectively. 
  • Out-of-state buyers are paying an average premium of $200 more per square foot than local investors for Charlotte assets.

Learn more about Charlotte retail space for rent.

Charlotte Multifamily Market

The multifamily market in Charlotte has experienced a slight lull in activity, with the vacancy rate rising since hitting an all-time low one year ago. Employment growth has been steady, and completions of new units remain active, although move-ins have fallen short of last year’s levels. Demand for rentals is expected to stay healthy and annual deliveries are projected to be similar to recent years. These are the most recent multifamily trends in Charlotte from Northmarq:

  • Total housing units: 1,139,108
  • Renter occupied: 47%
  • Multi-unit inventory: 239,213 units 
  • Asking rent: $1,609
  • Rent growth: 10.2% year over year
  • Vacancy rate: 5.3%
  • New construction: 21,775 units under construction, with 6,160 units delivered through Q3 2022
  • Transaction activity: $262,400 median sales price per unit YTD
  • Key sales by project name: NOVEL LoSo $140 million, The Vive at Kellswater $91.2 million, 5115 Park Place $87.5 million, 1210 @ South End Apartments $82.1 million

Learn more about Charlotte multifamily property for sale.

Get more in-depth Charlotte market data with Crexi Intelligence.

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Shanti Ryle
Shanti Ryle

Content Marketing Manager

Shanti leads Crexi's content marketing strategies with 7+ years of content development experience, creating everything from blog posts to award-winning podcasts. Previously, she worked on content teams at Snapchat, Weedmaps, and HopSkipDrive as well as developed copy, articles, and media for freelance publications.

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