Mecklenburg County Commissioners Discuss Corporate Rentals, Impact on Housing Market – WSOC TV

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CHARLOTTE — Mecklenburg County Commissioners fear companies are inflating housing costs with cash offers well in excess of the asking price. The county says companies are buying single-family homes and pricing people off.

The commissioners wanted to know if there is anything they can do about the situation, but on Tuesday afternoon they realized there was very little they could do.

“It’s gross,” County Commissioner Mark Jerrell said.

He spoke about the large number of homes being bought in The Crescent, which makes up West, North and East of Charlotte.

He did not mince his words. Jerrell says companies buying many of the single-family homes in the area may not be illegal, but he says their actions are unethical.

“This issue of affordable housing. This issue of affordability, housing and lack of it in our community. We live in a powder keg,” Jerrell said.

The district expert estimates that companies in the Mecklenburg district own around 13,600 single-family homes. More than 93% of them were bought for $300,000 or less.

More than a third of Charlotte homes were purchased by investors in the final quarter of 2021, according to Redfin.

“It’s unacceptable for our constituents and Mecklenburg County residents to say, ‘There’s nothing we can do about it,'” Jerrell said.

However, the commissioners have been told they are limited in what they can do.

Commissioner Laura Meier asked if they could charge a different tax rate when buying homes. The District Attorney said the action was illegal.

Solutions offered included investing more in affordable housing, working with HOAs to cap rents, and working with Raleigh legislators to reduce the incentive for corporate ownership.

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“None of us want the state to come after us. We want to obey the law,” Vice Chair Elaine Powell said.

Commissioners want more guidance from the county manager on what to do, but the chairman is dampening expectations.

“I don’t want people to think we can do something we can’t,” he said.

Investor buying in Charlotte is up 93%, according to Redfin. Six companies are the primary owners of the lots, according to UNC at Charlotte’s Urban Institute.

Research shows that most homes purchased by these companies are in The Crescent.

(WATCH BELOW: Charlotte leaders approve $12.4 million in affordable housing)

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