Charlotte races to become America’s fastest growing city

February 16, 2023

Known for its expansive banking industry, strong NASCAR influence, sports teams, and emerging tech scene, Charlotte is well on its way to becoming America's fastest-growing city. Below the national average for cost of living and a substantial Fortune 500 presence are a few reasons why more than 100 people move to the city daily. However, it's no secret that Charlotte's boom makes real estate investment in the metro quite challenging, even for local firms.

Looking to Scale

The team at Rockval speaks with Charlotte native Aaron Zucker, CEO of Zucker Investment Group (ZIG), to get a beat on the Charlotte retail scene. ZIG specializes in acquiring, developing, and leasing retail properties across the eastern United States.

Founded in 2018, the company operates properties in 13 states and is going on over 25 acquisitions. Focusing on deals that possess upside with value creation through solid fundamentals in a core leasing strategy has enabled them to remain nimble. Zucker said they go after anything that can provide an upside on value, whether a long-term stabilized asset or a vacant property. They can execute various strategies, given Zucker's extensive leasing background and well-built team.

Currently, ZIG is aggressively pursuing multi-tenant shopping centers along the east coast. With the firm's perfect record with its lenders and a dedicated team constantly leveraging the broker and landlord community, they are sure to be a major contender.

Charlotte's Rosy Fundamentals

Although ZIG calls Charlotte home, it has yet to acquire assets in its backyard successfully. Aaron says the competition is stiff, demand is through the roof, and inventory is low. As a result, it is much easier for him to execute a deal in a secondary or tertiary market, which has yielded ZIG great results.

Zucker paints the picture of the long-term Charlotte fundamentals. The city's employment is primarily white-collar, with high median incomes, a fantastic quality of living, and an increasing population of discretionary spenders. Not surprisingly, most new residents have moved from New York City or California. Zucker commented on the growth and why retail sales are doing so well. "You've got people willing and able to spend discretionary income because they moved here from New York City or California, where $1.5 million got them a shack. But, on the other hand, they can spend a million and live in the suburbs in a 4,500-square-foot house. So they picked up 500K equity, and they'll have no problem spending $22 on a nice salad without batting an eye at lunch."

Despite the increased demand, retail property prices are still relatively more affordable than in Miami or New York. Well, at least for now. Retail rents currently average around $22/SF, a 7% YOY increase. Additionally, in Q2 of this year, Charlotte's retail market became the 8th lowest vacancy rate throughout the country. In addition to the strong growth in retail, the Charlotte metro is having success with employees returning to the office and further supporting downtown retail and restaurants.

ReCap Key Takeaway

Charlotte is a rapidly expanding market due to the higher standard of living and a net benefactor of emigration from states like New York and California. Support from large firms

Please find below if you are interested in learning more about Aaron and his firm.

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