The Alamance County housing market is booming because of an increasingly high demand and limited supply of homes and apartments. In fact, the Burlington-Alamance area currently stands as the fourth fastest-growing housing market in the state, following Charlotte, Raleigh and Durham-Chapel Hill respectively.
A sizable portion of upperclassmen elect to reside off campus at some point during their Elon careers. Their search for homes and apartments will be affected by the rapidly growing market, which may prompt students to assess their living options more seriously.
According to local real estate executives Jon Lowder of the Piedmont Triad Apartment Association, and John Walker of ReMax Diamond Realty, the basis for the thriving housing market boils down to a simple case of supply and demand, fueled by a wide array of factors.
“It wouldn’t surprise me if one of the main drivers is accessibility,” Lowder said, in reference to the root causes for increases in housing demand. Lowder, executive director of the Piedmont Triad Apartment Association, also cites Alamance County’s proximity to the Raleigh-Durham and Chapel Hill areas, specifically via interstates 40 and 85 as contributors to that accessibility. In addition to the “decent commute times,” the Burlington-Alamance district also provides a “smaller city feel” at “reasonable prices” buyers are looking for, according to John Walker, the owner of ReMax Diamond Realty in Mebane.
Because of the rising popularity of homes and apartments in Alamance County, the competition Elon students face for real estate is escalating.
“We see a wide array of buyers in our area from first-time buyers, to those looking to upsize, to those looking at senior living communities,” Walker said. “A lot of people are moving to the area for work either in Alamance County itself, or … a reasonable commute time to Greensboro, Raleigh or Durham.”
Consequently, students seeking to lease off-campus housing are confronted with rising rent prices, and those looking to purchase residential properties will have to compete with statewide homebuyers, Walker said. Furthermore, local realtors have identified a trend as former, single-family residential properties are being bought instead of rented. Reasons for this shift are because of growing economic prosperity and a housing resurgence following the 2008 recession; consumers nowadays are generally more confident in making expensive decisions, such as purchasing versus leasing their next home.
Though the housing prices have witnessed a recent surge, listings in the area surrounding Elon University are not unattainable. For students specifically, this just means that they’ll have to, “Be flexible, build in some time to look around, and understand that there are some trade offs,” Lowder said. Contacting a reputable broker for purchases or property management company for rentals would also be quite wise, according to Walker’s expertise.
When beginning the hunt for the ideal off-campus property, both executives advise students to ask themselves pressing questions, ranging from “Is it likely that the music you blast at 2 am will prompt a complaint from neighbors?” to the more practical questions such as, “How far are you willing to commute to campus?” and “What amenities does this property offer?” Regardless of the answers, finding the right property — according to both realtors — is simply a matter distinguishing wants from needs.