The Greensboro Real Estate Market: A Smart Investment in 2020?

The Greensboro real estate market is a place where rents are on the rise as housing prices begin to decline, creating the potential for increased yields for the buy-and-hold investor.

HousingWire recently ranked Greensboro as one of the seven smaller metro areas with a 4% rent growth or higher (as of Q3 2019) and a likely candidate to outperform this year. Prices of homes in the market are beginning to slowly adjust after seven years of non-stop growth.

Greensboro is part of the Piedmont Triad (along with Winston-Salem and High Point) in the central part of North Carolina. The city is small enough for people to know their neighbors, yet large enough to be home to a thriving economy. Numerous corporate headquarters and a stable job market make Greensboro a great place for both families and business.

Keep reading to learn why the Greensboro real estate market could be a smart investment in 2020.

>>Explore Roofstock's Greensboro Investment Properties here.

 

Population Growth

Not only is the population of Greensboro growing, it’s also getting a slightly older and a little richer. Over the past 10 years, median earnings in the market have increased by nearly 28% while the number of residents 65 years or older grew by 1.6%. 

That’s good news for real estate investors, since baby boomers and millennials make up two of the strongest demographics for renters. Millennials in Greensboro make up about 30% of the population. The city is diligently working on attracting and retaining even more millennials to boost the size of the workforce and keep Greensboro moving forward.

Key Population Stats:

  • City of Greensboro is home to nearly 300,000 residents with about 725,000 people residing in the Greensboro-High Point metropolitan area.
  • Greensboro is the 3rd-most populated city in North Carolina and – along with Winston-Salem and High Point – is part of the Piedmont Triad.
  • Population growth was approximately 0.86% last year.
  • Over the next 10 years, Guilford County (where Greensboro is located) is projected to grow by 20%.
  • Median age in Greensboro is 35 years, about 9% lower than the North Carolina median age of 38.

 

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Job Market

Business North Carolina magazine recently observed that the diverse economy of Guilford County (where Greensboro is located) is paving the way for growth. In fact, according to the report, the area is “expected to knock growth expectations out of the ballpark as the region leverages its strengths in advanced manufacturing, aerospace, and even the arts.”

Key Employment Stats:

  • GDP of Greensboro-High Point MSA is about $38.3 billion, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, and has grown by about 5% since 2012.
  • Job growth in Greensboro was 1.4% last year with the job market growing by 12% since 2010.
  • Unemployment rate in Greensboro-High Point MSA is 3.5%, declining from 4.5% the previous year.
  • Targeted industries in Greensboro include aerospace, innovative manufacturing, supply chain logistics, furniture design and manufacturing, life sciences, specialized business services, and art and design.
  • Honda Aircraft Company, Kayser-Roth, Mack Trucks, International Textile Group, Fusion3, and Wrangler are some of the companies with headquarters in Greensboro.
  • Largest employment sectors in Greensboro are education and healthcare, wholesale and transportation, business and technical services, management and administrative support, and retail trade.
  • Major employers in Greensboro-High Point include Guilford County Schools, Ralph Lauren Corporation, Bank of America, Volvo Group, AT&T, BB&T, Lincoln Financial Group, and Procter & Gamble.
  • Gateway Research Park in Greensboro is a partnership between local universities and city leaders to attract new businesses in the high-tech, nanotech, and logistics sectors.
  • Regional colleges and universities in Greensboro include University of North Carolina at Greensboro, North Carolina A & T State University, and Elon University.
  • 88.2% of the residents of Guilford County are high school graduates or higher, while 41% have earned post-secondary degrees.
  • Four interstate highways run near Greensboro including I-40 and I-85.
  • Norfolk Southern provides freight rail service in the Greensboro metro area.
  • Four deep water seaports are less than 300 miles from Greensboro-High Point.
  • FedEx MidAtlantic Air Hub is based in Greensboro.
  • Piedmont Triad International Airport (GSO) in Greensboro is served by major airlines like Delta, United, and American Airlines and provides non-stop service to 14 cities including Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and New York.

 

Real Estate Market

Real estate investors looking for rental property in North Carolina may want to take a close look at Greensboro, located only 30 miles east of Winston-Salem. 

While prices are rising in Winston-Salem, real estate prices in Greensboro are projected to decline by about 2.9% this year, according to Realtor.com. At the same time, rents are expected to keep growing in Greensboro, creating a potential window of opportunity for the astute rental property investor with a long-term buy-and-hold strategy.

Key Market Stats:

  • The median listing price of a house in Greensboro is $189,900 while the median selling price is $161,100 according to Zillow (as of January 2020).
  • Square foot listing price in Greensboro is $110 vs. $108 per square foot in the Greensboro-High Point metropolitan area.
  • Home values in Greensboro increased by 6.4% last year and by about 33% since November 2012 based on the Zillow Home Value Index.
  • Average days on market is 63.
  • During the listing period 9.4% of the houses for sale in Greensboro have a reduction to the listing price.
  • 8.1% of the homes in Greensboro have a negative equity vs. 8.2% nationally.
  • 1.1% of the homes in Greensboro have a delinquent mortgage vs. 1.1% U.S. average.
  • Forest Oaks is the neighborhood in Greensboro with the highest home value.



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Strong Renters’ Market

The Greensboro rental market is one of seven smaller metro areas expected to outperform in 2020, according to a recent article in HousingWire. Last year, Greensboro was one of only a handful of smaller markets that had a 4% or higher rent growth as of Q3 2019, and the only city in North Carolina to overperform.

Key Market Stats:

  • Median rent in Greensboro is $1,250 per month vs. $1,119 per month for the Greensboro-High Point metropolitan area.
  • Rents in Greensboro increased by an average of 5% over the past year, according to RENTCafé.
  • 52% of the housing units in Greensboro rent for between $701 and $1,000 per month.
  • 49.6% of the households in Greensboro are renter-occupied.
  • Neighborhoods in Greensboro with the lowest rents include Bryson Ridge, Cone Mills, and East Bessemer where rents average $782 per month.
  • Neighborhoods in Greensboro with the highest rents include Lindley Park, Starmount Forest, and Sunset Hills where the average monthly rents are $1,484.



Historic Price Changes & Housing Affordability

Two of the most critical factors to consider when choosing a real estate market to invest in are the potential for appreciation and the strength of the rental market. To help analyze these criteria, real estate investors can review a market’s historic change in home prices and the affordability of buying vs. renting.

Each quarter the FHA releases up-to-date data on the change in home prices for all markets across the U.S. The most recent FHA 2019 Q3 House Price Index report for the Greensboro-High Point shows:

  • Since Q1 1991 homes prices have increased by 95.71% 
  • Over the past five years home prices have increased in Greensboro by 24.10%
  • Over the past year prices have increased by 3.05%
  • Over the last quarter home prices in Greensboro have decreased by 0.27%

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) publishes a Housing Affordability Index (HAI) that compares how affordable buying a house is in all markets across the U.S. The NAR uses a baseline index number of 100, then ranks each real estate market above or below 100. The higher a market is above 100, the more affordable it is to purchase a home.

Based on the NAR’s latest report, the HAI for the Greensboro-High Point MSA was 196.2 in 2018, the most recent year available. This means that the median family has a little less than twice the income needed to purchase a median priced, single-family resale home in the Greensboro metro area.

It’s important to note that when compiling these rankings, the NAR looks at median family income and compares that to the median price of an existing single-family home purchased with a conventional mortgage and a 20% down payment. 

The HAI report from the NAR doesn’t consider other factors such as lifestyle preference of renting vs. owning. So, even in markets like Greensboro where housing is relatively affordable, there are still a high percentage of renter-occupied households.



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Quality of Life

Living in Greensboro is like having the best of both worlds. It’s small enough to know who your neighbors are, yet large enough to offer plenty of options for entertainment, shopping, recreation and dining. 

Nicknamed the “Gate City," Greensboro is part of the dynamic Piedmont Triad (including Winston-Salem and High Point), close to the Blue Ridge Mountains and a short drive to the beaches along the Atlantic Coast.

Key Quality of Life Stats:

  • Forbes ranks Greensboro #10 in the cost of doing business and gives the city high rankings for best places for business and careers, education, and job growth.
  • Cost of living in Greensboro is 10% below the national average.
  • WalletHub lists Greensboro as one of the best places in North Carolina to raise a family.
  • In fact, people who are born and raised in Greensboro and leave after college often return home to raise their own families.
  • Niche.com gives Greensboro strong ratings for diversity, nightlife, family living, housing, and public schools.
  • The area is ranked by U.S. News & World Report as the 66th-best place to live in the nation and the 37th-best place to retire.
  • Downtown Greensboro is home to hundreds of shops, restaurants, museums, parks, art galleries, and more.
  • The Wyndham Championship PGA Tournament is held every year at the Sedgefield Country Club in Greensboro.
  • Moses H. Cone Memorial Hospital is ranked as the 2nd-best hospital in Greensboro/Winston-Salem.

 

Get Out the Map

Where to begin your search? Roofstock created a heat map of Greensboro based on our Neighborhood Rating, a dynamic algorithm that enables you to make informed investment decisions by measuring school district quality, home values, employment rates, income levels and other vital investment criteria.

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DARK GREEN: 4-5 star neighborhood
LIGHT GREEN: 3.5-4 star neighborhood
YELLOW: 2.5-3 star neighborhood
ORANGE: 2 star neighborhood
RED: 1 star neighborhood

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Jeff Rohde

Author

Jeff Rohde

Jeff has over 25 years of experience in all segments of the real estate industry including investing, brokerage, residential, commercial, and property management. While his real estate business runs on autopilot, he writes articles to help other investors grow and manage their real estate portfolios.

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