Massive Early Morning Apartment Blaze Displaces Families

CHARLOTTE, NC — More than 50 Charlotte firefighters were called in to battle an early morning fire at an apartment complex in east Charlotte early Monday morning. The devastating blaze left numerous families displaced, according to one report.

The fire at the Stone Gate Apartments located at 855 Southwood Oaks Lane, off Reddman Road, was reported around 6 a.m., according to the Charlotte Fire Department. The team of more than 50 firefighters had the blaze out in about 40 minutes, it said.

According to WSOC, dozens of families were displaced and that some residents were barely able to escape. One resident, who was roused from sleep by the fire alarm, told the station she burned her hand when she reached for the doorknob to get out.

(Get Patch real-time email alerts for the latest news in NoDa, Belmont & Plaza Midwood — or other neighborhoods. Access Patch on the go with our iPhone app or our brand new app for Android phone users.)

The American Red Cross is assisting the families affected by the fire, WSOC said. According to the disaster relief organization, it responds to a disaster situation, the majority of which are house fires, on average every eight seconds.

This story will be updated when more information becomes available.

Photo via Digital Storm/Shutterstock

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FCP Acquires 574-Unit Apartment Community In Charlotte, NC – Triangle Business Journal

CHEVY CHASE, Md., March 28, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — FCPSM announces the acquisition of the Reserve at Providence, a 574-unit, garden and townhome-style apartment community in Charlotte, NC. The Reserve at Providence represents FCP’s 5th investment in the Charlotte area.

"We are excited about this acquisition because of its excellent location in South Charlotte, where strong population and job growth are contributing to a wave of new construction and a corresponding decline in the workforce housing stock," said FCP Sr. Associate, Alex Cathcart. "The community will benefit from our programmatic management and site improvements, increasing the appeal to its current and future residents." The Reserve at Providence features one, two, three and four-bedroom apartments and townhomes, making it well-suited to families.

The Reserve at Providence is well-located on Providence Road near some of Charlotte’s most affluent neighborhoods, minutes from major employment centers such as Uptown and Ballantyne, and near major retail attractions such as SouthPark Mall. FCP plans to build a new clubhouse and leasing center at the front of the community and invest in capital improvements to the existing site, buildings, and amenity areas. Amenities at the community include a clubhouse (planned for redevelopment into a state-of-the-art fitness and amenity center after a new clubhouse is built), a playground, a dog park, three pools, a picnic area with grills and a multi-sport court.

FCP extends its appreciation to Michael Ryan and his team at Cushman & Wakefield Southeast Equity, Debt & Structured Finance, who provided debt advisory services to FCP and to Marc Robinson and Cushman & Wakefield’s Southeast Multifamily Advisory Group who represented the seller in the transaction.

About FCP

FCPSM is a privately held real estate investment company that has invested in or financed more than $6 billion in assets since its founding in 1999. FCP invests directly and with operating partners in commercial and residential assets. The firm makes equity and mezzanine investments in income-producing and development properties. Based in Chevy Chase, MD, FCP invests both its commingled, discretionary funds and separate accounts targeted at major real estate markets in the United States. For further information on FCP, please visit

Media Contact:

Karen Widmayer

KW Communications, LLC


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Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc. Announces Public Offering of Common Stock


Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc. (the “Company”) (NYSE:ARI) today announced the Company has commenced an underwritten public offering of 13,500,000 shares of common stock. The Company expects to grant the underwriters a 30-day option to purchase up to 2,025,000 additional shares of common stock.

ARI intends to use all or a portion of the net proceeds from the offering to acquire or originate the Company’s target assets, which include commercial first mortgage loans, subordinate financings and other commercial real estate-related debt investments, and for working capital and other general corporate purposes, including the repayment of borrowings outstanding under the Company’s repurchase agreements.

J.P. Morgan, Morgan Stanley, BofA Merrill Lynch, Citigroup and Deutsche Bank Securities are the joint book-running managers for the offering.

A registration statement relating to these securities has been filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and has become effective. The offering will be made by means of a preliminary prospectus supplement and accompanying prospectus. A copy of the preliminary prospectus supplement and accompanying prospectus related to the offering can be obtained by contacting J.P. Morgan Securities LLC, c/o Broadridge Financial Solutions, 1155 Long Island Avenue, Edgewood, NY 11717, Attention: Prospectus Department, or by calling 866-803-9204; Morgan Stanley, Attention: Prospectus Department, 180 Varick Street, Second Floor, New York, NY 10014; BofA Merrill Lynch, NC1-004-03-43, 200 North College Street, 3rd floor, Charlotte NC 28255-0001, Attention: Prospectus Department, Email:; Citigroup, c/o Broadridge Financial Solutions, 1155 Long Island Avenue, Edgewood, NY 11717 or by calling 800-831-9146; or Deutsche Bank Securities Inc., Attention: Prospectus Group, 60 Wall Street, New York, NY 10005, Phone: (800) 503-4611,

This press release shall not constitute an offer to sell or the solicitation of an offer to buy any securities, nor shall there be any sale of any securities in any state or jurisdiction in which such offer, solicitation or sale would be unlawful prior to registration or qualification under the securities laws of any such state or jurisdiction.

About Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc.

Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc. (NYSE:ARI) is a real estate investment trust that primarily originates, acquires, invests in and manages performing commercial real estate mortgage loans, subordinate financings and other commercial real estate-related debt investments. The Company is externally managed and advised by ACREFI Management, LLC, a Delaware limited liability company and an indirect subsidiary of Apollo Global Management, LLC, a leading global alternative investment manager with approximately $248.9 billion of assets under management as of December 31, 2017.

Forward-Looking Statements

Certain statements contained in this press release constitute forward-looking statements as such term is defined in Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and such statements are intended to be covered by the safe harbor provided by the same. Forward-looking statements are subject to substantial risks and uncertainties, many of which are difficult to predict and are generally beyond the Company’s control. These forward-looking statements include information about possible or assumed future results of the Company’s business, financial condition, liquidity, results of operations, plans and objectives. When used in this release, the words believe, expect, anticipate, estimate, plan, continue, intend, should, may or similar expressions, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Statements regarding the following subjects, among others, may be forward-looking: the return on equity; the yield on investments; the ability to borrow to finance assets; the Company’s ability to deploy the proceeds of its capital raises or acquire its target assets; and risks associated with investing in real estate assets, including changes in business conditions and the general economy. For a further list and description of such risks and uncertainties, see the reports filed by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The forward-looking statements, and other risks, uncertainties and factors are based on the Company’s beliefs, assumptions and expectations of its future performance, taking into account all information currently available to the Company. Forward-looking statements are not predictions of future events. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.


Apollo Commercial Real Estate Finance, Inc.
Hilary Ginsberg, 212-822-0767

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Vesper Holdings Expands NC Student Housing Portfolio With New Acquisition – Charlotte Business Journal

NEW YORK, March 12, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Vesper Holdings (“Vesper”), a privately-held real estate investment firm based in New York City, is pleased to announce the acquisition of Campus Crossing located near the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. With this latest transaction, Vesper’s student housing portfolio now totals over 17,000 beds. Inclusive of this acquisition, Vesper has purchased 14 properties totaling approximately $400 million over the last 16 months. Campus Crossing is the fourth student housing community that Vesper has acquired during the last 3 months alone.

Built in 4 phases between 1990 and 2008, Campus Crossing caters to students enrolled at UNC Greensboro. Campus Crossing contains 5 two- and three-story residential buildings. The Property’s unit mix consists of two, three, and four-bedroom floor plans. Campus Crossing residents have access to a full range of amenities including a 12,000 square foot clubhouse, swimming pool, hot tub, fitness center with a rock wall, spin and yoga studios, computer lab, game room, movie theater, tanning beds, and volleyball court.

The prior owner completed a $1.6 million renovation of Campus Crossing last year. Vesper intends to invest an additional half-million in capital expenditures toward enhancements to the property’s exteriors and substantial technology upgrades throughout the community.

Vesper purchased Campus Crossing at a discounted price in an off-market transaction. Campus Crossing is Vesper’s second acquisition in the UNC Greensboro market. Vesper also owns Sherwood Forest, a 790-bed student housing property that it acquired in April 2017.

“Our acquisition of Campus Crossing is part of a strategy to purchase well-located properties that offer our investors superior risk-adjusted returns,” commented Isaac Sitt, Co-founder, and Principal of Vesper Holdings. We are pleased to expand our footprint in North Carolina and incorporate this property into our rapidly growing student housing portfolio.”

Vesper’s student housing portfolio is the 8th largest in the United States. Vesper’s portfolio, including Campus Crossing, is managed by Vesper’s in-house property management company – Campus Life & Style (CLS).

About Vesper Holdings

Founded by Elliot J. Tamir and Isaac J. Sitt, Vesper Holdings is a privately-held real estate investment firm based in New York City. Vesper Holdings’ diverse portfolio includes student housing, retail, mixed-use, office buildings and parking structures. Vesper Holdings ranks as the 8th largest student housing owner in the United States. Its real estate portfolio consists of 46 properties, including over 17,000 student housing beds. Vesper Holdings anticipates growing its student housing portfolio to 25,000 beds over the next two years.

Elliot J. Tamir and Isaac J. Sitt

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Experts Collaborate on Better Air Quality for NC

The NC BREATHE Conference aims to reduce the number of Code Orange days, like this one last summer in Charlotte, where air quality is dangerous for sensitive groups. (Clean Air Carolina)

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – North Carolina has come a long way in improving air quality in recent decades, but is it far enough?

Recent research published in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds even short-term exposure to air pollution below current standards can lead to premature death.

According to Rachel McIntosh-Kastrinsky, manager of Medical Advocates for Healthy Air – part of the group Clean Air Carolina – further reducing air-quality standards would come at a cost to both the public and private sectors, but she’s convinced it’s worth it in the long run.

“We at Clean Air Carolina want to make sure we’re doing the most to actually help and promote public policy that can get behind this,” said McIntosh-Kastrinsky. “Not only are we saving lives, which is always a positive, but health effects are actually an economic incentive as well.”

It is just one of the topics of today’s annual NC BREATHE conference, coordinated by Clean Air Carolina. Leaders from academia and state government will converge to discuss ways to engage communities in the state in the quality of air, and importance of collecting data on its quality.

McIntosh-Kastrinsky said part of the conference’s magic is bringing together people studying climate as a matter of theory and practice.

“As someone with a science background, I’ve found that even scientists aren’t always great at communicating together, depending on their discipline,” she observed. “So here, we really bring all these different disciplines and different areas together to try and push things forward.”

She pointed out that North Carolina state has 23 particulate-matter monitors, but there are 100 counties – which leaves a majority of the state without direct monitoring on the local level. Clean Air Carolina is in the process of working to place low-cost monitors in every county.

Stephanie Carson, Public News Service – NC

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Billy Graham, mourned as a man of God, is laid to rest near his childhood home – Religion News Service

Pastor Franklin Graham, son of Billy Graham, speaks during a funeral service at the Billy Graham Library for the Rev. Billy Graham on March 2, 2018, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Mike Stewart)

CHARLOTTE, N.C., (RNS) — With his childhood home as a backdrop, Billy Graham was celebrated as a man of God at a his funeral, the closing chapter of a centurylong story in American evangelical history.

For many evangelicals around the world, the legendary preacher — who died last week at age 99 — was their faith’s embodiment and ideal.

All five of his children paid short tributes to him on Friday (March 2) in front of more than 2,000 guests near the Billy Graham Library outside downtown Charlotte, the city of his birth. His grandsons served as pallbearers.

The gathering included President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their wives. All assembled under a 28,000-square foot white tent that recalled those under which “America’s pastor” began his career nearly 70 years ago.

The service, under sunny skies but with bracing winds, paid tribute to all the main markers of Graham’s life: his humble beginnings on a dairy farm a few miles away from the Billy Graham Library, his tent revivals and rapport with both the powerful and meek, and his simple message of coming to faith in Jesus before it’s too late.

“My father preached on heaven, told millions how to find heaven, he wrote a book on heaven, and today he’s in heaven,” said his oldest son, evangelist Franklin Graham, who now heads the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association founded by his father. “His journey is complete.”

The highly scripted funeral was also a testament to Graham’s extraordinary reach. He preached to an estimated 215 million during the course of his career — both in person, on television, and via satellite and the internet. His message resonated with a cross section of the globe, from American presidents to European royalty to villagers living in mud huts.

In bringing the Christian gospel to the masses, Graham sought to tear down barriers and unite Christian traditions. His funeral reflected those diplomatic achievements.

One hundred international delegates representing 50 countries and several denominations were invited to the funeral. Two Protestant pastors — Sami Dagher of Lebanon and Billy Kim of South Korea — gave tributes, but guests included representatives of Catholic and Orthodox traditions as well.

“Billy Graham was a bridge-builder,” said Cardinal Timothy Dolan, archbishop of New York, speaking to reporters before the funeral. “Back in the late 1940s and 1950s, to have welcomed Catholics, to embrace them, that wasn’t always accepted. He did it well. So I am honored to be here as a representative of the Catholic faith in the United States.”

Graham, who befriended every president since Dwight Eisenhower and served as confidant to many other Oval Office occupants, was honored by many politicians too: In addition to Trump and Pence, neither of whom spoke, North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper, a Democrat, and the state’s U.S. senators — Republicans Richard Burr and Thom Tillis — attended, as well as Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson.

Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton each paid private visits to Charlotte earlier in the week. Graham was also honored this week in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda, where he became only the fourth person to lie in honor there — and the first religious figure.

And many on Trump’s ad hoc evangelical advisory board — including Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., publicist Johnnie Moore and seminary executive Richard Land — were in attendance.

Still, it was Baptists, the denomination to which Graham loosely belonged — who formed the largest contingent at the funeral. It included Baptist megachurch pastors such as Rick Warren of Saddleback Church in Southern California, Jack Graham (no relation) of Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, and Steven Furtick of Elevation Church in Charlotte. Past presidents of the Southern Baptist Convention were also in attendance as were presidents of its six seminaries.

Preachers from the Pentecostal tradition, including Jim Bakker and Joel Osteen, attended as well.

Graham was buried later in the afternoon in a memorial prayer garden near the barn-like Billy Graham Library. His casket had been made by inmates of the Louisiana State Penitentiary.

The 15-minute service was private, attended by some 200 family members. His pastor for the past 10 years, the Rev. Don Wilton of First Baptist Church in Spartanburg, S.C., presided. The grave marker reads: “Preacher of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.”

For many, the most touching moments of the day came from two of Graham’s daughters: Anne Graham Lotz and Ruth Graham.

Lotz, who Graham called the most gifted preacher in his family, gave a mini-sermon in which she compared her father to Moses.

“Moses was the great liberator; he brought millions of people out of bondage,” she said. “My father is also a great liberator. He brought millions of people out of bondage to sin and to the edge of the Promised Land and then God called him home.”

Lotz’s younger sister Ruth relayed a personal story about Graham’s compassion, telling of how she ignored her parents and children’s advice in marrying for the second time after a divorce. Realizing her mistake, she drove up the mountains of North Carolina to confront her father.

He was waiting in the driveway. “He wrapped his arms around me and said ‘Welcome home.’ There was no blame, just unconditional love,” she said.

Graham began planning his funeral more than 10 years ago, initially with music director Cliff Barrows, who died in 2016, and later with the help of his pastor.

The guest list was drawn up years ago but underwent several revisions. Each of the Graham children were allotted a number of family members and friends, but a family spokesman said Franklin Graham’s, his father’s appointed successor, had a larger hand in the selection of guests.

Christian recording artist Michael W. Smith sang “Above All” and the Gaither Vocal Band performed one of Graham’s favorite hymns, “Because He Lives.”

Pastors, even those who did not know him well, said they were keen to honor the man by attending the funeral.

“There are three words that will always come to mind when I think of Billy Graham,” said Atlanta-area pastor James Merritt, a former president of the SBC. “One is the gospel. Two is integrity, and three was love. That was his favorite word when he talked about Jesus. He loved to talk about how God loved us and it was evident because he loved people so much.”

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Admirers line streets as Graham’s body arrives in Charlotte

People line the street as the hearse carrying the body of Rev. Billy Graham leaves the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove on Saturday, Feb. 24, 2018 in Asheville, N.C. Graham’s body will be brought to his hometown of Charlotte on Saturday as part of a procession expected to draw crowds of well-wishers. (AP Photo/Kathy Kmonicek, Pool)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Well-wishers lined freeway overpasses and small-town streets to honor the late Rev. Billy Graham as his motorcade crossed his beloved home state of North Carolina for four hours on Saturday from his mountain chapel to namesake library in the state’s largest city.

Adults and children stood behind wooden barricades and yellow tape, police officers saluted, and admirers captured the moment on cellphones along the route. Fire trucks parked on overpasses along Interstate 40.

Pallbearers, followed by family members, carried the coffin into the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, which will serve as a backdrop for the evangelist’s funeral.

Franklin Graham said he was fulfilling a promise to take his father’s body to Charlotte. He said was overwhelmed by the "outpouring of love we are seeing as we travel."

The motorcade for "America’s Pastor," which began at the training center operated by Graham’s evangelistic association in Asheville, was a chance for residents in some of the evangelist’s favorite places to pay tribute. Graham often shopped or caught trains in Black Mountain. He made his home in the nearby community of Montreat.

"He has never really reveled in all of the celebrity. It’s come with the territory," said Joe Tyson, a family friend who runs a furniture store in Black Mountain, where he watched the procession. "But they’ve managed to live a very normal life for such famous people. And I think he’d be very proud that his neighbors turned out and quietly celebrated his reward and his passage into heaven."

Graham, who died Wednesday at his home in North Carolina’s mountains at age 99, reached hundreds of millions of listeners around the world with his rallies and his pioneering use of television.

A viewing will be held at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte on Monday and Tuesday. Graham will also lie in honor in the U.S. Capitol Rotunda on Wednesday and Thursday, the first time a private citizen has been accorded such recognition since civil rights hero Rosa Parks in 2005.

The procession was part of more than a week of mourning that culminates with his burial Friday.

A man played bagpipes at a highway rest area near Marion, where an overpass was draped with flags from about 15 nations. In Black Mountain, a group sang "Amazing Grace."

Motorists lined sidewalks and medians as the motorcade rolled through Charlotte and neared the Graham library, which was closed as mourners laid flowers and awaited arrival of the evangelist’s casket.

"He was so bold, he so boldly confessed the word of God," said Madeline Reid. "And I believe because of his service to humanity, that he’s truly gonna be great in the kingdom of heaven."

Ruby Sparks, 85, attended a Graham youth ministry meeting in 1951, when she was a college student in Greensboro, North Carolina, and met him in 1970.

"He was such a wonderful man of God, and a messenger of God," she said.

Asked if there would ever be another force like his, she replied: "I doubt it. Perhaps, in my next, in another lifetime. Not in my lifetime."

Leighton Ford, the evangelist’s brother-in-law, said he was thankful for the show of support and also a little sad.

"I think he’d say, ‘It’s not about me. It’s about the Lord,’" Ford said. "I remember at his last stadium meeting here in Charlotte, the mayor of Charlotte told us he was writing out the platform of Billy, and everybody was cheering, and Billy said, ‘Wait a minute. It’s not about us. It’s about Him.’"

Graham will be laid to rest at the foot of a cross-shaped walkway at the library in Charlotte, buried in a simple prison-made plywood coffin next to his wife, Ruth, who died in 2007. His coffin was built by inmates at the Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola, Louisiana, who typically construct caskets for fellow prisoners who cannot afford one.

The funeral will be held in a tent in the main parking lot of Graham’s library in tribute to the 1949 Los Angeles tent revivals that propelled him to international fame, family spokesman Mark DeMoss said. About 2,000 people are expected at the private, invitation-only funeral.


Associated Press writers Elliot Spagat in San Diego and Tom Foreman Jr. in Charlotte contributed to this report.

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Hurricanes Recall Wallmark from Charlotte

RALEIGH, NC – Ron Francis, Executive Vice President and General Manager of the National Hockey League’s Carolina Hurricanes, today announced that the team has recalled forward Lucas Wallmark from the American Hockey League’s (AHL) Charlotte Checkers.

Wallmark, 22, has played in four games with Carolina this season and scored his first career NHL goal against St. Louis on Dec. 30. The Umea, Sweden, native has recorded three points (1g, 2a) in 12 NHL career games with the Hurricanes. Selected by the Hurricanes in the fourth round, 97th overall, at the 2014 NHL Draft, Wallmark (6’0″, 176 lbs.) ranks second among Charlotte skaters in assists (23) and fourth in points (36) in 34 AHL games this season. He has totaled 82 points (37g, 45a) in 101 career AHL games.

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Students Donating Over 400 Stuffed Animals to NC Children’s Hospitals

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Students from York Comprehensive High School’s student council spent Sunday afternoon preparing over 440 stuffed animals to deliver to children at three Charlotte-area hospitals for Valentine’s Day.

School officials say it’s all part of a two-month project to provide comfort to children in need of an extra boost.

Over 80 students and community members gathered at Carolina Place’s Build-A-Bear to make over 440 stuffed animals.

The students will deliver the stuffed bears to Levine Children’s Hospital, Novant Heath’s Hemby Children’s Hospital and Ronald McDonald House.

Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte “provides a safe, affordable and caring ‘home-away-from-home’ for the families of children receiving treatment in Charlotte-area medical facilities,” according to their website.

The stuffed animals will be delivered to the Ronald McDonald House on Wednesday just in time for Valentine’s Day.

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© 2018 WCNC.COM

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NC Home Sellers Saw This Much In Profit At End Of 2017: Report

The average profit people made on home sales in the final quarter of 2017 reached a more than 10-year high, according to a new report published Thursday. In North Carolina, the average profit people made on home sales in the final quarter of 2017 was $22,500, or a 14 percent gain.

According to ATTOM Data, the average profit home sellers made in the final quarter of 2017 was $54,000, which represented an average 29.7 percent return on investment compared to the original purchase price. That represents an increase from a 28.8 percent ROI in the previous quarter and an increase from a 26.8 percent ROI over a one year period.

Among the top five metropolitan areas with the highest average home seller ROI in the last quarter of 2017, four were in California. According to ATTOM, those areas are:

San Jose, California (90.1 percent ROI)
San Francisco, California (73.3 percent ROI)
Merced, California (64.6 percent ROI)
Seattle, Washington (64.4 percent ROI)
Santa Cruz, California (59.8 percent ROI)

Here’s what the average seller gains were in North Carolina metropolitan areas:


Raleigh, NC — $46,000 Durham-Chapel Hill, NC — $40,000 Charlotte-Concord-Gastonia, NC-SC — $36,000 Winston-Salem, NC — $10,500 Greensboro-High Point, NC — $5,000

The median home price in 2017 also reached a new all-time high, according to ATTOM. In 2017, the U.S. median home price was $235,000. In North Carolina, the median home sale price was $185,000, an increase of 6 percent compared to the previous year.

ATTOM collects data from recorded sales deeds, foreclosure filings and loan data. Median sales price is calculated based on the publicly recorded sales deed when available.

Photo via Pixabay

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