Unfortunately, the Lake Norman real estate market’s relatively weak late fall 2013 and January 2014 sales appear not to have been a fluke. We can blame it on the weather and the tightened mortgage requirements like the national pundits are doing. But we can’t blame it on a lack of inventory like parts of the US. Last month I emphasized that Lake Norman real estate sales “almost matched last year’s“. I am not sure, with double digit declines in February, that this description is still valid. Our overall home sales slowdown in Lake Norman is baffling enough but the biggest question I have right now is where in the heck did our waterfront and higher-end buyers go? And, is the impressive return of new construction a factor in our lower MLS numbers since many of these sales are not listed?
Let’s take a look at the February 2014 numbers from our Charlotte Multiple Listing Service for our Lake Norman Area 13 real estate market:
* All date is from the Charlotte Regional Multiple Listing Service
Some significant additional statistics for you:
- “Distressed sales” (Foreclosures (REOS), defaults, Short Sales) represented only 5.7% of Lake Norman’s total home sales which is down from from last month’s 13.6% and significanly lower than last January’s 29%. We only had 4 distressed home sales in February. The average price for distressed single family home sales was $359.875. Distressed active listings comprise only 2.7% of our total inventory of Lake Norman homes sale. Clearly distressed sales no longer play a significant role in our Lake Norman real estate market and this is very good news!
- Only 20% of our closed sales were waterfront homes which is down from 30.3% last month and well below our norm. The average sales price of Lake Norman waterfront homes in February was $805,203 which was about equal to last month’s. Our highest recent waterfront sales were last July’s $874,988 and June’s $990,693. In February our closed luxury housing sales were negligable. Our average price per square foot was $227.23 which was actually up from last month’s $219 and almost matched our peak of $229 last summer. Lake Norman’s waterfront home sales above $700,000 remain sluggish but the homes that are selling are getting relatively strong offers based upon their size.
- 9 new construction homes closed in February but I believe this does not reflect an acccurate picture of new home sales since so many are custom or are purchased directly from the builders and therefore never enter the MLS. (In fact, this segment of the market may be skewing our Lake Norman home sales numbers quite a bit). The average listing price vs sales price of new construction single family homes, bounced back up to 101%! Clearly there isn’t a lot if ANY wiggle room on prices of new homes. We currently have 39 new construction homes under contract in the MLS. The average sales price in February was up, logging in at $460,800. With 132 new construction active listings Lake Norman actually has a 14.7 months supply of new homes listed in the MLS.
- 51.4% of Lake Norman’s February home sales were under $400,000.
- 68.6 % of the entire Lake Norman home sales in February were under $500,000. Clearly our lower price ranges are still dominating our housing market.
- Our “Under Contract Show” AND “Under Contract No show”/Pending sales combined total of 187 is about equal to last month’s. At 187, Lake Norman has 26.6% FEWER homes under contract compared to last year’s 255 at this exact date. This is the number that truly scares me for our short term market. I can’t see how we will get close to the 2013 sales numbers for at least the next few months. Good properties are selling, but buyers seem willing to wait for their perfect home since there so few “bargains” enticing them to jump off the fence.
A closer look at the chart: