Lake Norman photos

Lake Norman Real Estate’s January 2010 Wallpaper Calendar is Here!

Lake Norman Real Estate's Jan2010 Wallpaper Calendar Preview

Wow, not only is it time for the Lake Norman Real Estate’s new monthly wallpaper calendar, it is also the start of a new year!

This past December brought the greater Lake Norman area as well as much of the country an early dose of winter.  While some winters Lake Norman has hardly a dusting of snow, several weeks ago we got about 4″ in Mooresville and a great deal more up in our mountains.  Not that I am complaining. Living most of my life in California, I still look at every snow fall as an exciting adventure much to the amusement of my clients and friends from the Northeast and Midwest! Continue reading

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Real Estate: New Years 2010’s Celebrations & Happenings

New Years Eve in Lake Norman NC 2010

 

Unlike my home town of Pasadena CA, Lake Norman and the greater Charlotte area don’t have one major New Years’ celebration.  Our public celebrations are, for the most part, found at local restaurants and entertainment venues spread throughout Lake Norman and Charlotte.  From 5-course dinners to rockin’ oldies bands, there truly is something for everyone.

The best sources for New Years Eve events in our Lake Norman area are LKNFun.com  and 704 Events.com which are websites devoted to entertainment and dining information in the greater Lake Norman area.   Here are a few headline events from 704 Events.com : Continue reading

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Lake Norman waterfront homes, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Real Estate: What kind of boat is this?

Helicoper on Lake Norman

 On our way to Cornelius one day in our trusty pontoon boat I happened to notice this peculiar looking boat!  Because Lake Norman is so large we have myriad types and sizes of boats from modest fishing dingys to jet skis to Cigarette boats.  Continue reading

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Just the facts about Lake Norman

Lake Norman Real Estate: Lake Norman Flooding “Not Likely”

Lake Norman Bridge support with water level marker

  Potential Lake Norman waterfront home buyers ask me frequently about the range of water levels on Lake Norman as well as the possibility of flooding.   The very best resource regarding Lake Norman water levels bar none is Duke Energy’s Check Lake Norman Water Levels website which Duke Energy updates daily.  On this site you can get the actual lake levels of all 11 lakes that are part of the Catawba River System as well as the “target”” Lake Norman water level for that day, the minimum , maximum, range and any lake message updates.  They also provide a schedule of flow releases and other related data.  (Note, the picture above is of a pier on Slanting Bridge which has the lake level markers on it.  You can see that when I took this photo we were just one foot below full pond.) Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Two-Week December Hot Sheet

This month may be one of the most significanat to date for gaining a clearer sense of direction for our future Lake Norman real estate market.  We know that November experienced stronger sales due in part to the expectation of the expiration of the first-time buyer tax credit.  If sales continue to show improvement this month, it may be an indication that the bargains are drawing more and more buyers into the Lake Norman housing market.

One interesting thing I have observed is that many banks want properties off their books by the end of the year.  I just has a short sale approved after months of waiting…but the stipulation was that we had to close by Dec. 30th.  This may also contribute to a relatively strong December.

Lake Norman Real Estate's December 2009 Hot Sheet Sm

Continue reading

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Real Estate: Holiday Happenings still abound!

 

Christmas at Birkdale Village in Huntersville

It is not too late to get out and enjoy some of the many special holiday activities in the Lake Norman and greater Charlotte area!  While I didn’t write this in time to tout my favorite:  The Davidson Christmas which was held last weekend, I was still able to find quite a few events, programs and fun from now through the rest of the year!

  • It’s a Wonderful Life”  Davidson College Community Players  @ the Armour Street Theatre in Davidson. 8pm Thursdays – Saturdays and 1:00pm Sundays.  704.892.7953
  • Charlotte Children’s Choir:  December 13th at 3pm.  Mooresville High School.  659 E Center Ave. Mooresville.  704.878.0743.  Iredell Concerts Website
  • You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown:  December 19th @ 11:00am, 1:30pm and 4:00pm.  No reservations needed.  Davidson College Community Players  @ the Armour Street Theatre in Davidson. 8pm Thursdays – Saturdays and 1:00pm Sundays.  704.892.7953
  • Downtown Mooresville Holiday Festivities:  December 18th at Historic Downtown Mooresville. Visits with Santa, horse-drawn carriage rides and live entertainment!
  • Christmas Wonderland of Lights (Through January 1): One million lights pepper tow miles of forest in Troutman!  A nativity scene, pony rides, petting zoo, a candy shop and visits from Santa!  $20 per car or $5 per person.  6pm – 10p.m.  Exit 42 of Ostwalt Amity Rd.  704.245.6446. Put on by Zootastic.
  • Davidson’s Holiday Farmer’s Market!  Saturday, Dec. 19th from 9am – noon.  Learn more at Davidson Farmers Market’s website
  • Hanukkah Party in Mooresville: Dec. 13th Noon – 3pm.  Lighting of the Beth ShalomMenorah at Mooresville Town Square.
  • Holiday Lights at The Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden:  Events include light displays, old fashioned trains, carriage rides, holiday carols, baked treats and more!   Now through December 31st.  Go to the Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden website  for more information.
  • The Light Before Christmas: An animated film about for children at Discovery Place’s IMAX theatre in Charlotte: Discovery Place website
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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s November 2009 Sales Analysis

Once again, we had a month of a plethora of real estate and economic news which could be strategically used to support a positive or negative evaluation of our present and future real estate market.  Many economists have declared that our recession is officially over but to expect a rather slow recovery.  At the same time the National Association of Realtors reports a record 9 straight months of pending home sales increases and are adjusting their estimated 2009 home sales upward slightly.  There have even been some positive signs in the new construction real estate sector.

However, on the negative news side, there still exists the concerns about the “shadow” inventory expected to come on the market next spring and a second round of foreclosures brought on by Option ARMS and Alt-A loans that are resetting over the next 18 months.  Some are saying that this second wave of foreclosures, which for the most part are not subprime, will hit the mid-range and luxury home markets because these are loans that the middle class Americans got during the 2004-2007 time-frame.  And, getting new home loans, especially jumbo, are still extremely challenging and a tedious process at best.

Our conforming loan rates dipped back down to near record lows this month until the positive job numbers came out last Friday.  Mortgage rates immediately jumped back up into the +5% range.

How does this national news compare to our Lake Norman real estate market?  Let ‘s look at our November numbers:

Lake Norman’s November 2009 Housing Statistics

November 2009 Lake Norman Sales Analysis

 Active Listings continue to decline (4.0%).  As I have written many times, this is an important part of our Lake Norman housing recovery.  Again, note the average price of our active listings when compared to the average price of our solds this past month. Our high-end market is still suffering however I am seeing some increased activity in part due to foreclosures and short sales.

  • Contingent Sales are down 33%  compared to the 15 in October.  These are the homes under contract that are contingent upon the buyer’s home selling
  • Conditional Sales dropped slightly compared to 60  in October.  This confirms that recent activity remains at about the same level as last month
  • Pending sales remained pretty stable compared to 87  in September and 85 in October.  While our closed sales have dropped significantly since last month, these strong pending numbers indicate that our sales in December should be higher than 2008.
  • The number of closed sales dropped 37%  compared to last month.  However, they were 24% higher than November of 2008.   I am now feeling pretty confident that our fourth quarter 2009 sales will be significantly stronger than last year’s record lows.

 5-Year Comparison of Lake Norman Home Sales By Month

20092008200720062005
January276987102105
February 40501059888
March 5571151153136
April6590120143152
May 6690152182157
June8782169227172
July90101147166191
August6276144180233
September 7882105135163
October786498117184
November57468488145
December6264132134
Totals:705901148917041873

* Please note that all of my numbers come from the Charlotte Region Multiple Listing Service and will not include sales that took place outside of our MLS.

**I have made an adjustment of  the totals reflecting the ACTUAL  sales  every month in 2009 and the totals in the prior calendar year.

Summary

What immediately stands out is that the past two months our Lake Norman sales of existing homes has been higher than the same months in 2008.  It is important to remember that these were the months in 2008 with the financial crisis hit our US economy.  While we are not going to equal the total number of sales of 2008 this year, if you look at our trends since January there is an obvious trend of improving home sales, especially in our 4th quarter.

However, if you compare our 2009 monthly sales to 2007 we are still coming up significantly short every month through November.  It will be very interesting to see how our December sales play out given the number of pending sales.  We might actually meet our December 20o8 AND 2007 numbers.

Based upon our November sales we currently have 23.4 months of active listings which increased from 17 months in October and is 4 times the 6-month levels of a balanced housing market.

There was a wonderful article by Bernice Ross on 12/03/09 in Inman News which listed 5 factors that will impact 2010 home prices:

  • “Markets aren’t just local, they’re “hyperlocal….To determine what will happen in your local market, you must consider the “hyperlocal” or “micro” market conditions.”
  • “Months of inventory on the market are the best predictor of price changes…During the 30-plus years I have been in the business, I have found the amount of inventory in a given location and price range to be the best predictor of what prices will do several months from now.”  Yes!  As I have been saying every month, the real issue is how much inventory is on the market in our local Lake Norman market.  Considering we are at about 4 times the levels of a balanced market, Lake Norman will still experience price reductions until these numbers improve.
  • “Extension of the first-time buyer and addition of the resale buyer’s tax “
  • “Demographics bode well for increased sales activity”  She points out the timing for Generation Y and Baby Boomers as a plus for home sales.
  • “The real issue: cost of ownership, not sales price…This is a huge wild card for a variety of reasons.  If interest rates increase from 5 to 7 percent, or even from 5 to 6 percent, the impact on monthly payments would take would-be buyers off the market.”
  • Bottom line: Watch for sales levels and the inventory in your local area.  If sales are increasing and inventory is decreasing, look for stabilization of prices first and then, eventually, an increase in sales.”

I would add one more to this list:  the potential tightening of underwriting standards by FHA and any other added challenges to our already very difficult home loan process.

Stay tuned for our December sales analysis, my year-end sales analysis and my 4th quarter sales analysis by price range which will come out in January!

Related Articles

Lake Norman, Our Inland Sea 

Lake Norman Relocation Resources 

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Waterfront Home Sales Analysis 2009

Lake Norman Waterfront Home

 A good portion of the properties I have been showing to my Lake Norman homebuyers recently have been waterfront homes on the east side of Lake Norman.  This is partially because recent foreclosures and short sales have made good waterfront properties more affordable for those who were previously unable to even consider a waterfront home.  It is also because Lake Norman waterfront homebuyers who have been sitting on the sidelines are jumping in when they see a true bargain with good water.

If you have been reading this blog for a while you will know that I am a bit of a data geek.  So, I decided that it would be valuable to take a look at the MLS statistics regarding our recent Lake Norman waterfront home sales when compared with past years.  This chart represents our waterfront home sales from January 1, 2009 to November 30, 2009:

Lake Norman Waterfront Home Sales 2009

  •  The total number of waterfront homes sold in 2009 is identical to the same period in 2008. 
  • The average sales price of a waterfront home dropped 14% versus 2008
  • The average price of a pending waterfront home sale is a whopping $1,770,900 and the conditional sales price average is $1,201,731!
  • The average days the home was listed increased 52% versus 2008
  • If we take an average of 14 sales per month, we have 33.6 months of supply of inventory of waterfront homes.  If we use the highest month of 18 sales we would still have 26 months of active waterfront listings.  This number is significantly higher than the accepted 6-8 months of inventory for a balanced housing market and is even higher than our overall months of supply of inventory for all of Lake Norman real estate.

Next, let’s look at our Lake Norman waterfront home sales over the past 5 years:

2005  = 478 @ $213.5 dollars per square foot

2006  = 377 @ $244 dollars per square foot

2007 = 307 @ $270 dollars per square foot

2008 = 165  @ 269 dollars per square foot

2009 = 154 + December or about 166 – 175 (based upon the number of pending and conditional sales we have right now) $214.4 dollars per square foot. 

Since 2005 our sales have dropped 65% in volume.  During this same period the average price of a waterfront home increased to a high of $270 in 2007 and dropped significantly this year back to the prices of 2005.

25 out of our 33 most recent sales (since October 1) were under $1 million. And, 24 of these sales were on the east side of Lake Norman in Mooresville and Cornelius.  There were only 3 sales in Denver and 6 in Sherrills Ford.  There were NO sales in area 13/1 which is all of the east side of Lake Norman north of Highway 150.

In summary, our 2009 waterfront homes sales are about equal to last year but the prices per square foot have dropped back to 2005 values.  We still have at least 4 times as many active waterfront home listings as a balanced market.  For the most part, our sales right now are “bargains”.  However, the high prices of the pending and conditional sales indicate that the higher end luxury homes may be starting to move.

For the sake of those of you who might be out looking, it is important to note  that there are really two types of waterfront listings right now:  The first is the group of homes that have been sitting on the market for over a year and have been reduced to bargain prices due to foreclosures, short sales and sellers who understand our current market.  There is also a large percentage of homes that are still over priced for our current market and the sellers are not as motivated to reduce their prices.  You might see a home in the $900,000s that is not dissimilar from a home in the $700,000s.  The only difference is that the higher priced home may be a seller that is comfortable waiting to get their price.

My best advice is to know the comparable sales and whether the seller’s motivation for selling.  There are some great waterfront homes starting as low as the $600,000s!

Related Articles

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman Part 4

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

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Lake Norman photos

Lake Norman Real Estate’s December 2009 Calendar is Here!

Lake Norman Real Estate's Dec09Wallpaper Calendar Preview

 December is upon us here in Lake Norman and with it comes crisp clear “Carolina Blue” skies, cool temperatures (It got down to 38 degrees this morning but warmed up to 62 degrees this afternoon) and the return of “seasonal waterviews”.  With the trees now bare those of us whose Lake Norman homes have “seasonal waterviews” have seen our views transformed from thick and beautiful trees to expansive views of Lake Norman!

For this month’s calendar I chose this photo of our North Carolina bird the Cardinal because of its naturally beautiful red feathers.  Perfect for this holiday season!

To make your desktop calendar, go to the round button at the top of this site’s home page entitled: “Lake Norman Calendar”.  Click on this button and up will come an image of my Lake Norman photo wallpaper calender for December 2009.  All you have to do is right click and select “set as background”.

Enjoy and best wishes for the holidays!

 

While I have great fun taking pictures of Lake Norman, I would love to use one of your favorite photos depicting life here in Lake Norman!. If you’d like to submit a photo for a future calendar, please send it to…

Articles of Interest

Lake Norman Real Estate:  What are “Seasonal” waterviews?

Lake Norman NC has Snow Skiing too!

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Charlotte’s 62nd Annual Carolinas’ Thanksgiving Day Parade is HUGE!

 Charlotte's Thanksgiving Day Parade

 Coming from Pasadena CA, home of the Rose Parade, you would think I might know that Charlotte has been hosting the fourth largest Thanksgiving Day Parade in the US since 1947.  I truly don’t know how this exciting annual gathering of both Carolinas that is said to touch up to half a million people from 22 county metro areas escaped my radar screen!

So, if you are looking for a great way to spend  this Thanksgiving, I would highly recommend that you head to Uptown Charlotte by 10:00am this Thursday, November 26, 2009.

To learn more about the line-up for the parade and the event sponsors and details, go to: Charlotte’s 2009 Thanksgiving Day Parade or Charlotte’s got a lot.  You can even see the parade route.  They have promised that they will be “marching down Tryon Street rain or shine.

As part of the effort to “greening” the parade, organizers are encouraging folks to take the light rail rather than driving uptown. (Of course, those of us in the Lake Norman area don’t have this option….yet).

Best wishes to you all and I hope everyone of you has a very Happy Thanksgiving!

dianeasig3

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Catawba Valley Pottery Holiday 2009 Kiln Sales are coming!

Steve Abee beside his ground-hog kiln

One of my first exciting discoveries after moving to Lake Norman in 2005 was the extraordinary pottery; first in Seagrove and then in Catawba Valley.  Whether you are an avid collector as I am or just curious, these next four weeks are an exciting opportunity to buy from the most coveted Catawba Valley potters at their holiday kiln sales.

Besides the adherence to historical methods and traditions, Catawba Valley pottery is also unique in that in order to buy from the most popular of the potters you must attend their individual kiln sales held at their homes scattered from Vale to Lenoir.  If you have never attended a kiln sale, I truly encourage you to do so this month.  If you see me, be sure to say hi!

Here is a summary of the scheduled kiln sales.  As always, you can go to Steve Abee’s CV Pottery  website for more information and directions:  Continue reading

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lake norman real estate

Lake Norman Real Estate: How YOU can search for “distressed” Lake Norman Homes for Sale

 

Lake Norman Home Foreclosure

 Unfortunately, Short Sales and Foreclosures are where the action is right now in Lake Norman home sales.  Recently, our Charlotte Multiple Listing Service added a new search field for Realtor members which enables us to search for properties that are in “distress”.  However, at this time our MLS is not providing this same capability to the public.  If you are using my property search program or any other you will not be able to specifically search for short sales or foreclosures.

I contacted the company that provides my home search program  and got them to send me a link that will allow you to search for “possible distressed properties”.  What they have done is create a program that searches the “remarks” that the listing agent inputs regarding the listing for any words that might be flagged to indicate a seller is in distress.  It seeks out words like short sale, foreclosure or auction.

I am not yet able to put this search option permanently on my website but if you bookmark this page you can use this link:  http://lknrealty.localhomesearch.net/idx/distress.  Then put a check by “Search for possible distressed sales” and then add your additional search parameters.

Let me know if you find this helpful!  As soon as our MLS allows it, I will provide you with the ability to search for short sales, foreclosures and auctions.

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Lake Norman photos

Lake Norman Real Estate: Sunrise Photos on Lake Norman

Lake Norman Sunrise in the fall 2009

 

The weather has been perfect ever since the heavy rain and winds left our Lake Norman area late last week.  This morning I looked out to see a beautiful sunrise so I decided to grab my camera and try to capture it for my blog readers.

Like many Lake Norman sunrises, the water was absolutely still creating a visual mirror image of everything in view.  There was a mystical layer of fog hovering  just above the surface.  It was hard to believe that some miles away it was a typical Monday morning with the I-77  filling up with commuters.  This is why so many of us love living on Lake Norman.

 

Lake Norman Sunrise

 

We write a lot about the gorgeous sunsets here on Lake Norman, and for good reason, they can be spectacular.  I have a wonderful waterfront listing that faces due West.  This is what my sellers get to enjoy every evening:

Lake Norman Sunset from 431 Big Indian Loop's shoreline

 But, don’t ever underestimate the beauty of a sunrise when considering a waterfront home. Whether a sunset or a sunrise, the beauty that surrounds life in Lake Norman never ceases to amaze those of us who are lucky enough to live here!

Learn More About Life in Lake Norman:

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman, Part 1

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lake norman real estate

Lake Norman Real Estate: What do recent housing sales at The Point tell us?

Waterfront Home at The Point on Lake Norman

  The Point  in Mooresville NC is arguably the most prestigious luxury community in all of Lake Norman and it is also the largest with 18 miles of beautiful Lake Norman’s shoreline.  So, when I see interesting changes in housing numbers in The Point I try to put them in context to see if they are in fact an indicator of a significant shift or trend.

Back on September 18, 2008 I wrote:  The Point in Lake Norman: A Case Study #2.  In this report I noted that we had 123 active listings which translated at the time to a whopping 41-month supply of inventory!  Then, in: Lake Norman Real Estate: Affordable Housing at The Point…Wow! on July 25, 2009 I noted that we had 114 active listings and had sold on 19 homes since the beginning of the year or a 38-month supply of active listings.

Today, the number of active listings in The Point has dropped to 82 or 33% below a year ago September.  In today’s buyers’ market this number alone is good news.  But, it gets even more interesting when you look at the recent sales numbers.  In this past October we had 9 closed sales in The Point which is a significant jump from any month for several years.  This makes for a total of 36 sales year-to-date in 2009 in The Point.  But, as of July 25, 2009 we only had 19 sales so we have almost doubled our sales for the year in The Point in the past 4 months.  At 36 sales we have already surpassed the 2008 sales total for the year of 33.  And, we have 7 pending sales and 5 conditional sales that will most likely close by the end of 2009 for a potential total annual sales of 48 almost half of which will have been in this winter 4th quarter.  If we average 5 sales per month we would have dropped to about a 16-month supply of active listings. While still high, this number is less than half of the 41 months we had in September of 2008.

What does such a strong fourth quarter mean?

While it is still clearly a buyer’s market in The Point, I think these numbers are significant enough to indicate a positive trend.  Inventory is dropping and sales are increasing.  While half of the inventory and sales are homes priced under $1 million, there are FOUR homes priced well over $1 million currently under contract and poised to close.  It would seem that some of our luxury home buyers are jumping off of the fence, enticed by some great price reductions and perhaps a sense that now is a good time to buy.

One example of an incredible bargain is a waterfront lot foreclosure that closed this past week in The Point for $400,000.  This lot sold for about half the market value.  It has very good water and views and is about an acre of a flat to gently sloping lot…just what most home buyers and builders are seeking.  At our peak this lot was probably worth over $1 million.

Here are some interesting statistics related to homes at The Point: 

Active Listings:

  •  82 today  (months of supply = 9.8 if use the past 30 days or 16.5 if use last 3 months)
  • 114 in July of  this year  (months of supply = 38)
  • 123 in September of 2008 (months of supply = 41)
  • Peak of about 140

Pending Sales:  7

Conditional Sales: 5

Contingent Sales: 2

Solds:

  • Since October 1, 2009:      9  (25 % of this year’s sales were in October!) 
  • Past 3 month or since 8/11/09:      14
  • Same 3-month period in 2008:     7
  • Same 3-month period in 2007:     14 
  • Year-to-date 2009:      36
  • All of 2008:      33
  • All of 2007:      76

Price ranges of homes currently on the market:

  • $500,000:   5
  • $600,000:   9
  • $700,000:  6
  • $800,000:  15
  • $900,000:  4

Contingent Sales:

  • $699,000
  • $2,199,000

Conditional Sales:

  • $749,000
  • $899,000
  • $1,495,000
  • $2,750,000
  • $3,950,000

Pending Sales:

  • $578,500
  • $695,000
  • $749,900
  • $779,500
  • $1,599,000
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Historic Downtown Mooresville, Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Real Estate: Mooresville’s Annual Christmas Parade is November 24, 2009!

Mooresvillle's Christmas Parade

 Mark your calendars!  Mooresville’s annual Christmas parade, as always, is held the Tuesday BEFORE Thanksgiving so mark your calendars for November 24th at 3:30pm.

This truly is a small-town parade where the floats are homemade and the crowds along the route are friends and family.  While riding on a float several years ago I waved at friends, neighbors, folks gathered on their front porches or small businesses and lots of small children!  It was such fun to see so many of our local Mooresville and Lake Norman residents.

The route of the parade starts on North Main Street in Historic Downtown Mooresville and makes it’s way through downtown ending just beyond.  Bring lawn chairs, blankets, family and friends to this downtown happening!

If you are interested in entering the parade (it may be too late but try) or have questions, call 704.662.8210.

To find out about all of the upcoming North Carolina Festivals and Fairs check out:  Charlotte’s Got a Lot!

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s October 2009 Home Sales Update

Wow, what a month this  has been for not only Lake Norman real estate but our national real estate market!

Hot of the press, of course, is the big news that President Obama signed into law yesterday the newly revised and extended Homebuyer Tax Credit!  Not only does this legislation extend the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit to April 30, 2010, it also adds an exciting new provision.  As of yesterday and through April 30, 2010, homeowners who have lived in their primary residence for 5 consecutive years out of the previous 8 years will be eligible for a tax credit of up to $6500 if they sell this home and have a new written purchase contract by April 30, 2010 and closing no later than July 1, 2010. This is expected to be a big boost to home sales throughout the country.

Other good news came from the Federal Reserve this week.  They will keep the target rate for federal funds at zero to .25% and “continues to expect that economic conditions are likely to warrant exceptionally low levels of the federal funds rate for an extended period”.

At the same time the National Association of Realtors report a record 8 straight months of pending home sales increases.

However, on the negative news side, there has been much discussion about the “shadow” inventory expected to come on the market next spring and a second round of foreclosures brought on by Option ARMS and Alt-A loans that are resetting over the next 18 months.  Some are saying that this second wave of foreclosures, which for the most part are not subprime, will hit the mid-range and luxury home markets because these are loans that the middle class Americans got during the 2004-2007 time-frame.  And, getting new home loans, especially jumbo, are still extremely challenging and a tedious process at best.

It is truly impossible to find any consensus on the future of the US housing market.

However, by taking a look at our local numbers we can have a better understanding the current Lake Norman real estate market and home sales trends and glean potential mini-trends from these.  Below are our October real estate numbers for Lake Norman:

Lake Norman’s October 2009 Housing Statistics

Lake Norman Real Esate October 2009 Sales Analysis

  • Active Listings continue to decline (4.0%).  As I have written many times, this is an important part of our Lake Norman housing recovery.  Again, note the average price of our active listings when compared to the average price of our solds this past month. Our high-end market is still suffering however I am seeing some increased activity in part due to foreclosures and short sales.
  • Contingent Sales are down slightly compared to the 17 in September.  These are the homes under contract that are contingent upon the buyer’s home selling
  • Conditional Sales are up slightly compared to 58  in September.  This confirms that recent activity remains at about the same level as last month
  • Pending sales dropped slightly compared to 87  in September.  This would further confirm that we might expect November closed sales to be about equal to October and September which would actually be a significant improvement over November 2008.
  • The number of closed sales was identical to last month and a whopping 22% higher than October 2008!   I am now feeling pretty confident that our fourth quarter 2009 sales will be significantly stronger than last years record lows.  While this is relatively good news, it is hard to predict past November at this point.

 5-Year Comparison of Lake Norman Home Sales By Month

20092008200720062005
January276987102105
February 40501059888
March 5571151153136
April6590120143152
May 6690152182157
June8782169227172
July90101147166191
August6276144180233
September 7882105135163
October786498117184
November468488145
December6264132134
Totals:648901148917041873

* Please note that all of my numbers come from the Charlotte Region Multiple Listing Service and will not include sales that took place outside of our MLS.

**I have made an adjustment of  the totals reflecting the ACTUAL  sales  every month in 2009 and the totals in the prior calendar year.

Summary

Overall it is my opinion that sales will definitely be stronger in our fourth quarter compared to last year.  Granted, we are up against some very weak sales but I like the trend!  Some of my buyers have jumped off the fence to take advantage of some incredible deals in all price ranges.

Based upon our October sales we currently have 17.7 months of active listings which is 3 times the 6-month levels of a balanced housing market however we are seeing this number improve slightly each month.  Yes, Lake Norman is clearly in a buyers’ market and probably will be for some time to come but we are heading in the right direction.

 Related Articles

Lake Norman, Our Inland Sea

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Business of the Week: Blip Lake Norman.com

Lake Norman Real Estate's business-of-the-week

BlipLake Norman.com

 How would you like to save money AND support our local Lake Norman businesses?  Well, thanks to Tim Ready, a local Lake Norman resident, it has never been so easy!

It all started when the Mooresville South Iredell Chamber of Commerce announced their “Buy Local” campaign in an effort to gain support for all of our locally owned and operated businesses during these challenging financial times.  When Tim learned about this campaign he told me “a light bulb went off”.  He did some research and launched BlipLakeNorman.com.

blip Lake Norman_header

 

The premise of BlipLakeNorman is simple:  Local businesses sign on to be a member, consumers like ourselves get a BLIP keytag (Like a grocery store tag) which are available at any of the businesses that are members.  Every time you go into a business that is a member of BlipLakeNorman you get a specific discount.  For Example (This is from their website as of today, November 2, 2009 and will most likely change so please go to BlipLakeNorman.com for the latest discounts!):

  •  Custom Creations By Tina
  • 30% OFF Arrangements
  • Primal Force
    Get the Gear You Need At A Great Price!
  • The Wine Loft
    $1 off any vodka drink , $5 House Wine – Menage a Trois, red & white, Wine Tastings, 1/2 Price Bottles of Wine, $5 Special Martinis
  • Barista Bob’s
    FREE Small Latte, 20% OFF Custom Gift Baskets, 10% OFF Coffee, Save on Party Packs, 15% OFF Fall and Signature Drinks
  • Clipper’s Flowers
    10% Discount
  • R. J. Gator’s
    2 For $20 Dinner Entrees, $8.99 All You Can Eat Wings, $19.99 All You Can Eat Crablegs
  • Pomodoro’s Italian American Cafe
    FREE Small Cheese Pizza
All businesses that participate in this program must be locally owned with less than 8 locations and at least one location in the Lake Norman “Blip Town” area.  (See their website for more details and requirements).

Why buy Local?  Here is a great list of reasons provided by BlipLakeNorman:

  • Keep money in our community
  • Support community groups
  • Keep our community unique
  • Reduce environmental impact
  • Create more good jobs
  • Get better service
  • Invest in our community
  • Put your taxes to good use
  • Buy what you want, not what someone wants you to buy
  • Encourage local prosperity

A list of participating businesses is also available on their website.  So, go out and get that free dinner at R. J. Gators, that small latte at Barista Bobs or find out what Fishing with Gus has to offer!

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Lake Norman photos

Lake Norman Real Estate’s November 2009 Calendar is Here!

Lake Norman Real Estate's Nov09Wallpaper Calendar Preview

 Wow, tonight is Halloween and then November is here!  By the end of the month it will look like winter as most of our trees will be bare.  The month of November is a busy time in the garden between collecting all of the fallen leaves, the final planting of our winter annuals and bulbs and mulching.  Our Fescue lawns will remain green all winter but other than an occasional mowing we gardeners are left to peruse landscaping books thinking about what fun plants we can add in the spring.

Did I mention our Carolina Blue skies?  Here is a photo I took several days ago:

Fall in Lake Norman

 But I digress!

To make your desktop calendar, go to the round button at the top of this site’s home page entitled: “Lake Norman Calendar”.  Click on this button and up will come an image of my Lake Norman photo wallpaper calender for November 2009.  All you have to do is right click and select “set as background”.  Enjoy!

 

While I have great fun taking pictures of Lake Norman, I would love to use one of your favorite photos depicting life here in Lake Norman!. If you’d like to submit a photo for a future calendar, please send it to…

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate: Are Waterfront Homes a Bargain in 2009?

Lake Norman Waterfront Home

 Waterfront homes on Lake Norman NC are selling.  I know because I have been selling them.  That’s the good news.  Depending on your own perspective, the bad(?) news is that of the last three waterfront homes I have sold, two were distressed sales where the sellers lost money and one was a foreclosure.

In my opinion there are currently two categories of waterfront homes for sale:

  • Distressed sales such as short sales, pre-foreclosures, foreclosures and bargains where sellers are able to price at the current market or below
  • Over-priced listings where in sellers have negative equity or they simply aren’t motivated enough to lower their prices to sell in this market

After a  little research on the Charlotte MLS, I came up with some numbers of interest:

Lake Norman Waterfront 5-Year Sales Analysis

Lake Norman Waterfront Home Sales

Here are some critical numbers:

  • As of today, we currently have 27.8 months of supply of waterfront homes for sale which is almost 5 times the amount we should have in a balanced real estate market.
  • While the number of  waterfront homes sold the past three months increased by 22% when compared to the same period last year, our waterfront homes sales have plummeted by -65% from their high in 2005.  Still, it is important to see that waterfront home sales are improving.
  • The average sales price of a waterfront home increased until 2009.  Since the beginning of the year they have dropped -12%.
  • While our average sales price is about equal to 2006, the average dollars per square foot for a waterfront home is back to our 2005 prices after peaking in 2007.  The price per square foot has dropped 20% since their highs just one/two years ago.

The average price of a waterfront home currently for sale is $1,098,431 which figures out at $275 per square foot or 30% higher than the average sales price per square foot.  Granted, the very high-end homes do skew these numbers a bit but the trend is clear.  Bargains are selling and over-priced homes are sitting.

When I first calculated these numbers I was not surprised but none the less taken a back by how they supported my recent experiences to the T.  As a rule of thumb, I had found that prices were back to 2005 so when I pull tax records for my buyers or sellers and I see a purchase date more recent than 2005 I already know that there is a good chance the sellers have negative equity in their home.

While we read that much of the country’s housing markets are improving, my discussions with brokers and lenders throughout the country and my research indicate that Lake Norman home sales trends are about 10 months behind much of the country.

I can’t emphasize enough how important our levels of active listings are to our recovery.  In states like California, where the recession hit early and hard, they are experiencing multiple offers on their distressed/foreclosed properties and their months’ supply of for-sale inventory was 4.2 in September compared to our 18 months in Lake Norman over all. (And our 27.8 months of supply of waterfront homes).

This is a GREAT time to be shopping for waterfront homes.  (If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know that I don’t think I have said this once in the past two years). While a good portion of the homes are still overpriced, there are some incredible bargains popping up.  And, while these bargains are selling at a reasonable pace, we are not yet experiencing multiple offers so it is even possible to negotiate prices down on foreclosures!

In the next two reports I am going to analyze New Construction and Luxury Homes over $1million.  Stay tuned!

Learn More About Life in Lake Norman:

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman, Part 1

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Friday Hot Sheet 10/23/09

October 23, 2009 Lake Norman Hot Sheet

Lake Norman Real Estate's October 2009 Hotsheet

 Some would argue that an analysis of any two-week  period in our Lake Norman  real estate market is simply too short a time time frame to be meaningful.  However, I have found that these monthly two-week reports, especially when put in context with the past 5 months, can actually provide us with a good pulse on trends in the Lake Norman housing market.

Today’s report is another great example of this

The above chart is a summary of today’s “Hot Sheet” from the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service for single family homes in all of Lake Norman (area 13).  These numbers represent a real time snapshot of the past two week’s activity.  As always, I have included the past 5 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective.

Highlights:

New listings , while low compared to most months, they did increase slightly compared to last month.  We still have 1434 active listings in Lake Norman as of today which is about even with last month.  One of the most important components of our Lake Norman housing recovery is a decline is inventory.  We are on track to sell about 70 properties in October which translates to about 20 months of supply or almost 4 times the inventory for a balanced housing market.

The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, dropped significantly!  Despite the challenges of the current loan market, it looks as if Realtors and buyers are working better with the banks and perhaps buyers are more motivated to buy because they are purchasing a foreclosure or short sale.

The number of price changes also dropped significantly.   This is a bit surprising considering that prices are dropping around Lake Norman. We will have to watch this trend.

Pending home sales are significantly lower.  Since these are an indicator of future closed sales I predict our October sales will be about the same as September.

The number of closed sales in the past two weeks are back up when compared to last month but still below our summer highs.  

Contingent and Conditional sales remain steady.  Since these are properties that just went under contract, these may translate to a stronger November than last year.

What I have been observing lately with my own buyers is an increased willingness to consider buying this fall or winter rather than waiting for the “bottom” of the market.  This is because they are seeing true “bargains” and understanding that there are some great opportunities to get into a home they could not have afforded several years ago.  In the past two weeks I have negotiated a Lease/Purchase, two short sales and am working on a foreclosure.  This is the reality of our Lake Norman housing market right now.

 Learn More About Life in Lake Norman:

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman, Part 1

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Area Halloween Happenings 2009!

 Pumpkin Field in Lake Norman Area

 For information on Lake Norman Halloween 2011 please go to:  Lake Norman Halloween Happenings 2011

Every year at this time the Lake Norman area comes alive with pumpkin patches, Halloween festivities for all ages and homes decorated to welcome all of our young trick -or -treaters.

If you are in search of a pumpkin patch or Halloween festivities in and around our Mooresville and Lake Norman area,  here are a few ideas:

  • Carrigan Farms: Open 9-5 weekdays, 9-4 Saturday and 12-4 Sundays through Halloween. Pick a pumpkin, visit the animals and have some fresh apple cider. There are even hayrides every 15 minutes and special old-fashioned night time hay rides too! 1261 Oak Ridge Farm Highway/N.C.150, Mooresville.
  • Patterson Farm: Pumpkin patch is open with tours through Nov. 6th and on weekends don’t miss Paw Paw Carl’s Palyground where you can enjoy hayrides, a corn pit, Tomato Slingshot, Duck Races and more!  See their website for more details.
  • Sixth Annual Boy Scout Pumpkin Patch: Pumpkins and gourds of all shapes and sizes. 17115 Kenton Drive, Cornelius
  • The Great Pumpkin Patch for Missions: Pumpkins, decorative corn, gourds and more! Davidson United Methodist Church: 233 S. Main Street. Davidson.

Or, just look to any of our many local produce stands like Josh’s Produce Market on Williamson Road who are brimming over with pumpkins and decorations for your Lake Norman home!

Of course, it would not be Halloween without some fun, and even spooky events for all ages.

The Amazing Maize Maze in Huntersville NC

  • The Amazing Maize Maze at Rural Hill In Huntersville  is going green this year!  Open now through November1st, they have daily hours plus they are open for “Flashlight Mazes” on October 23rd and 31st!  My daughter and I went several years ago and had a great time but do wear comfortable shoes and allow enough time and energy to discover all of the clues to make it through the maze successfully! If you need help, the have volunteers perched high on watch towers there to give you some hints.
  • t1 tapas in Birkdale Village is hosting The Spooktacular Halloween Bash to benefit Loaves & Fish on Friday, October 23rd,  Tickets are $35 in advance or $45 at the door.  Call 704.895.4373 for detail.  They are also having  a “Trick or Treat Weekend Oct 30 – 31st.  Come and enjoy all the amazing new multi-media and enjoy Halloween cuisine and “wicked drink specials”.
  • Downtown Mooresville Annual Halloween Treat for Families: 3-5pm  Oct. 30. Downtown will be crawling with little ghosts and goblins as businesses hand out candy and treats. 3 – 5 pm Pumpkin Carving Contest, photographs of children in costumes and trick or treating for kids.
  • Downtown Davidson’s Halloween March on Main Steet in Davidson 5-7pm. Free. Costumed characters of all ages are invited to march!
  • Howl-O-Ween Bash: Join Pet PALS for their first ever Howl-O-Ween bash at the new hit nightclub, Halo at the NC Music Factory.
    Enjoy appetizers, drink specials and dancing all to support the Humane Society of Charlotte. While costumes aren’t required, they are encourged. We hope you can come out for a howling good time! Halo 820 Hamilton St Suite A2 Charlotte, NC 28206  704-246-1752 .

 

Lake Norman Can Get Spooky on Halloween!

 

Looking for something REALLY SPOOKY? So SPOOKY that they do not recommend it for children 12 and under? Check out Forbidden Farms!:

Forbidden Farms

“Forbidden Farms is celebrating the 2009 season with a nightmarish collection of 5 enhanced and electrifying scare zones.

Will you escape the hordes of ghouls, monsters, maniacs and the tormented????

Can you survive the total chaos and terror of spine-tingling, blood-curdling moments in all 5 scare zones?????

Come gather around the bonfires, at the well-known Carrigan Farms Rock Quarry, before or after you enter the haunted trail!

Visit us on Facebook, become a Fan and receive special discounts and coupons.”

Have a GREAT Lake Norman Halloween!!!

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Lake Norman Real Estate Celebrates Blog Action Day 2009!

Lake Norman Real Estate Celebrates Blog Action Day 2009

 

“Blog Action Day  is an annual event that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day on their own blogs with the aim of sparking discussion around an issue of global importance. Blog Action Day 2009 will be the largest-ever social change event on the web. One day. One issue. Thousands of voices.”

Lake Norman Real Estatehas been participating in Blog Action Day since it’s initial launch on October 15, 2007.  According to their most recent email, 7108 blogs are participating in over 136 countries with an expectation of 11,214,552 readers today, Oct. 15th!

Climate Change + Lake Norman “Green” Homes

While climate change may conjur up images of melting icebergs, floods and droughts, if we focus on reducing emissions and renewable energy it is quite important and proper to write about “green” homes and the exciting trends in “high performance” homes that are cropping up in and around our Lake Norman communities.

As a Certified Green Professional, EcoBroker and Green Realtor I have been a member of the Lake Norman Home Builders Association’s Green Building Council for over a year and I am witnessing on a weekly basis the growth and emphasis on using eco-friendly building materials and environmentally-conscious techniques in home building.  With over 50 members, our Lake Norman Green Building Council is comprised of builders, contractors, energy auditors, and suppliers of green building products and services ranging from insulation to formaldehyde-free cabinetry and flooring to environmentally friendly landscaping.

In an article in the Lake Norman Business Magazine:  “Green Goes Mainstream” Gail Minter made a great statement:  “Green building – using eco-friendly building materials and environmentally-conscious techniques–has moved from being an oddity into the mainstream.”   I am convinced that once our recession is over and home-builders begin building again, there will be a significant change in the design and components of new homes in Lake Norman just as there will be around the country.  We will see an increased emphasis on green technology, sustainability and factors that affect a home from the planning stages through completion including:

  • Site selection (placement on lot to take advantage of passive solar energy, minimize storm water run off, maximize use of  natural light, protection/minimal disruption of the natural habitat)
  • Use of recycled or re-used material include old wood, bricks and glass
  • Use of sustainable-harvested or rapidly renewable wood products
  • Use of materials and products that are made locally or as close as possible to minimize energy use related to shipping/the carbon footprint
  • Recycling of on-sight construction waste or minimizing waste through more efficient building practices
  • Use of insulation, design and fixtures and appliances to minimize heat loss and maximize energy efficiency
  • Increased use of alternative materials like cement, low-VOC paints, stains and glues to reduce chemical emissions

If you are interested in finding out more about green homes,  There is a great new book out:  Green From The Ground Up by David Johnston and Scott Gibson.

Or, go to Mother Nature Network to get their list of the 15 best carbon calculators   for individuals or households.

Finally, Fine Home Building has a great Payback Estimator for different types of insulation.

Honestly, this has been a bit of a rambling article.  The subject of “green” housing has become so broad and encompasses a large and diverse range of topics that I have just tried to wet your appetite and hope you will return to this blog for ongoing articles about Lake Norman’s green housing market.  It’s going to be exciting!

RELATED ARTICLES

Lake Norman Real Estate:  EPA Launches Indoor airPlus

 Lake Norman Real Estate:  How Green Is Your Home?

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Business of the Week:  Think Green Recycle 

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations

Lake Norman Real Estate: Important Local News and New Laws!

Lake Norman and North Carolina News

The Lake Norman and National real estate trends are not the only important news to report.  In fact, there are some new laws and regulations that will probably affect nearly all readers of this blog.  I have been making a stack for quite a while so here they are!

According to a Harris Interactive poll, North Carolina is the sixth most popular state when it comes to where people want to live.  “The most popular states and cities where large numbers of people would like to live tend to attract tourists and business.  They are places where people like to take vacations and where companies like to have their offices and factories” according to a Harris news release.  Great news!

Recycle Plastic Bottles in Lake Norman

 A new law went into effect on October 1, 2009 in North Carolina outlawing plastic bottles in landfills.  (Motor oil and pesticide containers are excluded).  This means that all residents in the Lake Norman area must recycle all plastic bottles whether or not we have curbside recycling.  While this law may be hard to enforce, the spirit of the law is what is important.  As a reminder:  The City of Statesville offers curbside recycling.  The Iredell County Solid Waste Department offers five locations for recycling.  We go to the one at the intersection of Hwy 150 and the 21.  For more information:  Iredell County Recycling Coordinator Diane Lewis: 704.928.2023.  See below of link to Think Green Recycling, a private company serving Lake Norman.

Mooresville and in fact all North Carolina town residents will now be required to install a separate water meter and pay the town a fee that could cost as much as $1800 when installing new lawn irrigation systems.  This law, effective July 1, 2009, is part of Drought Control Legislation enacted to help towns enforce water restrictions.

North Carolina No smoking ban

On January 2, 2010, the state of North Carolina will ban smoking in restaurants, bars and all enclosed public places!  As a non-smoker I am thrilled to see our state join the 24 other states that have similar smoking bans.  It is particularly impressive to me, in light of the fact that our state once relied on tobacco production as its primary economic driving force.  We have come a long way baby!

Lake Norman officers patrolling the lake are increasing the number of citations for a “little known but potentially life-threatening infraction: Allowing children and guests to dangle (their arms and legs)  from the bow of their boats” according to a recent article in the Mooresville Tribune. There have been several cases of people falling off of the boat and being injured when the boats run over them or even biting one’s tongue or lips when the bow of a boat hits a large wake.

North Carolina has added additional requirements to Home Inspection Reports as of October 1, 2009.  The “Summary” section of the inspection report MUST:

  • Describe any system or component of the home that does not function as intended, allowing for normal wear and tear that does not prevent the system or component from functioning as intended.
  • The summary page must also describe any system that appears not to function as intended, based upon documented tangible evidence, and that requires either substantial examination or further inspection by a specialist
  • The summary page MAY describe any system or component that poses a safety concern
  • The summary report must contain the following statement: “The Summary page is not the entire report.  The complete report may include additional information of interest or concern to you.  It is strongly recommended that you promptly read the complete report.”

Finally, the Lake Norman Fire Department is urging all homeowners to purchase a $35 sign for their docks with clearly displays the street address. This is because fire crews have had difficulty in the past finding a home from the lake.

Learn More About Life in Lake Norman:

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman, Part 1

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Business of the Week:  Think Green Recycling Company 

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s September 2009 Home Sales

If you have been following the national real estate business news this past month, these are just some of the comments/headlines you might have read:

“Credit shortage has strangled recovery; households are in bunkers under collapsed net worth, and not coming out until home values are safe.”  (Lou Barnes, Inman News) 

“The jumbo loan mod ‘pipe dream'”  (Bernice Ross Inman News) 

‘Mortgage Delinquencies – The Coming Storm….While subprime mortgages sparked the first round of housing problems two years ago, now troubles are lurking further up the food chain…White-collar job losses have accelerated while more adjustable-rate loans to prime borrowers are resetting to higher payments…” (Chief US Economist at MFR Inc. Joshua Shapiro) 

“Credit Woes to Threaten Housing Recovery?”  (Consumer New and Advice and RISMEDIA)

“Across the country, homebuilders and developers are reporting a deterioration in credit availability and intensifying pressure on borrowers with outstanding loans.”  (National Association of  Home Builders Chairman Joe Robson)

 At the same time the National Association of Realtors report a record 7 straight months of pending home sales increases.  It is truly impossible to find any consensus on the future of the US housing market.

However, by taking a look at our local numbers we can have a better understanding the current Lake Norman real estate market and home sales trends and glean potential mini-trends from these.

Lake Norman’s September Housing Statistics

Lake Norman Real Estate's September 2009 Sales Analysis

 Active Listings continue to decline (3.7%), this is a important part of our Lake Norman housing recovery.  Again, note the average price of our active listings when compared to the average price of our solds this past month. Our high-end market is still suffering in part due to the difficulty getting jumbo loans.

  • Contingent Sales are up slightly compared to the 14 in August.  These are the homes under contract that are contingent upon the buyer’s home selling
  • Conditional Sales are also up slightly compared to 54 in August.  This confirms that recent activity remains at about the same level as last month
  • Pending sales dropped slightly compared to 91 in August.  This would further confirm that we might expect October closed sales to be about equal to September.
  • The number of closed sales jumped 25% compared to August but dropped about 5% when compared to September 2008.  If we stay equal to 2008 winter sales we will experience a significant slow down.  The fact that October looks about equal to this past month indicates we might actually have stronger 4th quarter sales than 2008.  While this is relatively good news, it is hard to predict past October at this point.

 5-Year Comparison of Lake Norman Home Sales By Month

20092008200720062005
January276987102105
February 40501059888
March 5571151153136
April6590120143152
May 6690152182157
June8782169227172
July90101147166191
August6276144180233
September 7882105135163
October6698117184
November468488145
December6264132134
Totals:570901148917041873

* Please note that all of my numbers come from the Charlotte Region Multiple Listing Service and will not include sales that took place outside of our MLS.

**I have made an adjustment of  the totals reflecting the ACTUAL  sales  every month in 2009 and the totals in the prior calendar year.

Summary

Overall it is my opinion that sales may be a bit stronger in our fourth quarter compared to last year.  Granted, we are up against some very weak sales but it does appear we may experience some improvement.

One of the most important trends to watch right now are the prices ranges of Lake Norman homes that are selling.  Of the 78 homes that sold last month, only 20 were above $500,000.  First-time buyers are taking advantage of the $8,000 rebate and most other Lake Norman home buyers are gobbling up the foreclosures and other bargains that are now available.  Some foreclosures are priced as much as 50% of the price they sold in 2005 or their original listing price.

Based upon our September sales we currently have 18.5 months of active listings which is 3 times the 6-month levels of a balanced housing market.  We are still clearly in a buyers’ market.  It is so hard to predict what will happen if the $8,000 credit is not extended and the “shadow inventory” of potential foreclosures come to fruition.

In the next week or so I will do my 3rd quarter sales analysis by price range to provide greater insight into our Lake Norman real estate market.

Learn More About Life in Lake Norman:

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman, Part 1

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

The Lake Norman’s Folk Art Festival is this Saturday!

Lake Norman Folk Art Festival

 

One of my first exciting discoveries after moving to Mooresville was the wonderful array of art available, particularly from the Southeastern United States.  Southern Folk Art can be colorful, whimsical, dramatic and fun and can also be highly collectable.  If you haven’t had an opportunity to view the wonderful varity of  Southeastern Folk Art and meet some the our talented artists from all over the Southeast, then tomorrow is a perfect opportunity for you since Lake Norman is hosting the first annual Folk Art Festival at the Lake from 11-4pm.  As their flyer says:

Lake Norman Folk Art

 

Outsider art.

Outside the expected

Outside the city limits!

And, definitely outside, on October 3, 11-am – 4pm

 

Paintings, sculpture, pottery and metal works plus Food, Bluegrass music and demonstrations by the artists!

Participating artists include:

Tammy Leigh Pottery  ,Joe Lafone, Sarah Rakes, Mike Essinger, Jeff Young Pottery, Robert Oren Eades, Arie R. Taylor, Theresa Closter,  Gary Mitchell Pottery, Kessiah L Meroney, J & M Helton Pottery, Barbara Miller, Brooks Yeomans, Laura Craig McNellis, Harold Crowell, Michael Ball, Sara Britt, Patti Fenick, Clay James, Wanda Clark, Ray Searcy.

Check out a sample of their works: Here

Location: 4689 Giles Avenue, Sherrills Ford, NC 28673

This project was supported by the United Arts Council of Catawba County through the North Carolina Arts Council.

RELATED ARTICLES

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Business of the Week:  The Corners of Art and Main

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Business of the Week:  Steve Abee Pottery

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Lake Norman photos

Lake Norman Real Estate’s October Calendar is Here!

 Lake Norman Real Estate's Oct 09 WallpaperCalendar

October is truly one of my favorite months on Lake Norman.  The skies are crisp and clear, the temperatures mild (today’s high is 75) and the Lake Norman shoreline becomes ablaze with color.  Our trees are just beginning to change but over the next four weeks the Dogwoods will turn a deep red, then the Maples and other trees follow, each with their own spectacular series of colors.

To make this your desktop calendar, go to the round button at the top of this site’s home page entitled: “Lake Norman Calendar”.  Click on this button and up will come an image of my Lake Norman photo wallpaper calender for September 2009.  All you have to do is right click and select “set as background”.  Enjoy!

While I have great fun taking pictures of Lake Norman, I would love to use one of your favorite photos depicting life here in Lake Norman!. If you’d like to submit a photo for a future calendar, please send it to…

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Lake Norman Real Estate: EPA Launches Indoor airPLUS to Increase Focus on Indoor Air Quality

EPA Indoor Air Plus logo

 Imagine what it would be like to have to breath through a straw.  That is how one of my clients’ daughters, who has severe asthma, describes how she feels when she is exposed to even the slightest bit of toxins in the air…including the ingredients in popular air fresheners and scented candles.  While I was recently showing her family some Lake Norman waterfront homes, she had two serious asthma attacks triggered by just that.  Each time it took her over a day to recover from just seconds of exposure to an air freshener or lingering cigarette smoke.

I must admit, despite my avid focus on “green” or “high performance” housing in Lake Norman  I don’t think I totally grasped the seriousness of indoor air quality until I met this family.  It is one thing to learn about the latest low or no VOC (Volatile Organic compounds) paint products and the amount of organic gases like Formaldehyde that are emitted from such solid and liquids as hardwood floors, cabinets, sealers, paints, pressed wood products…the list goes on and on.  It is quite another to watch this young woman gasping for air.

The good news is that indoor air quality is an important part of the “green” housing movement nationally and right here in Lake Norman.  So much so, that the US Environmental Protection Agency recently created Indoor airPLUS  which is designed to work in partnership with their more well known ENERGY STAR  program. Just as ENERGY STAR is an accreditation program for energy efficiency, Indoor airPLUS is a program designed to encourage home builders to “employ a variety of construction practices and technologies in their new homes to help address” such air quality issues as:

  • Moisture Control
  • Radon Control
  • Pest Management
  • HVAC
  • Ventilation and Filtration
  • Combustion Venting
  • Building Materials

At the Indoor airPLUS’s first outreach webinar they explained that 19% of US households have a member with Asthma, 40% of households have a member with a respiratory problem and that they have found that typical indoor air chemical pollution levels may be 2-5 times higher than what is considered “safe” levels.

Including these pollutants and sources of indoor air pollution:

  • Asbestos
  • Biological Pollutants
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Formaldehyde/Pressed Wood Products
  • Household Cleaning and Maintenance, Personal Care, or Hobbies
  • Lead
  • Nitrogen Dioxide
  • Pesticides
  • Radon
  • Respirable Particles
  • Secondhand Smoke/Environmental Tobacco Smoke
  • Stoves, Heaters, Fireplaces, and Chimneys

So, how does a home in our Lake Norman area earn the Indoor AirPlus label?  “A home must first be designed to earn the ENERGY STAR label, the government-backed symbol for energy efficiency.  By adding up to 30 additional home design and construction features, an Indoor airPLUS qualified home helps protects residents…” from indoor air pollution.  During the Lake Norman home-building process testers or “HERS” raters will visit the build site and verify the required construction specifications.  The Indoor airPLUS label will be placed on the electrical panel along with the ENERGY STAR label when it has passed the certification process.

Knowledgeable Lake Norman “green” home builders view ENERGY STAR ratings as the lowest/less stringent when compared to such “green” rating systems as North Carolina’s Healthy Built Homes, the National Association of Home Builders Green Home Building Guidelines and the very toughest LEED certified homes.  However, while ENERGY STAR and Indoor airPLUS may not be as comprehensive as these, I am excited to be an early Lake Norman supporter or “ally” of the new Indoor airPLUS program in hopes that it will lead to an increased focus on indoor air quality throughout the building industry and by consumers both here in the Lake Norman area and throughout the country. For more information  “The Inside Story: A Guide to Indoor Air Quality”.

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

A Lake Norman Real Estate Market Update for September 2009

Lake Norman Waterfront Luxury Home

The future of our Lake Norman Real Estate market may depend as much on government and financial regulations and the progress of the US economy as it does on our local economy.  Nationally, the housing market has been greatly impacted by new regulations that have made the ability to get home loans much more difficult.  Since we rely so much on relocation buyers, Lake Norman’s housing market gets hit twice, once with the difficulty of folks wanting to relocate here having problems selling their homes and once because our potential Lake Norman home buyers are having a hard time getting loans on purchases.  Here is a summary of some of the details related to our Lake Norman housing market:

The Home Valuation Code of Conduct rules employed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac since May 1, 2009 for home appraisers have had such a negative affect on the national housing market that the National Association of REALTORS, The Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Home Builders have united in an effort to get the federal government to “establish consistent appraisal rules for FHA and the GSEs” (Fannie and Freddie) and gain official clarification of these new appraisal rules”.

Is the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) in trouble?  Rumors have been flying about whether the FHA is running out of reserves due to mortgage losses.  According to a recent press release, the FHA “will tighten credit standards and implement new rules for appraisals on January 1, 2010”.  They went on to say “FHA’s insurance fund is sufficient to cover future losses, but the tighter policies will ensure that the loan guarantee remain self-sustaining….”  (David H. Stevens, FHA Commissioner).

The Federal Reserve will stretch out mortgage purchases according to their news release yesterday.  This means they will continue to purchase mortgage-backed securities that have helped keep mortgage rates low by extending the $1.25 trillion program’s sunset from the end of 2009 to March of 2010. Good news!

The First-Time Home Buyer $8000 rebate expires November 30th. There are some efforts to get this extended but they don’t seem to be getting traction.

A new bill was signed into law in North Carolina several weeks ago that is meant to stem the foreclosure rates.  The legislation requires a court clerk to determine whether a mortgage holder has been able to talk to their lender about working out a way to pay the loan and whether the lender has given the mortgage holder sufficient notice before trying to foreclose.    “This legislation allows time for loan modifications” according the NC Attorney General Roy Cooper.

From the trenches I can tell you that home loans and appraisals have been and continue to be a significant problem here in the Lake Norman housing market.  Lenders are now having to use third-party appraisal management companies to hire appraisers who in many cases are not experienced in the area of in which they are appraising properties.  Underwriters are taking second looks at the loan packages as late as the day of closing leading to days of delayed closings.  Most feel this is because the underwriters are afraid that the loan they approve many not be salable to mortgage purchasers like Fannie and Freddie.

Where is our Lake Norman real estate market today?  I just took a quick look at our September month-to-date numbers on our MLS.  With 39 closed sales so far this month, it looks like our September sales will be down from both last month and last year.  However, the pending and conditional home sales look a bit stronger so we may see a slight increase in closed sales in October.    Our inventory remains about the same as last month.   According to an article in the Charlotte Observer on September 10th the entire Charlotte area saw some positive signs.  However, Mecklenburg County “saw sales and prices down 12% ” and “Iredell’s average price decline of 17% was the biggest” of all of the counties. (Compared to 2008).

Where is the Lake Norman housing market heading?  Some of my savvy home buyers have jumped off the fence and are actively looking and buying.  This is because they feel there is a window of opportunity this fall.  With high inventories and dropping prices, sellers may be psychologically feeling more anxious than they will be when Spring comes and they have renewed hope that the market will improve. With interest rates back down to about 5%, I would have to agree that this fall may be a good time to make a move.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to write posts like this one.  I remember when buying a home was about just that, finding the right property in which to enable a family to create their dream  home…not an investment.  Some home buyers still feel this way but most care more than ever about the pricing and timing of their purchase.

Learn More About Life in Lake Norman:

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman, Part 1

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Real Estate: The 2009 Race City “Wiener” Run is this Saturday!

The Red Baron

Meet The Red Baron.  He is one of the “Wiener”Run competitors in Mooresville this Saturday, September 26, 2009.  His training program is so stealth like that you might think he is sleeping but it is truly a cunning act to make the other Dachshunds think he is out of shape.

Like most folks, I always underestimated these small yet energetic dogs until I attended the annual Dachshund race in Mooresville.  It was truly amazing!  There were Dachshunds of all colors, sizes, and ages everywhere.

It turns out the races are quite serious, depending on the “age bracket”.  The puppies tend to wander out of the starting box looking absolutely adorable but totally confused.  The older dogs for the most part truly get the whole idea and run to their excited owners who are yelling at them from the finish line.  Here is a photo I took last year of the race in action:

Dachshunds running during Mooresville Weiner Race

 This truly is a great way to spend your Saturday morning, especially since the weather won’t be great for going out on Lake Norman.  Plus, all of the proceeds go to the Lake Norman Animal Rescue, a non-profit organization who is raising funds for the future Lake Norman Animal Shelter.

The Facts:

Date:  September 26, 2009

Time:  Registration begins at 9:30, races begin at 11:00am.  Get there early to get a good spot along the fence!

Location:  The public parking lot on Broad Street at Iredell Avenue in Historic Downtown Mooresville

Race Entrance Fee: $10

Who:  All dachshunds are eligible and will race according to age.

Besides the actual races there will be pet vendors, “I was there” T-shirts and all sorts of fun things.  Remember, this is a great cause!  For more information:  lknweinerrun@gmail.com

 Other Lake Norman Articles You May Enjoy:

 60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman, Part 1

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman Part 2

60 Things You Should Know about Life in Lake Norman, Part 3

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman Part 4

Fresh Sushi, Hush Puppies: The Scoop About Living in Mooresville Lake Norman

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Sailing and Rowing Center Now Open to All!

Sailing On Lake Norman

 

Lake Norman is an incredible place to live, particularly if you own a waterfront home or a boat.  But, what if you want to go sailing or rowing on Lake Norman and you don’t have a boat?  Thanks to the generosity and passion of some local sailors and rowers,  North Carolina Community Sailing and Rowing,  a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization working in partnership with Mecklenburg County and Cornelius Parks & Rec Departments, recently opened to the public offering sailing and rowing programs on Lake Norman for all ages and abilities.

What is great about this new Lake Norman sailing and rowing program is that the boats and equipment are provided by the center thanks to the generous donations of many Lake Norman area residents and businesses.  All one needs to do is sign-up, pay a very reasonable fee for a season pass and you are on your way to learning how to sail and/or row.  The center is conveniently located on Lake Norman at Blythe Landing in Cornelius.

Fall Lake Norman sailing and rowing programs are underway but it is not too late to join!

Lake Norman Rowing Day 1 juniors

A friend of mine and I have started the rowing classes which are held on Saturday mornings.  There are three classes depending on your age and experience: Masters,  Adult Novice and Juniors.  This photo was taken of  the juniors out on the first day.  The boats we are using hold 8 rowers but they also have sculls for different sizes.  Learning the technical skills to row successfully as an 8-person team is challenging but really really fun!

Because NC Community Sailing and Rowing is a fledgling non-profit they are looking for financial donations as well as more boats and equipment so that they can offer a full schedule of classes on Lake Norman in the Spring.

Learn more, make a donation or sign up!

North Carolina Community Sailing and Rowing

Center Location: Blythe Landing, Cornelius

704.947.7245

Lake Norman Sailing and Rowing Day 2

Here is the Adult Novice Group

(I am the second from the back!)

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Business of the Week: Lavendar Boutique

Lake Norman Real Estate's business-of-the-week

Lavendar BOUTIQUE 

Lavendar Boutique in the Mooresville Town Square

 Walking into Mooresville’s lavendar BOUTIQUE you might just think you were suddenly transplanted to a shop on Rodeo Dr. in Beverly Hills or New York City except for one big difference:  you will instantly feel welcome by the warm and friendly “shop girls” .  Designer fashion with Southern hospitality, what could be better?

There is no doubt that Lake Norman has a casual, lake lifestyle.  That is why lavendar BOUTIQUE’s emphasis on designer denim is both smart and successful.  Transplants like myself (from California) who have adopted Lake Norman’s wonderfully casual ways still want our favorite brand of jeans and we don’t have to drive to South Park to find them!

The Jean Cube at Lavendar Boutique in Mooresville

Neatly stacked by size in the “jean cube” as well as throughout the store you will find such designer labels as:

With the latest designer labels from Bella Dahl, Splendid, Sanctuary, Ella Moss, Three Dots, Tart, Sam Edelman and more, you’re sure to find something fashionable and fearless for your next girl’s night out or vacation. If it’s the latest denim from the runways of NY you’re looking for…Lavendar carries the largest assortment of designer denim in the area, including Hudson, Joe’s Jeans, Paige Denim, True Religion, Citizen of Humanity, Seven For All Mankind and more!!

Lavendar Boutique Owners Sherry Pollex

Located  in the Mooresville Town Square,  lavendar BOUTQUE was created by local resident/owner Sherry Pollex to fulfill her dream of owning the first and only men and women’s designer boutique in the Lake Norman area where she not only offers clothing not readily found outside of South Park but a shopping experience second to none.

From a glass of wine to assistance by a personal shopper, a visit to lavendar BOUTIQUE  is truly a treat.

Today Sherry helped me pick out several pairs of  jeans, pinned the hems and arranged for them to be hemmed and back to the boutique for me in just a few days.  Instead of driving all the way to South Park and back I spent all of half and hour and ended up with exactly what I wanted!

If Sherry is on the road with boyfriend and NASCAR NEXTEL Cup driver Martin Truex, Jr., co-owner and sister Jill and all of their knowledgeable “shop girls” are there to help you too.

 lavendar BOUTQUE

279 Williamson Road Suite f

Mooresville, 28117

704.663.2880

lavendar BOUTIQUE on Facebook

lavendar BOUTIQUE on Instagram

BUY LOCAL!

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s September 2009 Hot Sheet

September 15, 2009 Lake Norman Hot Sheet

 Lake Norman Real Estate Hot Sheet September 2009

 Some would argue that an analysis of any two-week  period in our Lake Norman  real estate market is simply too short a time time frame to be meaningful.  However, I have found that these monthly two-week reports, especially when put in context with the past 5 months, can actually provide us with a good pulse on trends in the Lake Norman housing market.

Today’s report is a great example of this

The above chart is a summary of today’s “Hot Sheet” from the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service for single family homes in all of Lake Norman (area 13).  These numbers represent a real time snapshot of the past two week’s activity.  As always, I have included the past 5 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective.

Highlights:

New listings dropped by almost 20%.  Our seasonal trends seem to be continuing with decreased activity in the fall and winter.  One of the most important parts to our Lake Norman housing recovery is a decline is inventory so this is a good sign.

The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, soared to their highest number this year.  Lake Norman is continuing to experience the challenges related to obtaining home loans which probably played a big factor in having so many cancelled contracts in one two-week period.

The number of price changes dropped to their lowest number since April.   Lower prices are another key component to the Lake Norman housing recovery.

Pending home sales remained stable.  I actually thought we would see a decline in pending sales but unfortunately, we have not been seeing all of these sales convert to closed sales so from this chart I would predict our closed sales for September will be about equal to August and down from the July high for the year.

The number of closed sales in the past two weeks dropped 44% compared to the first two weeks in August.  Add these to a good portion of the pending sales and we once again end up with about 60 closed sales in September which is about equal to August.

Overall, the Lake Norman real estate market looks to be leveling off at a rate of sales that is far below our peak years.  However, if we can get our prices down far enough to entice buyers and if our level of inventory of active listings keep dropping we are certainly heading in the right direction.   I have been showing a lot of property recently and there is no doubt that sellers are dropping prices and adding additional incentives to attract buyers.  Bargains are attracting buyers to get off of the fence.  Once the momentum shifts and buyers feel they better buy before the market turns around, I think the Lake Norman housing market will stabilize.

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lake norman real estate

Lake Norman Real Estate: Foreclosures and Unemployment Rates

Lake Norman Real Estate Analyzing the Data

 

In today’s real estate market, both here in the Lake Norman area as well as the entire country, economic data changes daily.  This is especially true of  the number of home foreclosures.  And it is particularly difficult to stay on top of our local numbers as they are not as readily available.

That is why I got pretty excited when I learned about  this interactive map on the  National Public Radio’s website: Interactive Map:  The Economy Where You Live.  If you click on the link a map of the United States will appear with the option to search three different numbers BY COUNTY:

  1. Foreclosure Rates
  2. Unemployment Rates
  3. Median Household Income

These numbers are updated regularly so you can keep track of trends by county not only where you might be buying but where you are currently living as well.

Today’s numbers for our four Lake Norman counties:

Iredell (including Mooresville, Troutman,Statesville):

  • Foreclosures:  1 in 1662 (one out of every 1662 homes are currently in foreclosure)
  • Unemployment rate: 13%

Mecklenburg (including Charlotte, Huntersville, Cornelius, Davidson):

  • Foreclosures:  1 in 213
  • Unemployment rate: 11.7%

Catawba (including Sherrills Ford, Terrell, Hickory):

  • Foreclosures:  1 in 2479
  • Unemployment rate: 14.9%

Lincoln (Including Denver, Lincolnton):

  • Foreclosures:  1 in 1401
  • Unemployment rate: 14.5%

While I have included which Lake Norman cities fall in each county, it is important to know that there are many other cities in these counties, especially Mecklenburg which includes the greater Charlotte metropolitan area.  It is clear that the more densely populated areas in Mecklenburg County are experiencing a much greater number of foreclosures than the other counties surrounding Lake Norman.

In a report released by RealtyTrac today, the foreclosure related filings in August were ranked by state, the worst being:

  1. Nevada:  1 in 62
  2. Florida: 1 in 140
  3. California: 1 in 144
  4. Arizona: 1 in 150
  5. Michigan: 1 in 234

According to this report, one in every 357 U.S. homes was subjected to a foreclosure-related filing in August.

Overall, the Lake Norman area is doing considerably better than the country but the numbers are not currently trending in a positive direction.

I plan on checking these maps on a regular basis to watch for changes!

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman NC Wildlife Cruise: September 19, 2009

Lake Norman's Lady of the Lake

 

When you think of enjoying the extraordinary wildlife and beauty of Lake Norman an image of the Lady of the Lake yacht might not come to mind.  However, The Lake Norman Wildlife Cruise on September 19th combines an educational tour while enjoying hors d’oeuvres, a bar and a live auction.

Sponsored by the Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists, a grassroots chapter of the North Carolina Wildlife Federation,  this 3.5 hour cruise will be narrated, educational tour will focus on “islands, animal and plant species, and ongoing conservation projects that help protect those species.”

Appropriate for children and adults of all ages, this sounds like a great afternoon for learning more about our beautiful Lake Norman as well as simply enjoying a tour of the lake while being spoiled in the Lady of the Lake yacht.

The Facts:

Date:  Saturday, September 19, 2009

Time:  Check-in time is 12:45pm returning at 4:00pm

Place:  Queens Landing in Mooresville (at the 150 bridge).

Cost:  $45 per person or $75 per couple.

Tickets can be ordered on line at:  Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationist  or call 704.332.5696 for more information.

“The Vision of the Lake Norman Wildlife Conservationists is to protect and enhance the natural resources and wildlife habitats of the greater Lake Norman area, for all to enjoy.”

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s August 2009 Homes Sales

If you have been following the national real estate news about pending sales being on an upward trend as well as closed home sales in some states, you might have an overall sense that we have hit bottom and are slowly but consistently improving.  But, we need to keep in mind that we always have a seasonal increase in sales monthly from April through July.  Locally our August numbers took a significant dip.  It will be very interesting to see the national housing numbers for August when they are released.

I have been working with a lot of Lake Norman buyers and I can tell you from first hand experience that most sellers in the Lake Norman area are struggling, prices are dropping and there are some really good bargains in every price level.  It truly is a painful market right now and a challenging one for both buyers and sellers due to the difficulties with appraisals and loans and the drop in prices.

  Lake Norman’s August housing statistics

Lake Norman August 2009 Sales Analysis

  • Active Listings continue to decline which is very good news.  Note the average price of our active listings when compared to those that are under contract.

  • Contingent Sales  also remain about flat for the past few months.  These are the homes that are sold but they are contingent upon the buyer selling their home…very weak contracts that could go on indefinitely

  • Conditional Sales are actually slightly above the 48 in July.

  • Pending Sales are equal to July’s 90 pending sales which indicates to me that our  September numbers may mirror August’s.

  • The number of Closed Sales  dropped 18% compared to July 2008.  The average sales price declined 14% and the average days on market increased 30%.  In my opinion, these are critical numbers as they best tell the story of our Lake Norman housing market.  My guess is that our sales peaked last month (July) for 2009 and will now level off.

 5-Year Comparison of Lake Norman Home Sales By Month

20092008200720062005
January276987102105
February 40501059888
March 5571151153136
April6590120143152
May 6690152182157
June8782169227172
July90101147166191
August6276144180233
September69105135163
October6698117184
November468488145
December6264132134
Totals:492901148917041873

* Please note that all of my numbers come from the Charlotte Region Multiple Listing Service and will not include sales that took place outside of our MLS.

**I have made an adjustment of  the totals reflecting the ACTUAL sales  every month in 2009 and the totals in the prior calendar year.

 ***IMPORTANT CHANGE IN DATA

While preparing this report I decided to look at the details of the properties that sold in July and August.  I discovered a major flaw in the MLS data program:

  • The normal MLS search for properties that have sold by date actually include the properties based upon when the listing agent entered the sold data into the MLS, NOT when the property actually sold!
  • I went back and discovered that there are a significant number of home sales that are entered several days or more into the next month so the monthly sales numbers are inaccurate.
  • I spoke to the data person at the Charlotte MLS and he said this is the way that the entire MLS reporting is done but that if I want to know the number of ACTUAL sales in any give month I must do a custom search (which I have since done).  So, be forwarned that the public numbers quoted for Charlotte but our MLS will use the flawed method.  I do not know how the national numbers are calculated.

I have since gone back and corrected every month in 2009 to reflect the actual sales that closed in that month.

To give you an example of how bad those prior numbers were, in today’s report our August sales would be 79 rather than 62.  There are 22 sales in the August 2009 search that actually closed in July and 5 sales that are included in September when they actually closed in August for a net error of 17!

 Summary

Clearly our Lake Norman home sales peaked last year in the month of July and I would predict that they also peaked this year in July. August sales dropped 31% versus last month. Right now, with 62 sales and 1498 active listing we have 24 months of inventory of Lake Norman homes compared to a balanced market of 6-8 months of supply.  The average sales price declined 14% compared to August 2008.

Inventory is coming  down as are prices so the Lake Norman housing market is moving in the right direction to hit bottom.  We must get our inventory down which means getting our prices down to a point where buyers feel confident to buy.

We are still clearly in a buyers’ market.  I think the advantage will be with buyers through the end of the year but then we may see a shift in the mindset of both buyers and sellers as we enter spring 2010.  If the momentum changes, buyers will start to buy fearing they are missing the bottom and they may be right!

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Lake Norman photos

Lake Norman Real Estate’s September 2009 Calendar is Here!

Lake Norman Real Estate's Sept09Wallpaper Calendar

 September is here and it already feels like fall on Lake Norman.  The humidity of the lazy days of summer has been replaced by invigoratingly fresh air and cooler temperatures.

Some of my favorite events in Mooresville and the greater Lake Norman area occur in September; from the Denver Days Fall Festival to the Amazing Maize Maze to the just too fun Wiener Races.  (Yes, I mean Dachshunds!).

However, for this month’s photo I decide to peak ahead to October and the 36th annual Carolina Balloon Fest on October 23-25.  Many don’t know that Statesville (and Lake Norman)  NC is considered one of THE places for hot air balloons and that this annual rally is one of the largest National Balloon Rally’s!

To make this your desktop calendar, go to the round button at the top of this site’s home page entitled: “Lake Norman Calendar”.  Click on this button and up will come an image of my Lake Norman photo wallpaper calender for September 2009.  All you have to do is right click and select “set as background”.  Enjoy!

 

While I have great fun taking pictures of Lake Norman, I would love to use one of your favorite photos depicting life here in Lake Norman!. If you’d like to submit a photo for a future calendar, please send it to…

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Real Estate: The Ultimate Car Week!

 Bently at Pebble Beach 09mccallparty_02

 

Anyone who has lived in Mooresville (Race City USA) knows that cars are a big part of life for many folks here.  From NASCAR to the local drag strip to our monthly Cruise-ins and weekly gatherings of car collectors of all kinds, if you are a car fan, this is THE place to be…well with the exception of  Monterey California during “Car Week”!

One of my client’s, Brett Hemphill, thought it might be fun to share a bit about this incredible week for those that may not have been lucky enough to attend it.  All I can say is WOW and I hope you enjoy it:

 Car Week 2009

One of the best ways to wind down summer is to spend five days in Monterey and Carmel for the various car events collectively known as “Car Week.  This was my second time experiencing the “car overload” and can’t wait to do it again.

This year’s event was a little different in that we were selling our Touchless Car Cover and trying to fit all of the great events in. We figured a way to do it.

The week started with the McCall’s Revival Party at the Monterey Jet Center on Wednesday evening. The grounds are filled with aircraft, rare cars and plenty of car talk. Porsche used this event to introduce the new Panamera sedan. The attendees are well heeled, I am told. Rumor has it that there were 15 jets sold at the event in 2008.

Thursday morning is an early wake up call. We head over to the start of the Pebble Beach Concours tour. This event features cars that will be shown on Sunday on the 18th green of Pebble Beach. It is great to see these cars lining up near the equestrian center at Pebble Beach in the early morning. If there happens to be a tie on Sunday at the Pebble Beach Concours, the car that participated in the Tour gets a bonus point and wins.

We spent Thursday afternoon prepping two cars that my business partner is auctioning the following day at the Russo & Steele Auction at the Marriott in downtown Monterey. At this point, a brush fire has started nearby and there is ash in the air.

Alfa Romeo BAT next to Touchless Car Cover

Later, we had to drop off three car covers at Concorso Italiano. The Blackhawk Museum contacted us and wanted the Touchless Car Cover to protect and hide their three Alfa Romeo BAT cars from the evening foggy mist and prying eyes. Then it was off to La Dolce Vita to set up our Touchless Car Cover booth in preparation for sales at that event on Friday.

That evening is the Russo & Steele VIP party in the parking structure with all of the cars that will be sold during the next two days.

Ferrari's and More Ferraris!

 

 

Friday morning we were off to Concorso Italiano to retrieve our covers. The venue was quickly filling up with Ferrari’s, Lamborgini’s and all things Italian. Then it was off to La Dolce Vita. We unveiled a 1931 Alfa Romeo 6C Grand Sport. Organizers of the event asked us to cover it with a Touchless Car Cover to protect it from the aforementioned ash shower that seemed to be getting worse. We spent the day meeting people from around the world and talked about cars.

 

Friday night found us at the Russo & Steele Auction. We did some viral marketing by offering a Touchless Car Cover with the first car on the block. This was followed by going to the invite only party at Mercedes Benz on the 4th fairway of Pebble Beach. An interesting crowd varied between under dressed and over dressed. Cocktails and chocolate were being served. The Mercedes evening was capped off with the Pointer Sisters singing a mini concert. Since we did not expect the lack of food, we ended up at McDonalds. How is that for a contrast?

Saturday was spent at the Mecum auction. I was standing 50 feet away from a Daytona Cobra race car signed by Carol Shelby as it went through the block at $ 7.25 million (plus the buyer’s premium). The auctioneer asked the excited audience: “Do you know the difference between a car and a house? You can sleep in your car, but you cannot drive your house”.

Our celebrity status (read: they want to sell us advertising) got us invited to the $100 per head Sports Car Market seminar at Gooding & Company. Gooding definitely had the premium cars to auction including one of Mario Andretti’s Dean Van Lines Indy car.

Saturday night we were back at Russo & Steele doing viral marketing with the first car on the block. Then it was off to dinner with friends – at the table we discussed cars. Imagine the conversation of five Porsche owners in discussion with one Corvette owner. The guy didn’t have a chance.

The weekend was capped off by attending the Pebble Beach Concours. It is just as much fun to see where the cars came from as it is looking at the cars. We saw cars from Hong Kong, Germany, Switzerland, Australia, and more. Forget the cost of the cars, how about the cost of transporting them back and forth? The biggest chuckle I got was watching one of the owners trying to start up a million dollar car. He had no idea how to operate it and had the assistance of an unsolicited mechanic. I am fairly convinced that he had never driven the car.

We took highway 101 South toward Newport Beach and made a detour to the Peachy Canyon Winery for a tasting. The girl serving admired my car. We knew we had picked the right spot as we sipped wine and discussed cars with our wine expert who currently drives a Mini Cooper (S – of course).

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

60 Things About Life in Lake Norman that the Tour Guides Won’t Tell You: Part 4

Lake Norman after a Snow Fall

 There is so much about life in my wonderful Lake Norman community that one can only learn after living here.  If you have been following this series you will now know that you need to carry a compass with you because there are so many trees it is very hard to get a true sense of direction, that roads will change names when you least expect it and how to pronounce some names that aren’t quite what you expect.  Here is the last of my series:

  • Out Buildings: When I first started looking for homes here I keep reading about outbuildings and I had no idea what they actually were.  Well, they are simply detached sheds, workshops and garden shops.  Most of us have one because we need somewhere to keep our John Deere mowers!
  • If ice or snow is predicted, everything shuts down!  Folks from cold climates truly laugh their first winter here as they observe not just schools but the entire Charlotte area shut down if we have even an inch or two of snow or a threat of ice storms or even ice on the roads forming overnight.
  • Walk out basements versus traditional basements:  It you are from the north where basements come with every home, you will be surprised to know that most all of our homes do not have basements. However, if the lot is slopped enough, we have walk-out basements that are extremely popular especially if they walk out to the lake.  In place of basements, most of our newer homes have a large bonus room on the second or third floor of the home.
  • Hardwood trees are good and Pine trees can be evil:  This may seem harsh, but I learned this from my tree guy who is a native.  It turns out that pine trees have small root-balls so they tend to be the trees that blow over in storms.  Since learning this I have observed it myself.  We have had two trees fall on power lines at different times on our street and in both cases they were pine trees on forested lots.
  • Pine straw mulch is a cure-all:  I had never seen pine straw mulch until moving here which is why I even bother to mention it.  I have since found out that most serious gardeners include a twice annual ritual of spreading bales of pine straw under and around their trees, shrubs and flowers.  It is used extensively commercially because it tends to make everything look very fresh and neat.
  • Siding:  We have all of the common types of siding here.  Brick is the most popular because of the low-maintenance but it is also one of more expensive options.  Other types of siding include stones of all kinds, cedar, cement fiber, logs (as in log cabins) hard-coat stucco and various thicknesses and textures of vinyl.  Some folks are still a bit nervous about stucco because of the synthetic stucco problems years ago but there are great stucco experts that can test it for moisture issues.
  • Inspection issues: moisture, crawl spaces, caulking:  Moisture related problems are the most common found on home inspections here.  From crawl spaces with inadequate drainage or moisture barriers, to lack of caulking at windows to rot damage to door jambs.  Also, look for broken seals in double-paned windows…there will be moisture in between the exterior and interior layers of glass.
  • Barbecue, especially churches and clubs:  I wrote an entire article about North Carolina Barbecue but I just wanted to mention how much barbecue is a part of life here.  Churches, civic organizations, fire departments and schools are known for their great barbecue fundraisers.  Just look for home-made signs at street corners or in the local newspapers.  Pulled pork is the best!

Lake Norman Festival 2009

  • Festivals!  It you want to experience the true, small-town and southern culture, you need go no further than your local town festivals.  The Lake Norman Festival (Now called Race City Festival) is held every May in Mooresville.  Davidson has a wonderful 3-evening Christmas Festival and you will find many around the Lake area on July 4th.  What they all have in common is decadent food (funnel cakes, giant turkey legs, fresh lemonade, barbecue, Kettle Corn), arts and crafts, music and entertainment.
  • Art, Gallery Crawls:  I had no idea how art is ingrained in the culture here.  Whether you are interested in Museum quality, contemporary or traditional, paintings, pottery, wood turning, sculptures and photography, you will find it all right here.  Downtown Mooresville has monthly “gallery crawls” and exhibits at the local Artist Guild.  Davidson has wonderful concerts, plays and performances on and off campus plus some exceptional art galleries and stores.  There are concerts ON the lake as well as movies you can watch from your boat.  Then there is always the Mint Museum, the Daniel Stowe Botanical Gardens and such in Charlotte.
  • No Smoking laws!  Now this truly is a sign of the times as North Carolina recently passed a law forbidding smoking in bars and restaurants.  It is great news for us non-smokers but actually over the past few years most establishments have banned smoking on their own.  With towns like Winston-Salem it truly is a big deal to be able to see this law passed. 
  • Take the time to get to know the locals…we have invaded them.  Most people estimate that 75% of the current residents are what are termed “transplants”.  We have come from all over the country to enjoy life here.  Many folks around the lake never take the time to get to know the old-timers and locals which is truly a shame.  I have met so many wonderful, native residents who have shared what it was like watching the lake fill up in the 1960’s and their sleepy cotton and tobacco towns scattered along the railroad increase in population ten-fold since the completion of the I-77.
  • Yur Fine!  This is one of my very favorite responses you will get from our true Southerners to any kind of apology.  Example:  “I’m so sorry!”   “Oh, yur fine” they respond with a smile!

Y'all Come Back Lake Norman's Catawba queen 

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

60 Things about Life in Lake Norman that you won’t find in a Tour Guide! Part 3

Boatslips at The Peninsula Yacht Club in Cornelius

 If you missed Part 1 and 2 of this series, then you don’t know how to pronounce Appalachian properly, or that you shouldn’t be surprised to have complete strangers wave at you as you drive by most any Lake Norman neighborhood or why you need to merge quickly onto our Interstates.  Here is Part 3: 

  • Boatslips are scarce on Lake Norman, so try to get one with your house!  This is one thing I wish my Realtor has told us when we purchase our home here on Lake Norman.  Duke Energy oversees the lake and they are making  boatslip and dock regulations more restrictive.  If you plan on having a boat, try to buy a home with a deeded boatslip if you aren’t buying a waterfront home.  There are few public marinas and from what I understand no more permits for multiple dock marinas are going to be allowed in all of Lake Norman. 
  • Green is coming:  When it comes to the environment, we tend to follow other states and are a bit behind, with the exception of areas like Asheville.  Our local towns don’t have curbside recycling but there are several private companies that offer it. (We now have curbside recycling! 2014).  As a member of the Lake Norman Home Builders Association’s Green Council I can attest to the fact that more and more home builders are incorporating energy efficiency and high-performance materials into their new homes.
  •  Round Bale of Hay in North Carolina Round bales of hay, not square!  You don’t have to drive far to see bales of hay spread across a field, especially in the fall.  In fact, we had some until recently on Brawley School Rd.  What I love is that they are all round as in this photo rather than the square bales I used to see in CA.
  • Canoeing during the day and Bobcats at night:  Recreational, amateur and professional sports are a huge part of life here.  I had no idea Charlotte had all of the major professional sports including hockey until I moved here.  Golf courses are dotted throughout the Lake Norman area.  Basketball, especially the college playoffs, is hugely popular.  Go UNC!
  • Very little access to swimming unless you have a boat:  At the time of this article, we only have one public swimming area on the entire Lake Norman shoreline and that is at the Lake Norman State Park.  However, Mecklenburg County is considering approval of several that will be adjacent to public boat ramps in Cornelius.

1957 Chevy in Paint Booth

  •  Cars, cars, cars:  Cruise-ins, shows, racing:  While Lake Norman may be a Mecca for pilots, it most definitely is THE Mecca for all things on wheels.  From NASCAR, to drag racing, Charlotte/Lake Norman is home to approximately 80% of the auto racing industry.  Along with that come the car collectors and enthusiasts…I’m married to one!  If you want, you could probably find a cruise-in or gathering of car collectors almost every night of the week during the summer.  Plus, we have the big shows like Good Guys as well.  So, if you are a car nut, put Mooresville at the top of your list!  (Photo is my husband’s latest custom hot rod)
  • Wine is  local and international:  Full disclosure, my parents had a vineyard in Napa Valley for 25 years.  Yet, despite my exposure to the wine world I had no idea that North Carolina has quite a number of local wineries.  There is even a new one in Troutman right here in Lake Norman.  For those that have not acquired a taste for our state wines which can be a bit sweet, we have a number of wine shops (Total Wine), groups and tastings in the area on a regular basis.  We also have our own local breweries and craft beer makers in growing numbers.  (Yes, and thanks to Trader Joe’s we also have two-buck Chuck!)
  • Lake Norman folks are usually really tan, especially the longtime lake residents:  To get the idea, just visit the local lake hangout Vinnie’s where you will find the waitresses with deep tans as well as many of the patrons.

Red Clay at construction along Brawley School Rd

  •  Red clay:  Our natural soil here is a deep red clay.  If you buy a home with a mature garden you may not even see it but if you have a good rain, don’t be surprised if you track some red footprints into the house.  If not amended with mulch, our red clay becomes rock hard when it is dry.  If you have any planting to do, I would plan it for after a good rainfall.
  • Cycling is not so great on our roads but is improving:  My husband has been a serious cyclist for most of his life and even he finds the roads here too narrow for safe cycling.  Most of our roads have absolutely no shoulders and with just one lane in each direction can be quite challenging for cycling.  However, the widening of Brawley School Road includes bike lanes and there is a group that is working hard to get a cycling path built that will completely surround Lake Norman.  Until then,  Lake Norman State Park, Jetton State Park and The Point in Mooresville and The Peninsula in Cornelius are good options.

Stay tuned for the finale, Part 4!

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations

Lake Norman Real Estate: Southern Kitchen & Bath Show August 28 – 30, 2009

Southern Kitchen and Bath Show

 

Mark your calendars for Friday, August 28 – Sunday August 30, 2009.  The Southern Kitchen & Bath will be in Charlotte at “The Park” (formerly the Charlotte Merchandise Mart).

Kitchens and bathrooms, especially Master Bathrooms, are certainly where the excitement is in new home construction and in remodeling here in the Lake Norman area especially outdoor kitchens.  If you haven’t seen the latest in design trends and features this is a great opportunity to wander exhibits and vignettes getting inspiration or ideas for your own remodel or home building plans.

The Southern Kitchen and Bath Show’s theme:  “Hundreds of experts…Thousands of ideas”pretty much says it all.  From appliances, remodeling, cabinets, counter-tops, flooring, granite, marble, tile, stone, storage, gourmet amenities, wine, outdoor barbeques, spectacular bathrooms and kitchens to culinary classes by featured chefs from the greater Charlotte and Lake Norman areas, it sounds like an event to attend all three days!

Some of the feature events/exhibits include:

Southern Kitchen and Bath Show Outdoor pizza

The Outdoor Pizza Oven: 

Southern Kitchen and Bath Show Closet Tailors

 

The ultimate in organization:  The Closet Tailors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Southern Kitchen and Bath Show Organic Gardener

 

And, for those avid Green folks like myself, there will even be a class on Instant Organic Gardening by Don Rosenberg.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Facts:

Date:  Friday August 28 – Sunday August 30, 2009

Location:  The Park (Former Merchandise Mart in Charlotte)

Admission: $9 at the door (Children under 15 free with paying adult)

Hours:

Friday:  12pm – 9pm

Saturday: 10:00am – 9pm

Sunday: 10:00am – 5pm

For more information:  Southern Kitchen and Bath Website 

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Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

60 Things About Life in Lake Norman You Won’t Find in a Tour Guide: Part 2

Early morning on a North Carolina Beach PICT0002

A while back I wrote part one of this series about life in Lake Norman 60 Things about Life in Lake Norman Part 1.  Most of the 60 things on this list are not information you will find in any tour guide or Chamber of Commerce website but I thought it would be fun to share some of the interesting and quirky things  I have discovered/observed since moving here in 2005:

  •  Road names changes:  This is a biggy…Don’t be surprised if the road you are on changes names or if you come to an intersection and find that the right side of the street has one name and the left has an entirely different name.  Always look at both signs when trying to find the name.
  • Lake Norman is about 4.5 hours from the beautiful Atlantic coastline:  The beach is probably the number one vacation destination of local residents many of whom have second homes in Wilmington or Myrtle Beach. Compared to the beaches of Southern California, they are clean, have lots of shells and the water in the summer is really warm!  They can be a bit humid in the summer but are incredibly beautiful all year round.
  • Merging lanes are very short!  The merging lanes on the I-77 and other state highways have a way of disappearing VERY quickly. Don’t expect to have a lot of time to move over when exiting or entering a highway!

Geese crossing the road is typical in Lake Norman

  • Ducks and Geese are quite at home here along with deer, squirrels, raccoons and myriad birds.  But watch out, I have seen a family of geese walking across Williamson Road stopping traffic in both directions!
  • Raft ups is a local term used for boat parties on Lake Norman when two or more boats are tied together.  As I wrote recently, I do believe Lake Norman holds the worlds record for the number of boats tied together at one time!
  • Variety of lifestyles: You can be yourself and simply find others who share your interests.  Casual, formal, conservative, liberal, churches of every kind, party goers, homebodies, those that want to escape and those that want to be surrounded by a community of friends, farm country or city, historic or modern, southern or Yankee, natural or commercial, cutting edge or old fashioned; ee have it all either on the Lake or in the surrounding communities.

John Deere's Line up in front of Lowe's

  • Most folks mow their own lawns with riding mowers .  While this might not be the case in The Point or the more exclusive communities, for the most part you will see husbands and/or wives out mowing their own lawns.  In fact, a John Deere mower was our very first purchase.  My husband actually finds it relaxing.  I have tried it and it really was fun but it seems he doesn’t like to share!
  • People move here because they want to, not because they have to!  I work with a lot of relocating buyers and the most common question I get asked by my friends is why are they all moving to Lake Norman?  While each client’s story is unique, with a few exceptions, all of my buyers are moving or have moved here because they want to live here.  They have done their research and whether it is the lake, the weather, the proximity to so much, most every one has purposely picked Lake Norman as THE place that they want to live….from young couples to families looking for good schools to retirees.

Magnificent Frank Lloyd Wright style Estate on Long Island Airport Lake NormanP1020956

  • Lake Norman Air Parks x 2:  Yes, we have not one but TWO small airparks on Lake Norman, one on the west side and one on the east side.  I am finding that we are a mecca for pilots of all kinds!  This home overlooking the grass runway at Long Island AirPark is one of my very favorites because of it’s Frank Lloyd Wright feel.
  • If you want to fit in, you need to know how to pronounce some very important local names: 

                    Jetton  (As in the street in Cornelius)  Je-t- ON;

                    Iredell:   Eye-er-dell; 

                   Rowan:  Row-Ann 

Appalachian: App (sounds like apple)- a- latch-a.  (the most mispronounced word throughout the US!)

 

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Friday Hot Sheet: August 14, 2009

 Lake Norman Hot Sheet: August 14, 2009 

Lake Norman Real Estate's august hot sheet 2009

 I always look forward to doing the research for my Friday Hot Sheets because it gives me a chance to see the most recent snapshot of what is REALLY going on with our Lake Norman Real Estate Market.  It can be confusing and frustrating to follow the national real estate news because their reports are a month or more behind and our local market is usually quite different from the national trends.

The above chart is a summary of today’s “Hot Sheet” from the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service for single family homes in all of Lake Norman (area 13).  These numbers represent a real time snapshot of the past two week’s activity.  As always, I have included the past 5 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective.

Highlights:

New listings increased by 5% from July.  At a time when our market should be seeing a decrease in active listings as we head into the fall, it is a bit disconcerting to see this number increasing.  If we add the new listings of  120 with the 55 properties that came back on the market in reality our inventory increased by 175 homes in the past two weeks.  At the same time, if we add the contingent, conditional pending and solds we find that 120 properties were taken out of our number of active listings which means we had a net gain of 55 active listings.  (This does not include the properties that were withdrawn or expired).

The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, dropped slightly.  This is always a good sign but not significant enough to substantiate a trend.

The number of price changes increased by 7%.  Prices are coming down as you may remember from my July sales analysis. This is a critical component of our Lake Norman housing market recovery….painful but necessary!

Pending home sales remained stable.  I actually thought we would see a decline so this is an indication that our August sales may be slightly higher than July.

The number of closed sales in the past two weeks increased 9% over both June and July numbers and are the highest for the entire year.  Again, I expected to see sales level off so this may be mean that August will have higher sales than July.

Overall, I was pleasantly surprised to see the strength of the activity in the Lake Norman real estate market for the past two week.  While most of the closed sales were under $400,000, there were several over $1million.  The interesting details about these higher priced sales is that the closing prices were 70% of the listing price.  Prices are coming down in our luxury home market and buyers who have been sitting on the sidelines seem to be dipping their toe in the water.

All in all, these numbers provide a glimmer of hope that we will see stronger sales this month than  in July.  Perhaps it is due to the fear that interest rates are rising or the impending deadline of the $8,000 First-Time-Buyer rebate, but there does seem to be quantifiable, albeit slight, signs of improvement in the Lake Norman housing market.

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Historic Downtown Mooresville, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Business of the Week: On the Corner of Art and Main

Lake Norman Real Estate's business-of-the-week

Lake Norman Island by Sandie Bell

Lake Norman Island by Sandie Bell

Mark you calendars for this Friday, August 14th, 2009 from 6-9 pm  for the popular and growing “On the Corner of Art and Main” monthly gallery crawl in Historic Downtown Mooresville!

“The Corner of Art and Main” is an artwalk featuring live music, art and festivities. Enjoy wine and cheese as you browse the many shops on Main and Broad Streets that will be featuring the works of local artists.

This Friday’s artwalk coincides with the Depot Fine Gallery’s August Exhibit free opening reception from 6-8 pm.  (105 West Center Avenue in the historic train depot).  This month’s exhibit features three artists:  Leo Gordon, Sandie Bell and John Weidman.

I would like to particularly highlight a friend and very talented artist, Sandie Bell  whose art I have admired ever since I met her when I first arrived in Mooresville in 2005.  A local resident of the Mooresville Lake Norman community, Sandie’s work has won numerous awards and is included in private collections throughout the country.  Sandie is also an active member of  the Mooresville Artist Guild, Lake Norman Art League, Charlotte Artists Society and Associated Artists of Winston Salem.

Things are looking up

Things are looking up

This is one of my favorite works of Sandie’s which she has replicated on note cards that I love sending to family and friends:  “Things are looking up” reflects her spirit as well as life in our great Lake Norman area where hot-air balloons are quite popular.

One of the qualities I appreciate the most about Sandie as an artist is her versatility.  She is currently working in acrylics, pastels, collage, watercolor, and mixed media. From traditional still life to abstracts, she enjoys “creating new visual statements by using shapes, patterns, colors and values.”Asian Influence

I am particularly fond of abstract art like this piece of hers entitled “Asian Influence”

Lake Norman Hydrangeas

To see more of Sandie’s work, visit her gallery on her website  in which is included these categories of subjects: Landscapes and Flora, Fauna, Still Life, Abstract, Figures and Others.  And, definitely go to the Depot Fine Art Gallery to meet her on the 14th!

If you have time after the Opening Reception at the Depot Fine Art Gallery on the 14th, I highly recommend that you stroll along Main Steet where you will find more wonderful artists such at “Cotton Ketchie” at his popular Landmark Galleries.  This month he will not only have his wonderful water colors, photographs, local pottery and gifts, but the gallery will be showcasing the works of NC artist Tony Craig who also enjoys “incorporating the nostalgic old country stores and grist mills” in his artwork just as does “Cotton”.

Finally, stop by for a great glass of wine at our Historic Downtown Mooresville’s gourmet wine shop at the corner of Main and Moore Street.

If you can’t make it this month, On the Corner of Art and Main is held the second Friday of every month.  Enjoy!

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lake norman real estate

Lake Norman Real Estate: NC Sales Tax-Free Weekend is Here!

Today is a perfect day to be out on Lake Norman boating and playing, especially for our children who are on summer vacation. But, if you are smart, you will go shopping instead because today starts our North Carolina’s annual tax-free back-to-school days!

This sales tax holiday, which lasts through this Sunday, August 9th (2009), is meant to help back-to-school shopping more affordable for parents but truly most of us can benefit as well.

For those of you new to the Mooresville Lake Norman area, every year NorthCarolina sets three days as “tax exempt” just for back-to-school supplies. What a great way to help out parents, especially this year with our continuing economic and housing struggles.

Here is a list of the items the qualify for exemption from sales tax:

  • Clothing & footwear (including outerwear, shoes and diapers)
  • School supplies of $100 or less per item (including backpacks, paper, notebooks, calculators, lunchboxes and other writing and art supplies)
  • NEW IN 2009!: A separate exemption for instructional materials such as reference books, maps, globes, workbooks and textbooks of $300 or less per item
  • Computers of $3,500 or less per item
  • Computer accessories such as discs and printer ink at $250 or less per item
  • School Sports and recreation equipment of $50 or less per item 

Items NOT covered include:

  • Computer parts such as monitors, keyboards or speakers unless sold as part of a package including the computer
  • Jewelry and cosmetics
  • Protective equipment such as hardhats, safety belts and tool belts
  • Wallets
  • Furniture
  • Items used in a trade or business
  • Rentals

The North Carolina Department of Revenue has a website: dor.state.nc.us/taxes/sales/salestax_holiday.html where you will find a list of exempt items and a listing of frequently asked questions.  All retailers in North Carolina that sell these designated items are required to participate according to the NC Department of Revenue.

Don’t forget that we have a Staples and Best Buy in Mooresville on Hwy 150 just across the street from our SuperTarget and down the road from our SuperWalMart. With all of these large stores so close together it’s a great way to save on gas too.  Most of these stores are offering back-to-school specials this weekend as well.

This weekend is a wonderful opportunity to get the kids out of the house (or out of the lake) and enjoy a chance to save a bit of money as school is just around the corner!

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s July 2009 Home Sales Analysis

Last week seemed to be one in which every source/pundit of economic news decided to put a positive spin on new data; from our GDP to national June housing sales.   For the most part the news was good simply because we didn’t do as badly as predicted.  Or, in the case of North Carolina existing home sales, they posted their “smallest decline since August 2007 in June with a 17% decrease in total units sold compared to the previous year” according to the North Carolina Association of Realtors.

What concerns me is that this type of news will encourage more optimism in our local Lake Norman real estate sales at a time when we most need to focus on being realistic. A good number of our sellers are “upside-down” or have negative equity in their homes.  They simply can’t afford to sell their homes at our current market value.  These are future short sales and foreclosures.  In states like California where they were hit early and hard, they are experiencing multiple offers…but on FORECLOSURES not regular inventory.  While I don’t think we will get to that point, I do think we are sitting on a lot of inventory of homes that will need to be reduced more than the sellers are able.

While the national focus is on June, let’s look at our JULY numbers:

July 2009 Sales Analysis

Lake Norman July 2009 Sales Analysis

 Active Listings remained just under 1600 for the third month in a row.  Note the average price of our active listings when compared to those that are under contract.

Contingent Sales  also remain about flat for the past few months.  These are the homes that are sold but they are contingent upon the buyer selling their home…very weak contracts that could go on indefinitely

Conditional Sales are actually slightly below where we were at the end of May when we had 56 conditional sales.  This is a sign that sales may have peaked for the season.  Note that these homes have been on the market an average of 215 days.  This doesn’t include homes that have been taken off the MLS and re-listed.

Pending Sales are also down slightly for the past few months.  Another sign that future sales will be trending slightly lower

The number of Closed Sales  dropped 13% compared to July 2008.  88 sales represent the highest one month of sales in 2009 but since this is our busiest season one would expect sales to trend upward.  The big question in my mind is “have our sales peaked for 2009?”

Let’s put these numbers into historical context:

 5-Year Comparison of Lake Norman Home Sales By Month

20092008200720062005
January246987102105
February 45501059888
March 4271151153136
April6990120143152
May 6790152182157
June7982169227172
July88101147166191
August74144180233
September69105135163
October6698117184
November468488145
December6264132134
Totals:414916149217431860

* Please note that all of my numbers come from the Charlotte Region Multiple Listing Service and will not include sales that took place outside of our MLS.

**While my totals on this chart for 2008 sales is 870, when I search on our MLS for the entire year they give me a slightly higher number of 916 so I will use that as our official number for the sake of this analysis.

Clearly our Lake Norman home sales peaked last year in the month of June.  Based on our current number of conditional and pending sales, my bet is that we have also peaked this past month for 2009.  Right now, with 88 sales and 1563 active listing we have 17.8 months of inventory of homes compared to a balanced market of 6-8 months of supply.  While this is a tremendous improvement from our winter highs of 35 months, if sales trend back down this fall and winter we will be back to those high inventory numbers.

One final observation:  note that the average price of a home sold in July actually increased compared to July 2008.  Yes, we have had some luxury home sales recently but they numbers will knock your socks off:

  • 18440 Harbour Light in The Peninsula was listed at $1,699.000 and closed on this past Friday for $1,200,000.  This is a 29% reduction from list to sales price and it was on the market for 690 days!
  • 108 Conway Court in The Point was listed at $4,100,000 and closed this past Thursday at $3,100,000 or a 24% reduction from listing price to sales price.

While this is not good news for our Lake Norman home values, it is a good sign that even the luxury home sellers are getting realistic.  Since this market has been languishing while the first-time-buyer program fuels our lowest end price ranges, sales like these show that there are buyers at every price range willing and able to buy if they feel confident that they are not overpaying for their home.

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Lake Norman photos

Lake Norman Real Estate’s August Calendar is here!

 Lake Norman Real Estate's Aug09 Wallpaper Calendar

 August in Lake Norman is the last month of summer before school starts and when most vacations come to an end.  It is a time for cooling off in the lake during the day, taking a kayak or canoe out in the cool mornings before the lake gets busy and a time to enjoy a glass of wine with friends as the sunset glows to the west.  This is life in Lake Norman at its best.

To make this your desktop calendar, go to the round button at the top of this site’s home page entitled: “Lake Norman Calendar”.  Click on this button and up will come an image of my Lake Norman photo wallpaper calender for August.  All you have to do is right click and select “set as background”.  Enjoy!

While I have great fun taking pictures of Lake Norman, I would love to use one of your favorite photos depicting life here in Lake Norman!. If you’d like to submit a photo for a future calendar, please send it to…

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Lake Norman Real Estate: The Times They are a Changing

Lake Norman is changing image

 Perhaps it is because of recent news images of the 1969 landing on the moon, or the death of Walter Cronkite and the famous clips of him in Vietnam, but for some reason as I read an article in Charlotte’s Business Todaynewspaper about local, upscale Lake Norman home-builder Simonini’s plans to modify their plans for the much touted Preserve at Robbins Park   to build more and smaller homes I was reminded of the old Peter Paul and Mary song:  The Times They are a Changing.

While this is a logical and pragmatic change, I was struck with a feeling that this is a sign that our current recession is more that just a short-term blip on the screen but rather a life-altering, philosophical and widespread change in our priorities and lifestyles.  “Nothing is selling at the $600,000 level so Simonini wants to build smaller homes–about a dozen or more than originally planned–on smaller losts, starting at $400,000”  according to project manager Rick Jasinski.

The price ranges for The Preserve at Robins Park were developed in 2003 through 2005 during the time when they purchased the land.  “The price point that we have is not selling as fast as in 2006 and 2007, ” CEo Ray Killian said in this same article.  In fact, Simonini acknowledges that there have been “no formal reservations at the Preserve at Robbins Park”.  (Construction began in 2008.  See my article:  ).

What I found the most telling is the fact that Simonini Builders is bringing in an architect from Newport Beach CA. to do “floorplan designs and construction drawings of smaller homes.  In California….Bassenian Logini works in partnership with builder and developer clients to create communities that appeal not only to future users but to builders seeking a competitive edge…”.  “Bassenian Lagoni’s expertise is in designing smaller, more functional, livable homes…”  So, this first phase of homes at The Preserve will include 2,500 – 3,000 square foot homes starting in the $400,000’s rather than the 4600 square foot homes starting in the $600,000s.

When my husband and I first moved to Lake Norman in 2005 from California we actually wanted a smaller home but there simply were none available.  Today, the most recent phase of  Crescent Resources The Farms on the Brawley School peninsula has 4000+ square foot spec homes sitting empty.  An entire group of 4000+ square feet of new homes in Northington Woods off Fernhill Rd are sitting, some bank owned, some unfinished.

Perhaps this recession will bring about some common sense changes in our Lake Norman communities as well as around the country.  Many of my out-of-state clients come here seeking reasonably sized homes but, just like me, end up buying a larger home than they needed because they were what was available.

I hope what will grow out of these difficult times will be high performance, energy efficient homes that are compatable with the environment, and with the future lifestyles that will emerge.  Perhaps they will resemble the times of Peter Paul and Mary, when home buyers expected to put down at least 20% and when a house purchase was not an investment but a home.

Learn More About Life in Lake Norman:

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman, Part 1

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Lake Norman Real Estate: Affordable Housing at The Point…Wow!

The Beautiful Entrance to The Point Lake Norman in Spring

 Affordable housing at The Point on Lake Norman?  It’s an oxymoron, or is it?  Thanks to its incredible reputation as THE upscale Lake Norman community, many home-buyers just assume that a home in The Point is out of their price range.

With their resort-like amenities including Trump National Golf Club, their Nantucket-inspired community complete with a tennis club, three swimming pools, a general store, The Tavern, large club house, full-time activities director and even their own cobbler, one tends to picture their magnificent waterfront estates dotting the shoreline of the Brawley Peninsula.

One of many grand waterfront estates in The Point Lake Norman

There is no doubt that with 18 miles of Lake Norman’s most beautiful shoreline, The Point has more than its share of multi-million dollar waterfront homes.

 

Typical charming entrance to a neighborhood in The Point, Lake Norman

Would it surprise you to know that there is a lovely ranch home on a waterview lot currently for sale for only $495,000? Now that’s affordable housing at The Point! In fact, as of today, there are 114 active listings in The Point.  While their average price is $1,338,142, there are 5 active listings under $600,000 and another 10 active listings under $700,000!  There is a total of 50 homes for sale in The Point under $1 million.

Well, this lovely home at The Point may not be affordable but some are!

A community that has a perception of being out of reach for most home buyers may actually be affordable after all!

How would you like the current scoop on the affordability of The Point?

It turns out that since this past January 1, 2009 only 19 homes have sold in The Point half of which sold for under $1 million.  Since their highs a few years ago, waterfront homes are now selling under $300 per square foot depending on the quality of the water.  With 38 months of supply of homes based upon current sales and inventory, we are seeing many price reductions and even foreclosures and short sales at The Point, something that would have been unheard of a few years ago.

Sure, these prices may not be affordable to all,  However, compared to their peak, this may be the best opportunity to buy in The Point before our Lake Norman housing market comes back to life AND the widening of Brawley School is completed.

RELATED ARTICLES

Is The Point Lake Norman’s Ultimate Community?

A Lake Norman Sanctuary: A Lake Home with a Craftsman Feel

Relocating to Mooresville NC

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

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Lake Norman News, Events and Celebrations, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman’s World Record Breaking Raft Up Party is July 25!

Lake Norman-Like Raft Up Party

Lake Norman is poised to set a new world record at the mega “Raft Up” party tomorrow, July 25th! And, this in not the first time as Lake Norman has long held the record for a Raft-Up until local officials thought it was too dangerous and stopped them in 2005.

If you are new to Lake Norman and/or aren’t settled here yet, you may be wondering exactly what is a  “Raft-Up”?.  Well, according to one Lake Norman local on the Lake Norman Sail and Power Squadron website a raft-up is:

Lots of fun with your boat sitting still in one place on the water!  Members bring their boats together at a selected location on the lake and tie together with an anchor boat. Then a really a great “cocktail party and dinner” on the water begins. We all share stories, food and beverages while enjoying the gentle rocking of the boats and possibly even some swimming.

This year’s “Lake Norman 2009 AquaPalooza” is free for all and runs from 10:00am – 4:00pm.  While the main attraction is the world record setting tying up of boats that will stretch from Lake Norman’s Midway Marina just south of  the NC 150 bridge south, there is a full day of fun planned including an on-the-water concert from 1-3pm by the Sponge Tones of Charlotte.  And, there will games for kids as well.

If you are brave enough to want to join the actual Raft Up, you can register your boat at the Aquapalooza website. I believe the current record is well over 1000 boats!  For more information you can also call Tom Riemann at 704.892.9676.  For some great photos, check out the Lake Norman Sail and Power Squadron website.  The event headquarters is Midway Marina at the 150 bridge.

So, if you love to party and love boating on Lake Norman, you simply can’t miss this day of fun and craziness.  Have fun but be safe!

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