Lake Norman waterfront homes, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman waterfront home at The Point

The ultimate dream of many people around the country and even beyond is to own a waterfront home on Lake Norman.  Whether a luxury estate or a small vacation cabin, waterfront homeowners all share our gorgeous lake and the special lifestyles that blend together to make Lake Norman so popular for such a wide variety of people.

Buying a waterfront home on Lake Norman isn’t a complicated process but it is extremely important that you start the process with a good understanding of the following and, if possible, at least read Duke Energy’s Shoreline Management Guidelines, the 130-page document I have linked at the bottom of this article.

Here are my thoughts:

1.  Private docks: is there one?

Private docks are highly regulated and must be permitted by Duke Energy.  Over the years the process has become much more restrictive so you will find that most homes that can have docks will have them in place and even most waterfront lots will already have permitted docks.  Without a private, permitted dock, the value of a waterfront property is significantly lower than the same property with a dock. That said, it you want to enjoy living on Lake Norman but your budget doesn’t allow for a waterfront home with a dock, look for the lower priced homes on the water without docks.  Most likely you can launch a kayak or canoe from your shoreline and still enjoy being on the lake!  To get a permit today, a waterfront lot must have a minimum 100′ of shoreline and meet other stipulations to gain approval from Duke Energy.  If you must get a permit, do so BEFORE closing!

2.  Look for Permit Plate:

If you are looking at waterfront homes with a dock, you should check to make sure there is a permit affixed to the end of the dock like this one:

Photo of an older dock permit fixed on a Lake Norman dock

3.  Measure depth of water and understand possible variations of lake levels

I always bring my tape measure when showing waterfront properties so that we can measure the depth of the water where your boat would be to make sure it has deep enough water for your type of boat etc. I check that morning to find out the current water level of Lake Norman so we can calculate the lowest and highest water depths of your pier/dock/boatslip.  The water levels of Lake Norman are controlled by Duke Energy and vary from full pond, 100′ (760′ above sea level) down to about 94′.  They use the dam at the south end of the lake to help regulate the water levels.

4.  50′ Setback

The most recent regulations established in 2006 establish a 50′ setback from the 760 line.  Within this 50′ setback from the lake to your home there are strict regulations outlined in detail in the Shoreline Management Guidelines.  They are meant to protect the 50′ closest to the lake by prohibiting removal of trees and native vegetation, planting of lawns, and size of footpaths.  Older properties may violate these rules but they are “grandfathered in”.

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Gorgeous Aerial Photo of Lake Norman

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lake norman real estate

Lake Norman Real Estate’s February Calendar is Here!

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Mooresville Home Sales are HOT!

I had a friend ask me if I would do a sales analysis of Mooresville’s 28115 zip code because this area is not a part of my Lake Norman market reports.  I said sure!  Just to clarify, area 28115 is almost entirely the Town of Mooresville and is east of I-77.  Almost all of the portion of Mooresville on the Lake Norman side of I-77,  which has zip code 28117,  is considered Mooresville but is actually in Iredell County and does not receive any services like sewer, water etc. from The Town of Mooresville.  The Town of Mooresville even has a separate school system.  Confusing? Yep!

First, I took a look at their total annual sales comparing 2016 to 2015:

Town of Mooresville Market Report 2016 vs 2015

*All date is from the Charlotte Multiple Listing service

So, as you can see, Mooresville’s number of homes sold in 2016 was 14% higher than 2015, the average sales price was 8% higher than 2015 but the days on the market was just about identical.

Next, let’s take a look at the past 6 months in more detail:

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s January 2017 Hot Sheet is Here!

Lake Norman Hot Sheet Home Sales

Want the very latest insight into our Lake Norman real estate market? So do I which is why, every month, I do a snapshot analysis of the middle two weeks of the month to get a sense of where we are at this very moment…an almost live insight into the heartbeat of the Lake Norman housing market.

I always get excited to do this Hot Sheet analysis each month because it provides me with the mid-month pulse of our Lake Norman real estate market.  So where are we today?  The numbers below actually make me a bit nervous for the first time in months. There are some positives but our actual closed and pending sales indicate that our closed sales in January will struggle to meet last year’s.  Let’s take a closer look:

Lake Norman Real Estate’s January 2016 Two-Week Hot Sheet

Lake Norman real estate hot sheet market report

* 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. These numbers represent a real time snapshot of the past two week’s activity. (January 7th – 21st.  As always, I have included the past 6 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective. Below is the January chart using my data since 2009.

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s 4th Quarter 2016 Price Range Analysis: Great Tool for Buyers and Sellers!

If you are a home buyer or seller in the Lake Norman area it really only matters what is happening in YOUR price-range. Yes, it is important to know about the global economy, the national economy and the Charlotte area economy and real estate market but real estate is hyper-local so it is most meaningful to learn about the Lake Norman real estate market and within that, your specific niche. For instance, if you are looking to buy or sell in the $700,000 price range, you are going to have an entirely different experience than someone in the $800,000’s. This is the reason why I create a price-range analysis every quarter for my readers:

Lake Norman’s 4th Quarter 2016 Home Sales By Price Range

LLake Norman home sales by price range for 4th Quarter 2016

*Compiled from the Carolina Multiple Listing Service’s data, this chart enables you to focus on your specific price range(s) rather than use the broad-brush approach thus allowing you to size up your competition and better position yourself.  

How to read this report:

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Waterfront Home Sales 2005-2016: Interesting Insights!

Waterfront homes are a part of what makes Lake Norman so popular.  What an amazing lifestyle they offer!  Yet, during most of 2016  I once again noted, well complained, in my monthly Lake Norman market reports about our mercurial sales in luxury homes, the lack of inventory of good waterfront homes in the under $1 million price ranges and the historically low number of sales of waterfront homes as a percentage of our overall Lake Norman real estate market.  So, what is up with waterfront homes?  Now that 2016 is in the books I have put our 2016 waterfront home sales numbers in context with the past 11 years.  The results are really fascinating if you like numbers!  Let’s take a closer look:

Lake Norman Waterfront Homes Sales 2005 – 2016

Lake Norman waterfront home sales chart by year

*All date is compiled using the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service

A closer look by vertical columns of this chart:

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s December 2016 Market Report: It’s a Wrap!

Thanks to another strong month, our Lake Norman real estate market ended 2016 with a healthy 6.8% increase in single family home sales versus 2015 and the highest number of annual home sales since 2005!  While our December sales only beat out last December’s by single digits, we still ended with 6 of the 7 final months of 2016 beating 2015 numbers handily. The cherry on top again this month is that the number of new contracts once again are higher than the past two years indicating that we should begin 2017 in the black. Let’s take a closer look:

Lake Norman real estate market report December 2916

* All data is from the Carolina Multiple Listing Service.

Some significant additional statistics for you:

  • Waterfront homes continue to under perform despite Lake Norman’s overall high sales numbers. Waterfront properties represented only 26.6% of our December closed sales,. At the same time they currently comprise 40.7% of our active listings. The average sales price of a waterfront home in December was $886,643 which is slightly higher than the past 2 months but well below August’s $1,040,070, July’s $912,446.  Our overall luxury housing market remains soft as well which is linked closely to our waterfront market. The average price per square foot of our waterfront homes came in at $226.00 down from last month’s impressive $252.94 and October’s $237.98. This number is best averaged over a longer period of months because it only takes one or two really expensive sales ($2- 3 million+) to skew any given month. It took on average whopping 162 days for a waterfront home to sell (verses 108 last month)and they sold for only 93% of the listing price compared to 96% last month. We currently have only 49 waterfront homes under contract comprising 26.7% of our total homes under contract.  Our waterfront homes’ months of inventory actually dropped down to 8.8 compared to 11 last month. Waterfront home sales are still in a buyer’s market.  These numbers certainly indicate that now would be a good time to by a waterfront home.  That said, this varies quite a bit by price range, location and quality of water.  Don’t be complacent because when really nice waterfront properties hit the MLS as they are actually selling quickly.
  • 29 new construction homes closed in December through our MLS but this does not reflect an accurate picture of new home sales since so many are custom or are purchased directly from the builders and therefore never enter the MLS. (In fact, this segment of the market may be skewing our Lake Norman home sales numbers quite a bit.) The average listing price vs sales price of new construction single family homes was 99%. There is still very little if any wiggle room in new home prices. (But ask for all those great upgrades!) We currently have 75 new construction homes under contract in the MLS. The average sales price in December logged in at $391,829.  The months of supply of active listings based on December sales stands at 7.1 so overall new construction homes are technically in a buyer’s market but again this varies greatly by location and price range.
  • Distressed sales” (Foreclosures (REO’S), defaults, Short Sales) represented 1.5% of Lake Norman’s total  home sales. With just 2 distressed closed sale for the entire month it is clear they didn’t play a role in December at all.  Distressed active listings currently comprise 2.1% of Lake Norman’s current total inventory of single family homes for sales. Distressed sales continue to play an insignificant role in our Lake Norman real estate market. 
  • 50.0% of Lake Norman’s December single family home sales were under $400,000 which is about equal to last month’s.
  •  68.8% of Lake Norman home sales in December were under $500,000, which is a bit higher than last month’s.
  • Our “Under Contract Show” AND “Under Contract No show”/Pending sales combined total of 183 is once again higher than that past two years at this same date but not as much of a difference than prior months this fall. We have 4% more properties under contract than at the same time in 2015 and 18.8% more than January 6, 2014. We are on pace to have a relatively good start to 2017.

A closer look at the chart:

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