lake norman real estate

Putting the Lake Norman Real Estate Market in Perspective isn’t Easy!

I was recently reading a national real estate news article that explained that todays’ monthly mortgage payments are 40% cheaper than 2006.  This is a fascinating perspective of how to evaluate the true cost of a home today compared to our peak of 2006.

The article went on to say that “Although affordability has increased….housing demand remains depressed with existing home sales back to 1998 levels.”

Of course, I had to see if these is true of our Lake Norman real estate market and here is what I found:

Lake Norman Annual Sales Analysis by year

* Note that our 2011 numbers are through today and I expect them to equal 2010.

Insight Summary Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s October 2011 Sales Analysis: A GREAT month but….

Our Lake Norman real estate market has been on a positive roll since June culminating in a rather impressive October with 81 closed sales, a number that matches the best October in Lake Norman home sales since 2007!  (I have been expecting this to be the case for several months due to our high pending home sales numbers).

So, why I am not jumping up and down with enthusiasm?  Because I am more focused on our future numbers and our active price ranges.  As you will see below, our conditonal and pending home sales are lower than at the same time last year indicating a slow-down in November and even December sales.  And, a larger portion of our sales are at the bottom of our price ranges.

Here are  the October numbers from our Charlotte Multiple Listing Service for our Lake Norman area real estate market:

 

 

Some significant additional interesting statistics for you: Continue reading

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Economic News Provides Insight into the Future of Lake Norman Real Estate

Lake Norman real estate's future

Looking at a variety of local and state economic and business news is an important component of gaining insight into the future direction of our Lake Norman real estate market.  I collect such data from various news sources for several months and then share them with you in one blog post with the goal of helping you get a better understanding of the bigger picture in our area’s economy.  This stack of data shows some glimmer of hope: Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Estate Just Got Better!

 

My reason for creating this Lake Norman Real Estate blog from the its inception in May of 2007  was and still is all about providing you with as much information and data as possible to help you make an informed decision when buying or selling a home in Lake Norman.

While I don’t talk a lot about our Property Search feature, I chose the company providing this program because they are local, innovative and provide great customer service.

Two of my favorite features are the “Neighborhood Analyzer” and “Research” tools.  I have discussed the “Research” tool in previous articles but as a reminder, once you do a home search and have specific property results, click on any of the properties for the details page.  Once on the details page you will see the word “Research” in bold dark red  just to the right of the listing price. Up will pop three options: Continue reading

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Remodeling or Buying a Lake Norman Home? Granite is Great, But Think Energy Efficiency!

Lake Norman Green Homes

Like it or not, most homeowners and home buyers, whether in Lake Norman or elsewhere in the U.S. think of a house as an investment, not just a home.  In the short term, I counsel prospective sellers to make their properties move-in ready since most buyers these days are not willing to do much in the way of remodeling or even painting of their new home.

There is no doubt, however, that the future of housing construction, once it is back in full force, will focus on energy efficiency, sustainable resources and other “green” components of a home.  Other cities in the country, from Portland Oregon to Austin Texas to Asheville NC, are way ahead of Lake Norman in their focus and incorporation of energy efficiency and construction of “high performance” homes.  It only stands to reason that the Lake Norman real estate market and Lake Norman home builders will be greatly impacted in the future by these growing global housing trends.

So why not get yourself one step ahead of the game as we wait for the economy to improve?  Here are some great thoughts and statistics from a recent article on the Green Building Advisor website:

  • Investing in energy efficiency upgrades in your home should be included in your investment portfolio and future planning
  • The average annual increase in energy prices (of all kinds) has been 6.33%
  • The Consumer Price Index has only risen at an annual rate of 1.54% (Used to determine annual Social Security increases)
  • Energy prices increase faster than Social Security payouts
  • Drastically reducing energy demand can be an important hedge

Continue reading

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lake norman real estate

North Carolina’s Credit Rating is Still AAA

 

Our Lake Norman real estate market has one more  positive thing going for it in these turbulent times; our North Carolina credit ratings remain at AAA  with Standard and Poor’s as well as the two there ratings firms Moody’s and Fitch!

According to a recent article in The News Observer, staff writer David Ranii wrote that our state Treasurer, Janet Cowell, “is cautiously optimistic that is will remain that way…Cowel said in an interview Tuesday that her office has received no indication from any of the rating firms that they are contemplating a change in the state’s ratings.”

It went on to say that “several weeks ago Moody’s reviewed all of the states that it rates AAA but ending its scrutiny of North Carolina without making a change.” Continue reading

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Is Lake Norman Real Estate Ready for QR Codes?

Lake Norman QR code for waterfront home for saleChances are that if you are reading this you fall in to one of two camps:

There are those of you who look knowing at the symbol above, probably own a smart phone with an app to read QR Codes and wonder why I am bothering to write about them.

Then there are the majority of you who may never have heard the term QR Code but vaguely recognize this type of bar code and wonder what the heck it has to do with Lake Norman real estate!

According to Wikipedia: A QR code (abbreviated from Quick Response code) is a specific matrix barcode (or two-dimensional code) that is readable by dedicated QR readers, smartphones, and, to a less common extent, computers with webcams. The code consists of black modules arranged in a square pattern on a white background. The information encoded may be text, URL, or other data.

I (and some other Lake Norman area real estate agents as well as many throughout the US) have started using QR Codes on my listing flyers in front of the properties so that folks driving by can simply scan the QR Code like the one above, and almost instantly get to the website I created for that property with multiple photos and all of the data about the property that they could possibly want up front.  It is predicted that QR Codes will be used consistently in real estate once everyone catches on. Continue reading

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lake norman real estate

A glimpse into post-recession Lake Norman real estate

With more and more frequency I am being asked by potential Lake Norman home buyers about the future expectations and direction of our local economy.  Are Lake Norman, Charlotte and even the State of North Carolina seen as a good place to invest in the long term?  Where are our local and regional economies headed?

The good news is that this is indeed the silver lining for our Lake Norman real estate market during this economic downturn.  Lake Norman communities, Charlotte and North Carolina are all predicted to be popular destinations for future businesses and to experience continual population growth in the years to come.  I base this on a number of recent articles from a variety of sources as well as my own observations over the past 6 years.   Here are some of the most relevant about Charlotte and North Carolina and some older articles I have written about Lake Norman growth and development that are still relevant: Continue reading

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Lake Norman Area is Growing and Improving Despite Economy!

While  the Lake Norman real estate market is still struggling, there are some very exciting developments and amenities under construction or about break ground; a welcome sign for our communities!

According to a   WCNC News Release, construction is scheduled to begin in May on the  “Fountains at Mooresville Town Square, a 227-unit, $23 million luxury apartment community located at the corner of Brawley School and Williamson Rd.  This newer project is already home to some wonderful restaurants and boutiques including Fusion Bowl, JJ’s Deli, Cartucci’s, NY Bagel and Deli, Lavendar Boutique and Sweet Grass.  The new apartment community will include a salt-water swimming pool, courtyard, fire pit and grilling area, and a 5,000 sq ft clubhouse.

Also in the news today in the Mooresville Tribune is a great update about two truly awesome sports complexes that are nearing completion: The soccer/baseball complex on Mazeppa Road (Mazeppa Road Park) and Cornelius Rd. (Cornelius Road Park). Mazeppa Road Park will open on Labor Day with two artificial turf soccer fields, four grass soccer fields, three adult softball fields and an adult baseball field.  It will also have a one-mile walking trail and two large playgrounds. The Cornelius Road Park, opening later this fall, will have 6 tennis courts, two youth baseball fields, expansive picnic grounds and walking trails. Add to these the “America’s Park” 25-field youth baseball complex that will serve as host to hundreds of teams from all over the United States and Canada in June, July and August and Mooresville is fastly become THE place for sports of all kinds in addition to our car racing!

Related Articles

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Business of the Week: La Patisserie Cafe and Bakery

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s 1st Quarter 2011 Price Range Analysis

Every quarter I create this price range analysis for the Lake Norman real estate market in an effort to provide insight into our Lake Norman housing market by niche for both buyers and sellers:

 

 

Compiled from the Charlotte Regional 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:

  • First choose a price range.
  • The next column provides the actual number of listings sold in this price range in the 4th quarter of 2010
  • This is followed by the percentage this price range represents of the total number of listings sold
  • Next is the number of active listings in this price range
  • This is followed by the percentage this price range represents of the total number of active listings
  • Finally, the last column represent the absorption rate or the number of months of supply for each price range based upon the number of listings divided by the number of sales.
  • To compare these to the same period of 2009 please see the chart below

Findings: Continue reading

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The Point in Lake Norman; An 11-Year Real Estate Sales Analysis

The Point Luxury Waterfront  Community in 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 shoreline.

Exactly one year ago I did a sales analysis of  The Point for a client looking for insight into trends as well as an accurate assessment of the current market. But, how did this same luxury community fare in the past 12 months? You may be interested to find out they did and are doing quite well…  But at what price?  Here are the answers:

 12-Month Sales By Price Range

*All data is from the Charlotte Regional Multiple Listing Service only and does not include sales that were not conducted through our MLS

Probably the most shocking number of all in the above chart of sales in The Point for the last 12 months is that there was one sale in the $300,000’s and 14 total sales under $600,000! In fact, this niche accounted for 27% of the annual sales. Almost HALF of the total number of homes sold in The Point were under $800,000. Of course, many of these were distressed sales of inventory left over from our peak building market of 2006/2007.  Note that while this niche represented 46.5% of the sales it represents only 29.3% of the current inventory. Continue reading

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lake norman real estate

Suddenly Our Lake Norman Real Estate Market is Hot!

There has been such a dramatic shift in our Lake Norman real estate market in the past 3 weeks that I decided I needed to provide you all with a quick update.

As of the time that I am writing this we now have a whopping 102 Lake Norman properties  reported as Active/Due Diligence or Conditional.  These are properties that just went under contract.  I just pulled a Hot Sheet for the the past 2 days and 15 properties went under contract!  To put this in perspective, we closed a total of 42 sales in the entire month of February and 46 in January.

I looked back at my 2010 sales analysis and couldn’t  find one month that could even come close to this many Conditional sales although in our peak months our Pending sales were over 100. Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Estate News: Foreclosures, Mortgage Delinquencies and More!

 Prompted by a great article I read today on Forbes.com:   The Foreclosure Fallacy  I decided it was time once again for me to tackle the ever growing pile of information, mostly about our national and Lake Norman housing market, that is in a stack on my desk I call “Blog Topics”.  Most of these are not worthy of their own post so I will share a quick summary of a number of them here at one time:

National:

  •  The Foreclosure Fallacy  is wonderful in its simplicity.  In one short article they touch on all of the major issues related to foreclosures from the risks involved to the sage advice from one Detroit area broker:  “Don’t be too picky.  A lot of houses will need work.”  I have mentioned in previous posts the importance of being willing to “compromise” if you are search for a bargain.  So true!
  • Standard & Poors: Modifications and Slower Foreclosures Shrink Shadow Inventory article in the Wall Street Journal was one of many referencing the release of Standard & Poor’s  yearly report.  (S&P defines shadow inventory as properties with borrowers who are 90 days or more delinquent on their mortgage payments).  One disconcerting figure in this article:  “The time it takes for a lender to foreclose on a borrower has lengthened—from about 20 months to about 40—”. The amount of Shadow Inventory here in Lake Norman is one of the biggest unknowns that keeps home-buyers uncertain about when to move forward with a purchase.
  • The Mortgage Bankers Association released a report today, February 18th, that says that the percentage of mortgage holders who are behind in their payments dropped to the lowest number in two years in the fourth quarter of 2010.  “While delinquency and foreclosure rates are still well above historical norms, we have clearly turned the corner in the foreclosure crisis” according to MBA Chief Economist Jay Brinkman in a statement.
  • There have been numerous articles recently about the death of the “McMansion Era”.  According to both the National Association of Realtors and the National Association of Home Builders the “median sized home being built today is smaller” and the future trends will be towards smaller, more energy efficient homes. Will the 8000 sq ft+ homes on Lake Norman one day be obsolete?  Probably not but it will be interesting to watch!

Local: Continue reading

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lake norman real estate, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate: Waterfront Home Price Update, Part 1

 

 

Most people considering a move to our Lake Norman area are hoping to find a great waterfront home for an incredible bargain.  But, unless they keep up with our Lake Norman waterfront home sales on a regular basis it is hard for most newcomers to know what is available in their price range and if their goals are realistic.  Yes, many folks think that they can get a newer construction home on a lot with open water views, a private dock with deep water for $600,000.  But, is this possible?

In order to paint a very clear picture of our Lake Norman waterfront housing market, I have decided to break this process into two parts:

  • Part 1: An analysis by price range of Lake Norman waterfront home sales in the past 4 month (Oct 1, 2010 – Jan. 31, 2011)
  • Part 2: A description by price range of waterfront homes currently available for sale in our entire Lake Norman area.

Part 1

* Date is from the Charlotte Regional Multiple Listing Service

Above is a chart of our Lake Norman waterfront home sales for the past 4 months and the current number of active waterfront listings in these price ranges.  Let’s take a closer look: Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Esate: Property Tax Re-Assessment Update 2011

Lake Norman Real Estate Tax Update

 The Iredell County tax assessor’s office is still about a month away from finalizing its study on property taxes according to a recent article in the Mooresville Tribune.  Questions about North Carolina’s property tax laws and our Lake Norman area tax rates is one of the most frequently asked by my buyers so here is a brief overview of the system as well as an update on 2011.

  • North Carolina law states that all real (real estate) property is subject to ad valorem property taxation meaning a tax is levied on property according to its (market) value. 
  • While the state of North Carolina regulates the taxation guidelines, the basic unit for the actual administration and collection of tax is the county.
  • Cities and towns are also authorized by statute to tax real property
  • Real property is reappraised every 8 years
  • Counties are authorized to make a “horizontal adjustment” in the 4th year of the 8 year readjustment period.  A horizontal adjustment is meant to bring property values in line with current values by the “uniform” application of a percentage of increase or reduction to the appraised values within certain categories or areas.
  • A tax assessment is like a “mass appraisal” of an area as opposed to an individual property

Okay, so very simply this means that 2011 is our 4-year horizontal adjustment period and our Lake Norman counties are finalizing this process that will impact our 2011 property tax bills.

“The trend, in general, is flat to down,” according to Iredell County Tax Assessor Steve Ervin in the Mooresville Tribune article.  However, he went on to say that while property owners may be expecting a dramatic plunge in values, they will not see this due to his analysis which seems to find more optimism in our Iredell County home values.

Probably the most interesting comment was that Iredell County real estate values are at about 2003 levels.

One final note of caution, in the next month or so we will all be receiving a “Notice of Value”.  However, “the actual tax on our properties is a decision of elected officials when they adopt budgets and set tax rates in June of each year” stated Mr. Ervin.  So, we won’t know our new tax rate until our new tax bills are mailed in August.

I hope this information is helpful.  I tried to quote the exact verbiage for accuracy but it may make it sound more confusing than it actually is.

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Lake Norman Foreclosures, Short Sales and Green Homes, Search Here!

  60 Things About Lake Norman that the Tour Guides Won’t Tell You!

60 Things About Lake Norman that the Tour Guides Won’t Tell You, Part 2

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s Predictions for 2011

 

Once again I will go out on a limb and share my thoughts for the upcoming Lake Norman real estate market in 2011.  If we look back at last year’s predictions ( See my 2010 predictions ) I do believe that I anticipated more of a “turning point” than we actually experienced.  In 2010, the only turning point was our sales volume which, while not inconsequential, was not entirely what I had in mind for our local Lake Norman housing market.

 So, exactly what can we expect to see in our Lake Norman housing market in 2011?  Quite simply: “more of the same”.  Bargains, foreclosures and shortsales will dominate our market sales but we will continue to see tiny incremental improvements.  Before I go into more detail, let’s look at the larger issues that will impact our local market.

The Big Picture:

Unlike last year when financial institutions and the national financial issues like the foreclosure freezes, rebate incentives and actions by FHA and the Federal Reserve dominated the national housing market, this year it is all about jobs, consumer confidence and business spending.

  •  Most economists seem to agree that our country will experience a modest 3% growth  in 2011
  • Interest rates will remain low; hovering around 5%.  (They are back down this week after a few weeks of increases due to concerns about inflation.)
  • Home loans will continue to be a very challenging process and will play a role in hindering  the ability for our housing market to improve
  • Like last year, only a modest rebound in housing starts is expected.  Builders who have survived are still finding it nearly impossible to get loans for new projects and spec building is almost not existent.  The National Association of Home Builders is projecting a 21% increase in new housing but is quick to qualify that this is not a significant number.  They do predict that 2011 will be the year the national housing prices should hit their bottom.
  •  A “weak recovery” in our national economy means that the jobless rate will remain “uncomfortably high” and unemployment trends will “dominate how Americans feel about the economy.”
  • National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun said:  “There will be two steps forward, one step back, with sizable local market differences…”  He goes on to predict a slight increase in home sales nationally.
  • Altos Research predicts that housing prices nationally will drop 5 to 10% and finally hit bottom.

Watch for:

  • False bottoms and starts and stops
  • Jobs
  • Foreclosure delays as banks sit on them due to the cost of processing
  • Local housing inventory levels. Potential “shadow” inventory hitting the market and driving the number of homes for sale up and demand down
  • Lending standards and potential changes to regulations from Washington
  • International economic issues like Europe’s currency dilemma and China’s trade growth/manipulation

Regionally:

Our Lake Norman housing market is also going to be impacted significantly by regional economic components, especially jobs.

  • North Carolina’s economic conditions are expected to improve in 2011.  This was a theme of the Economic Forecast Forum in Rearch Triangle Park according to an article in News Observer on January 3rd. However, they also acknowledged that North Carolina suffers more than most from the national decline of industrial jobs.
  • North Carolina is still a destination for many from around the country.  In 2010 North Carolina rose to 3rd place on the list of migration to rather than from the state.
  • Jobs play a huge role in our recovery.  Unemployment rates in Mecklenburg and Iredell Counties remain higher than the state average.  Everyone agrees that we must see improvement in our unemployment numbers before we will see any significant change in our housing market. 

 My Predictions: Continue reading

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lake norman real estate, Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s 4th Quarter 2010 Price Range Analysis

Every quarter I try to create this price range analysis for the Lake Norman real estate market because it provides invaluable insight for both buyers and sellers: 

Compiled from the Charlotte Regional 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:

  • First choose a price range.
  • The next column provides the actual number of listings sold in this price range in the 4th quarter of 2010
  • This is followed by the percentage this price range represents of the total number of listings sold
  • Next is the number of active listings in this price range
  • This is followed by the percentage this price range represents of the total number of active listings
  • Finally, the last column represent the absorption rate or the number of months of supply for each price range based upon the number of listings divided by the number of sales.
  • To compare these to the same period of 2009 please see the chart below

Findings: Continue reading

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lake norman real estate

Lake Norman Real Estate: Are We Getting the Year-End Bump?

 

There are some fascinating numbers and micro trends going on right now in our Lake Norman real estate market.

As was the case last December,  the current MLS data suggests we are in for a pretty good month. But, let’s take a closer look:

  • Many banks want their shortsales and foreclosures off their books by the end of the year.  I have a waterfront shortsale listing where we have had a low-ball offer sitting on the table for quite a while until suddenly two days ago the bank said to take it if they will close by December 31st.
  • We have closed 38 sales already this month and have 83 Pending sales which may lead to even higher sales than last December’s 70 and definitely much stronger than December 2008’s 58 and December 2007’s 64.
  • I just took a look at the list of our Pending sales and was surprised to see how many of the waterfront properties that have been sitting for several years are now under contract!  We are definitely clearing out our inventory of waterfront homes and few new ones are coming on to take their places.
  • There are currently 32 Crescent Community homes under contract the most impressive being 12 in The Point!  8 of these 12 are $800,000 – $1673,000.

I have been telling my waterfront buyers that this winter is the time to seriously consider getting off the fence and I feel this more strongly today than ever.  Interest rates are creeping up, our overall Lake Norman inventory of active homes for sale is down to a low of 1114 and is still falling, and many of the homes that have been sitting on the market for years are now selling.

My concern is that even if our market continues to struggle through 2011 and into 2012 that there simply won’t be many “bargain” waterfront homes with good water left to choose from.  Even now there are slim pickings in some price ranges compared to last year at this time.  My gut is saying: Carpe Diem!

Related Articles

Lake Norman, Our Inland Sea 

Lake Norman Relocation Resources 

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Lake Norman Real Estate adds new “Absorption Rate” tool!

Lake Norman real estate, months of supply

Now YOU can calculate the “months’ of supply” data for just about every neighborhood in the Lake Norman area right here, 24/7!

If you look  on the homepage under Lake Norman Real Estate Tools , you will see a new button: Calculate Months of Supply.  When you click on this link you will find a blank box where you can type in any neighborhood or subdivision found in our Charlotte  Regional Multiple Listing Service.  Once you start typing it will auto-prompt some options for you.  When you are finished, simply click on “Show me Stats” and up will pop a chart with the number of sales, the number of active listings and the months of supply.  VERY COOL!

If you are a regular reader, you will know that I calculate the “months of supply” or what is officially called the “absorption rate” of our Lake Norman housing market every time I do any kind of market analysis. This is because it is one of the best barometers of any real estate market, locally or nationally.

 Simply put, the Absorption Rate is a basic mathematical formula used to determine how many months it will take to sell the current number of active listings based upon the present rate of sales.

Economists say that a balanced housing market should have 6-8 months of supply of active listings. An absorption rate higher than 8 months would indicate a buyers’ market.  An absorption rate lower than 6 months would indicate a sellers’ market. 

How to manually calculate the absorption rate:

Take the number of homes currently on the market and divide by the most recent 30-day number of sales.

Example:

Our number of currently active listings in Lake Norman is 1150.  We sold 65 homes this month so:

1150 divided by 65 = 17.7 months of supply

Clearly in this example we are in a very strong buyers’ market.

If you have any questions please feel free to email me:  diane@dianeaurit.com.

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Lake Norman Real Estate sets the record straight!

 

I was reading my daily real estate news from InmanNews.com yesterday (Friday, October 22nd) when I came across an error so ludicrous that I just wrote ZipRealty demanding a correction.  In the article: “Divide shrinks between ‘hottest,’ ‘coldest’ markets”, InmanNews summarized ZipRealty’s third quarter “Home Hunter Report” in which ZipRealty lists Lake Norman (Statesville) NC ZIP Code 28677 at the very TOP “of their coldest ZIP codes “with the lowest sales-to-list-ratios”.

Of course, anyone who knows Lake Norman well knows that 28677 is not one of our ZIP codes and that with the exception of a sliver of homes on the northeast corner of Lake Norman’s shoreline, Statesville is not associated with Lake Norman.

I did some research on our MLS, the very MLS that ZipRealty claims to have used for their analysis, and found these numbers:

  • In the third quarter of 2010 in ZIP code 28677 there were a total of 58 sales, only THREE of which were in our Charlotte MLS designated Area 13 for Lake Norman.  Most of the homes that sold in this ZIP code were actually in Historic Downtown Statesville which is MLS area 12/1.

 

  • The ZipRealty report claims that Lake Norman (Statesville), NC had an 87.4% average List to Sale.  They report that the average List Price for this area was $121,829 and the average Sale Price was $111,872.  Wouldn’t we love to have Lake Norman homes in this price range????

So, once I had established that ZipRealty’s numbers were totally wrong, I decided to figure out the actual numbers for our Lake Norman real estate market in the third quarter:

  • Lake Norman’s Average List Price was: $470,099
  • Lake Norman’s Average Sale Price was: $446,630
  • Lake Norman’s % of List Price was, in fact, 95.3%…a far cry from $87.4%!

This is yet another example of the risks of using national real estate news sources to evaluate our Lake Norman real estate market.  Yes, Case-Shiller and others are good resources for gaining a greater understanding of the big picture real estate trends but if one truly wants to evaluate the Lake Norman real estate market it is important to study our local MLS statistics and not rely on reports like this one by ZipRealty.

Okay, I’ll get off of my soapbox now:)

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How is the foreclosure freeze impacting Lake Norman Real Estate?

Lake Norman's freezing of foreclosures

 Last week I called our Centralized Showing Service to make appointments to show properties in our Lake Norman area for one of my buyers.  Two of the properties were foreclosures.  I got a call from one of the listing agents letting me know that I wasn’t able to show the property because the bank had pulled it off of the market that very day and that he had absolutely no idea what was going on.

I was able to show the second bank-owned property and my buyer wrote up an offer.  When I submitted it on the 13th (last Wednesday) I was told by the listing agent’s staff that they had no idea when we would hear back.  (Normally a bank will respond in 24-48 hours).  A few hours later I got a call for the listing agent telling me that the offer had been rejected and no offers would be reviewed or accepted until GMAC released the property.  He told me his crystal ball had fallen off his desk and shattered so he had no idea when it would be available.  At least he had a sense of humor about the whole thing!

This is the reality of most of the foreclosures in our Lake Norman real estate market.  Right now, foreclosures or REO (real estate owned) properties make up 18% of our Conditional Sales, 29% of our Contingent Sales, 35% of our Pending Sales and 20% of the closed sales in the past month. Will most of the active contracts be cancelled? Continue reading

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Lake Norman Foreclosures, Shortsales, Green Homes: Search here!

Lake Norman’s Charlotte Multiple Listing Service made a exciting announcement this week and YOU are going to benefit the most!

They are officially expanding the currently allowable search parameters for consumers to include the following criteria:

Special Conditions:

  • Bankruptcy
  • Estate
  • In Foreclosure Process
  • Subject to Court Approval
  • REO (Real Estate owned or Lender Owned)
  • HUD
  • VA
  • Short Sale/Subject to Lender Approval
  • Relocation

And, for the growing emphasis on “Green” housing, they are also adding the following criteria:

Green Certifications:

  • LEED home
  • Energy Star
  • Environments for Living
  • EarthCraft House
  • NC Healthy Built Homes
  • NAHB( National Association of Home Builders) National Green Building Standard

Energy Efficiency Rating:

  • HERS (Home Energy Rating) Index

Every real estate website has a choice of what they will offer to their readers.  In keeping with my Lake Norman Real Estate’s effort to provide as much data on our Lake Norman housing market as possible, you will be able to search for all of the above criteria starting today, September 20th which is the first day it is available!

Don’t forget that you can search sales data by clicking on the “Research” button on each listing as well.

Progress is exciting!

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s How Green Is Your Home

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How are Lake Norman’s Crescent Communities Faring in 2010?

Entrance to The Point, Luxury Waterfront Lake Norman Community

 On June 10th, 2009 we got some stunning news regarding our Lake Norman real estate market.  Mega developer Crescent Resources LLC announced that they had filed for Chapter 11.  Crescent Resources, a joint venture between Duke Energy and Morgan Stanley Real Estate Fund, has been responsible for creating and developing Lake Norman’s most prestigious and popular communities including The Point, The Peninsula, The Harbour at The Pointe, The Farms, Sailview,Northview Harbour and their latest venture Falls Cove.

It wasn’t until July 15th 2010 that Crescent Communities broke their silence and sent out a news alert to Realtors announcing that they had emerged from their Chapter 11 Bankruptcy on June 9, 2010, touting their still developing communities of  The Point and The Farms and announcing some interesting changes and news regarding their struggling, newest venture, Falls Cove located north of Mooresville. Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s Business News Update July 2010

 

 

Every once-in-a-while I write an eclectic article for my readers with miscellaneous business and real estate news that has accumulated in a stack by my desk.  Here is just such an update!

North Carolina and Lake Norman Area Business:

  • North Carolina ranks fourth in CNBC’s recent survey:  America’s Top States for Business:  The Charlotte Business Journal ran an article on July 13th.
  • The Palm City Florida based firm Policom recently ranked the Statesville-Mooresville area 15th among 576 Micropolitans nationwide in terms of economic strength according to a recent article in The Statesville Record and Landmark Newspaper.
  • Today’s Mooresville Tribune says that the Iredell County jobless rate dropped to 11.6%
  • Lennar,one of the nation’s leading home-builders, recently announced that they will be building town-homes in a brand new community in Cornelius adjacent to Harborside.  It will be called Harborside At Lake Norman

Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s Home Search has new features!

 For those of you who use our  home search function on this Lake Norman Real Estate site, you will notice a few improvements and additions this week!

Thanks to feedback from readers and the conversion of our Charlotte Regional Multiple Listing Service to “TEMPO 5” several weeks ago, we can now offer even better tools for your Lake Norman area  home search:

  • You can now search by “Subtype”.  If you are looking for a ranch, a two-story or various options like these, you can now narrow your search by choosing the subtype category
  • Master Bedroom Downstairs has been added to the “Features”  section.  For example, you can search for a waterfront property with a master on the  main level.  About 50% of home buyers in our Lake Norman area are looking for a Master on the main level!
  • Up to 16 photos per property are now available instead of the prior limit of 8.  Of course, the number of photos depends on the number the listing agent inputs into our MLS but this is a great improvement!

Please let me know if you have any other ideas about how to make our home search program better!

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Lake Norman Real Estate: Is Mooresville Really Bucking the Recession?

Lake Norman isn't following the leader!

The other day I was finally able to try out one of Historic Downtown Mooresville’s latest additions;  JJ Wasabi’s …”An Asian Grill with an American Flairwhich has the same great food and fun atmosphere as its highly successful big sister “Joel’s Asian Grill & Sushi”  located on the Lake Norman side of Mooresville.  As I watched the young, rather hip looking staff dart from table to table I was struck by the diversity of the diners and the vibrant atmosphere that had been lacking in Downtown Mooresville since long before I moved to Lake Norman in 2005.

I remember my husband and my’s very first visit to Mooresville.  It was 3pm and we couldn’t find one place to even have a sandwich in our Historic Downtown!  Today, thanks to the tireless efforts of  the Town of Mooresville, investor/developer Howard Kosofsky and other passionate local residents, JJ Wasabi’s joins other exciting new businesses that have recently opened in Downtown including a mouth-watering bakery:  The Whirling Whisk Baking Company (who has truly awesome pastries, cookies, cupcakes and more),The Bathtub Gin, (a happening nighttime hangout offering “Good times. Good drinks. Good Friends.” including live music and free WiFi!) and one of my favorite Lake Norman restaurants The Daily Grind which will be opening their second location on Main St. soon as well.  When I look down Main Street and note the many refurbished buildings, lively storefronts, sidewalk and street improvements it is hard to believe we are in a recession. Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Estate: Real Life Experiences with Short-Sales Part 2

 “DECLINED”.  After 6 grueling months of waiting, Bank of America just simply declined my buyers’ shortsale offer.  No counter offer, no explanation.  This is the first distressed sale of any kind that I have not closed and I must admit, I was blind-sided by the news.

While Bank of America is notorious for their reprehensible handling of home loans, especially shortsales, I guess I had to experience it for myself.  The irony is that in an article in the Washington Post last July, 2009,  the writer stated that Bank of America was going to “streamline its short-sale process so that it would only take SEVEN days to obtain shortsale approval.”

Here is my experience:

October 20th, 2009:  Submitted offer to listing agent.

October 20th:  Seller Accepted offer

March 30, 2010:  Offer was declined

Below are emails from the listing agent which provides you detailed insight into this failed transaction: Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Estate: Real Life Experiences with Lake Norman Short Sales

Unless you have actually experienced a “short sale” first hand, it is nearly impossible to understand the process and anticipate what to expect.  Unlike most foreclosures, each short sale is very different and they are not guaranteed to close.  To help my Lake Norman homebuyers and sellers better understand short sales, I am going to share some actual Lake Norman short sale transactions with you. But first, a few facts and opinions:

Short sales are best for buyers that have an incredible amount of patience and are able to handle the “not knowing” for months. 

If you like roller coaster rides, want a “deal” and are not in a hurry, then you may be a good candidate for a Lake Norman short sale.  So far, every one of my short sale buyers has successfully negotiated and purchased their homes at excellent prices but not without a lot of stress related to being totally out of control of the process and not knowing for months if the bank will approve their offer…and some are STILL waiting.

Of course, Realtors’ favorite saying is that there simply NOTHING short about short sales.  But, there is also nothing mysterious about them either.  The process is relatively straightforward albeit complex and unpredictable: Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Estate: In the News

 

At any given time I have a stack of ideas about 3″ tall of articles for this blog.  One category, real estate and Lake Norman/Charlotte business news, had grown to an unmanageable level.  So, rather than write a dozen individual blog posts I have decided to combine them into one longer one sharing  just the highlights.  If you want more information, please send me an email! 

Mooresville – Statesville named # 1 micropolitan area by Site Selection Magazine for economic development projects in 2009:

20 new economic development projects ( which must include a corporate facility expansion of $1 million or greater, 50 new jobs or more or 20,000 sq. ft or more of new floor space) put Mooresville – Statesville ahead of 576 micropolitan areas nationwide in 2009 as well as for 7 out of the last 8 years.  According to Ron Starner, general manager of Site Selection Magazine and Conway Data Inc. “Statesville – Mooresville dominates the micro category year after year because of its products, location, work force and business climate.”  Clearly, we are a great place for business!  Related news:  A Mooresville manufacturing plant, Polymer Group Inc, is considering its Mooresville site for a $70 million dollar, 150,000 square-foot addition.  Continue reading

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lake norman real estate, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Why are so many Californians moving to Lake Norman NC?

 

When I tell folks around here that my husband and I moved to Lake Norman from California for no other reason than we wanted to, many of them seemed surprised.  So, when I got this update from a great blog in the Palo Alto area  3 Oceans Real Estate, it was just too great an opportunity to share a glimpse into their current market to pass up.  Remember, the California housing market was hit much harder and earlier than our Lake Norman area:

“As a couple of data points, our listing for a three bedroom home at 842 Sycamore Drive in Palo Alto, an entry-level home priced at $949,000, received 14 offers and sold for over $1,100,000. A similar property nearby on Greer received 12 offers the same week and sold for just under $1,100,000 vs. a list price of $979,000″.

842 Sycamore Drive, Palo Alto

So, for $1.1 million dollars you could have out-bid 13 other buyers and won this lovely “starter” home in Palo Alto.  Or, for about $1 million dollars you could have purchased this waterfront estate on Lake Norman:
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Hmmm, I think I made my point!
 
(Photos courtesy of Nadine Roberts, Prudential Carolinas Realty, Denver NC)
 
 
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Lake Norman Real Estate Predictions for 2010

Lake Norman's Crystal Ball

 Truthfully,  2009 was a pretty easy year to predict real estate trends in our Lake Norman area. (See my 2009 predictions).  Prices came down, foreclosures and short sales dominated our market, new construction ground to a screeching halt putting many of our local builders out of business, and lenders made everyones’  lives extremely difficult. Yes, it was a tough year for home sellers and home buyers.

However, looking forward in 2010 I am not seeing a lot of black and white but rather a medium shade of grey.

For our Lake Norman real estate market 2010 will be a turning point.  The question is, how bumpy will the road be, how far down the road will we hit the turn, and will it be a gentle, hardly discernible curve or a pronounced change in direction? 

The Big Picture:

To a certain degree, our Lake Norman housing market’s ability to begin to stabilize will depend on the national financial policy makers.  Our national financial uncertainly makes it extremely difficult to make solid predictions for our local market.  Here are some of the major issues that will play a significant role in our housing market this year:

  • At the end of march, the Federal Reserve will end its $1.25 Trillion program backing the mortgage market and helping to keep interest rates low.
  • FHA is currently working on legislation to tighten their underwriting standards although progress is being made to modify and soften their original requests.  This tightening was initiated by a need for capital reserves due to losses FHA has absorbed since the recession began.
  • Only a modest rebound in housing starts is expected.  Builders who have survived are still finding it nearly impossible to get loans for new projects and spec building is almost not existent.
  • The homebuyer tax credits will end April 30th – June 30th.
  • There is expected to be another wave of  resets of adjustable and interest only loans, especially on jumbo loans, which means sharply higher monthly payments for those homeowners.  This may trigger another wave of shortsales and/or foreclosures.

Regionally:

Our Lake Norman housing market is also going to be impacted significantly by regional economic components, especially jobs.

  • North Carolina’s population growth was the third highest in the US  according to the Charlotte Business Journal.  Lake Norman is still a destination for people throughout the US.  While many of my out-of-state buyers have had to delay their moves here, very few have actually canceled them.
  • Jobs play a huge role in our recovery.  The jobless rate in North Carolina started to lessen in November however unemployment rates in Mecklenburg and Iredell Counties remain higher than the state average.  North Carolina pundits seem very mixed in their economic vision of 2010 but they do seem to agree that unemployment has peaked and that we will see improvement by the end of 2010 if not sooner.  But everyone agrees that we must see job improvement before we see any significant change in our housing market.  

My Predictions:

  • Bargains will continue to drive the market.  More and more homebuyers who have been sitting on the fence will realized that these bargains, once gone, won’t necessarily be replaced so they will be more confident and motivated in 2010.
  • A year of  foreclosures and short sales.  Sellers who have been hoping to sell at a price that allows them to at least break even are going to run out of time. We will continue to see active listings slowly evolving into short sales or foreclosures.
  • Shadow Inventory?  One of the biggest questions I have is just how many Lake Norman homeowners are either waiting to sell until they see a turn in the market or have withdrawn their homes from the market (which accounts for our drop in inventory) while planning to bring them back on the market once they see signs of improvement.  If, just when our inventory of homes gets down to a good number (6-8 months of supply), a large number of sellers who have been waiting  jump into the market, then we will again face high levels of inventory and a second round of a buyers market.
  • A year of stabilization more than recovery is what most everyone is saying throughout the country.  Personally, I don’t think it will be an exciting year with significant changes but rather a slow, methodical road towards recovery.  2010 may hold some surprises but for the most part it will be a year of righting the ship and preparing to sail slowing forward in 2011.

I would love to hear your thoughts and predictions. Please leave a comment!

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Lake Norman Real Estate: Growth and Development is Happening! Part 1

Lake Norman new home construction

 When I first started writing this blog in 2007 the Charlotte Observer used to have a regular column in the Lake Norman section called “Red Dirt Alert” which provided updates on the myriad and different types of developments in planning and under construction in the greater Lake Norman area.  Today, not only is the  “Red Dirt Alert” column gone, but the entire Lake Norman Section has been eliminated.  And, of course,  most high profile growth and development has been significantly impacted by the recession.

The big news this week that the 755,000 square foot, vacant Burlington Mills plant in Mooresville on South Main, (at one time was to be the site of the Mooresville Mills Urban Village whose plans collapsed) , was purchased by Concord Global Trading of New York, served as a reminder that despite some major set backs, there many new and continuing/progressing developments in our Lake Norman area.

Here is Part 1 of an overview of our Lake Norman area’s recent growth, some of which will serve as updates of my prior articles:  Lake Norman Real Estate’s Growth and Development UpdateLake Norman Real Estate’s News Update March 2009 , Lake Norman Growth and Developement Update October 2007.

  • Mooresville’s Burlington Mills’s new owner, Concord Global Trading, purchased the 38-acre site in December and has already started work on their Furniture Emporium called “Wow Home Furnishings”.  The store is expected to “Sell Furniture and Home Decor with an International Flair…” according to an article on the Mooresville Mill Village website.  Their target date for opening is May of this year.   What a boon this will be for Mooresville, especially the Historic Downtown Mooresville area!   UPDATE:  This is now Merino Furniture!
  • The long vacant “Pink Palace Theater ” in Cornelius off of Catawba Blvd. has been purchased by a California Entrepeneur, Levy Affiliated Holdings.  Already under renovation, this site will include the new “Lake Norman Cultural Arts Center”  which will feature a 400-seat entertainment venue, music school, and possibly a dance studio and New York Theatrical production company.  “The use envisioned for the rear of the building is focused around cultural arts, with offices for such uses as film production and a recording studio, and the front use will focus on retailers and a restaurant and bar…”according to Business Today.  Pretty exciting!
  • Brawley School Road Widening Update: The State of North Carolina has awarded a $22.6 million contract to complete the widening of Brawley School Road AND build an Exit 35 interchange.  As many of us know, the first section of the widening project is about 25% complete and is expected to be completed in July of 2011.  The final section and interchange is scheduled to be finished in July of 2013.  They have already started clearing the area where the new Exit 35 will be built!  Note, we are all a bit frustrated that construction of phase one came to a screeching halt during the holidays.  There was some activity this week so hopefully they will resume full-time next week.
  • There has been some very positive growth at the new, upscale Mooresville Town Square  located at the corner of Brawley School and Williamson Rd including the opening of  Wine Maestro, the NY Bagel Co and the nearly completed Lowe’s Foods which is opening this week (January 20th).
  • Across the street on Brawley School Rd the new Rite Aid in the Harris Teeter Shopping Center is coming along.  Also new to that shopping center is a Mexican Restaurant Cuzomel that just opened.  I haven’t been there yet but will report back!
  • At the new  Mayhew Promenade Shopping Center at Stutts Road the lovely Bloom Market,  Walgreens, McDonalds, and Shoals Saloon and Grille  restaurant are now open!
  • The newest Mooresville Harris Teeter Shopping Center at the corner of Highway 150 and Perth Road has some great new shops and restaurants including  3 Goats Coffee,  The Wine Loft and another new Rite Aid.
  • The Project for innovation, Energy and Sustainability (PiES)is a new business incubator that has been launched in Davidson with a goal to nurture new enterprises and jobs.  Founder Kathleen Rose said “PiES encourages education, incubation, and “economic gardening
  • The widening of Catawba Blvd. in Cornelius is complete as is our new Exit 31 in Mooresville at Langtree Road!

Part 2 will include updates on our largest and long-term developments:

  • Langtree at the Lake
  • Legacy Village
  • Augustee/Village at Lake Norman
  • Exit 42
  • North Carolina Research Center
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New Home Buyer Tax Credit Confusion Addressed by IRS

 

According to a recent update I received from the National Association of Home Builders, two scenarios since the extension of the First-Time Home Buyer tax credit and the creation of the repeat home buyer tax credit have risen and been addressed by the IRS:

“With the addition of the second tax credit, there may now be a situation in which two unmarried buyers purchase a residence together where one qualifies for the $6,500 repeat buyer credit and the other qualifies for the $8,000 credit. According to the IRS, they must allocate the tax credit in a meaningful manner. The repeat buyer cannot receive a tax credit higher than $6,500 and the total amount claimed by both buyers cannot exceed $8,000. For example, the repeat home buyer could claim $6,500 and the first-time home buyer could claim $1,500. Alternatively, both buyers could claim a $4,000 tax credit.

The second scenario involves the qualification status of married purchasers as repeat home buyers. In order to qualify for the repeat buyer tax credit, both individuals must have lived in the same residence for five consecutive years out of the last eight. If one spouse has lived in the house for five years and the other moved in later, after they were married, then they are both excluded from the repeat buyer tax credit.

This information has been updated on NAHB’s consumer tax credit Web site, which can be found at www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com.”

Continue reading

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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 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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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!

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Lake Norman Real Estate:  EPA Launches Indoor airPlus

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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”.

RELATED ARTICLES

 Lake Norman Real Estate:  How Green Is Your Home?

Lake Norman Real Estate:  How to Harvest the Rain!

Lake Norman Real Estate Launches Lake Norman Green Homes!

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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 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!

RELATED ARTICLES 

Lake Norman Real Estate: How to do research about our schools?

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Mooresville NC

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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 Real Estate has a New Look and More Features!

If you are a regular reader of  Lake Norman Real Estate, you might have been surprised when you first opened this home page.  My talented blog designer, marti garaugty  has been working feverishly for weeks to have this design ready for the launch of my new real estate firm:

LKN Realty LLC Logo

Yes, I have made the plunge and opened my own real estate firm during a recession and a struggling Lake Norman housing market!

Unlike many, I see this market as an opportunity.  My passion for being one step ahead, creative and innovative marketing and an obsession with quality, not quantity has resulted in LKN Realty, LLC.  The mission is simply putting into action my passions.  Now I have the freedom to create “out of the box” marketing.  Now I can truly represent my buyers and sellers with a 100% ability to stay true to my own ethical standards (like no dual agency) while providing the knowledge, counseling and guidance to best serve each one’s unique needs and desires. Now I can be the local real estate firm leading the “green” housing movement.

But I digress.

Back to this blog/website: One of the most exciting changes here at Lake Norman Real Estate is a new property search program.  Once in place in a few days you will have four awesome tools:

  • The capability to search solds
  • The “Deal Sniffer”:  which enables you to compare a listing to others in the area
  • The “Market Check”: which allows you to look at homes recently sold in the area of the listing you are viewing
  • The “Go Green” which will calculate how much fuel you will use if you commute from any home you choose to various destinations from Lake Norman to Charlotte to the Airport.

Finally, on each search result page, you will find a Google map box with each property result marked on it.  You can easily see an aerial map as well.

In order to be true to my own philosophy that my readers should not have to sign in to get any information on this site,and much to the surprise of my IDX data provider, you will be able to use any any and all of these functions without having to login or provide your personal information!  The only time you will provide data will be if you want to establish “Favorites” or your own person searches.

My goal is to make Lake Norman Real Estate the very best resource available.  If you have any suggestions as to how to improve it or ideas for topics to write about, please let me know.  Thank you for indulging me as I make this self-serving announcement!

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s Growth and Development Update

Lake Norman Construction site

It has been a while since I have written any news related to our greater Lake Norman developments because, quite frankly, most of the exciting projects I have written about have been stalled for the past year due to the national economic downturn.

However, some large and small developments are moving forward.  Here is an update on these:

Four Points Sheraton:  Construction is expected to begin very soon at Exit 28.  The Four Points Sheraton is expected to have about 2,200 square feet of meeting space.

Langtree at the Lake:  While delayed for about a year, Langtree at the Lake developer Rich Howard says he plans to start construction in the coming months.  Also, the Missouri based John Q Hammonds recently announced a 12-story 300 room Embassy Suites will break ground later this summer or early fall and is expected to be completed by early 2011.  It will have a 75,000 square feet conference center which is something our Lake Norman area has needed for quite some time!  Langtree at the Lake.

Augustalee:  Once called the Village at lake Norman, the Augustaleeis a $515 million mixed-use development at I-77 and Westmoreland Rd (at a new Exit 27) which will include The Grand Hotel, a 250 room, 10-story building featuring ballrooms, conference facilities, a full service restaurant as well as a boutique hotel with 100 rooms and retail on the first floor.

Cornelius One: This three-story mixed-use project located at 18615 West Catawba in Cornelius will include a restaurant and retail on the first floor and offices on the second and third floors.  Developer Kenny Habul is awaiting rezoning approval.

The Widening of West Catawba Blvd:  While those of us are watching the progress of the widening of  Brawley School Road which is slated for completion in 2011, the widening of West Catawba Blvd will be completed in the next 60 days!  Simonini’s The Preserve at Robbins Park that I have written about previously is also making progress.  Once completed, Catawba Blvd will be fully landscaped and according to Commissioner Dave Gilroy, will be “simply gorgeous”!

New Exit 31:  Our new Exit 31 is expected to open this summer!

Courtyard by Marriott and a Holiday Inn Express:  Both of these hotels in Statesville are due to open this month!

TownPlace Suites by Marriot:  Located off of Exit 33 in Mooresville, this hotel is scheduled to open in October of this year.

Larkin:  I first wrote about this massive multi-use development project just south of Statesville about two years when it was ramping up to high gear.  There was great excitement and property around Exit 45 was scooped up by potential investors and developers.  The site has been annexed by the City of Statesville and and some of  the plans have already been approved by the Statesville City Council.   According to the Statesville Record and Landmark, since then “nothing of any substance has been done with the site.”  “I honestly believe that Larkin will happen” said City Manager Rob Hites.  “But it’s really hard to say right now when it will happen.”

Equestrian Subdivision in Mooresville:  NASCAR race car driver Jeremy Mayfield’s former home located at 3245  Jackson Rd in Mooresville was purchased by Ron LeGrand who has teamed up with Sill Creek Team and developer Urchel Hill to launch a 73-home equestrian subdivision on 135 acres.  While the land is currently empty, developers have already put in the road and other community amenities and are optimistic about its future.

The Club at Westport:  I recently wrote a separate blog post about the opening of the Club at Westport and the new residential plans for the rest of the development in Denver on the west side of Lake Norman.

Lake Norman’s new community sailing and rowing is open!: After years of work, the North Carolina Community Sailing and Rowing Center is now open.  Located at Huntersville’s Blythe Landing Park,  this facility is truly for anyone interested in learning to sail or  row, from Senior citizens to the disabled to our youth.  A non-profit organization and its volunteers operate the center in partnership with the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation.

It is interesting to look back several years and read news articles and my old blog posts focused on building moratoriums and smart growth plans.  Our national recession has actually provided our fast-growing Lake Norman communities the time to take a deep breath and prepare for the future growth that is sure to return once our economy has stabilized.

RELATED ARTICLES

A Sneak Preview of The Club in Westport, Denver NC

The Preserve at Robbins Park:  Not Just Another Housing Development

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Lake Norman Real Estate: Why is it so hard to buy a home right now?

Lake Norman Real Estate Questions and Answers signpost

Yes, it is a buyers’ market here in the greater Mooresville and Lake Norman area.  We have at least 4 times the number of listings as we should.

Given this, one would expect that it would be easy to be a buyer in Lake Norman but in fact more often than not it isn’t.  In the 4 sales I had this past month,  I represented buyers in three of them.  And, all four transactions were much harder/more tedious than the typical sales.  Why? Because the national and local economies are erratic AND because in a downward trending real estate market and an extremely tight lending market as we have right now it is as much about the listing being salable as it is the buyer being qualified.

The reality of our current Lake Norman area real estate market can be easily conveyed by sharing my own experiences and observations during this past month.  I have broken it down by 6 common types of sellers and the challenges each represents as well as the additional hurdles buyers may face getting a loan.  Of these 6 types of sellers, 4 represent properties that are truly not readily available to purchase.

Today’s Lake Norman and Mooresville Area Sellers

Banks:  Bank-owned properties are actually one of the easiest to sell right now.  Potential challenges include:

  • Banks control the process and each has their own contracts and/or addendum
  • There will be no repairs or home warranties so inspections become critical
  • Utilities must be turned on for inspections (This can be more challenging than one might think!)
  • Buyers much be prepared to replace missing appliances, light fixtures and even cabinets in some cases plus repair damages of all kinds.
  • Buyers in most cases are facing a lot of cleaning, painting and yard work just to make the home livable

Short Sales:  In this case the sellers are unable to pay their mortgage off at closing due to some financial hardship.  Challenges include:

  • The waiting game.  While the seller has accepted the fact that they are going to have to walk from their home, the decision as to the ultimate purchase price and terms will only be negotiated between the banks and other lien holders and the listing agent after the buyer makes an offer that is accepted by the seller.
  • The process is cumbersome and may take months, all the while the buyer waits not knowing if  they will get the home.
  • During the waiting period there is no way of knowing where interest rates are headed, if your loan will be approved and when you will have a closing date.  Buyers must be extremely flexible.  Short sales are not an option for buyers who truly need or want to move within a given time frame.

Seller is “upside down” but does not qualify for a short sale:  In this case the seller owes more than the current value of the home but has a job and is technically capable of paying their monthly mortgage:

  • This is one of the most common situations in our Lake Norman and Mooresville housing market right now.  In many cases I will do a comparable market analysis for my buyers to determine what price to offer only to be told by the listing agent that the seller can not go below a certain amount because they do not have the money that would be necessary to bring to the closing table.
  • If you are a typical buyer who decides to make a higher offer in order to help the seller because you really want the home, you will most likely not be able to finance the purchase with a traditional mortgage because the appraisal will not come in high enough and the seller is unable lower the sales price and make up the difference owed to the bank.
  • In reality, these home are really not for sale because the sellers are truly unable to sell them without negotiating a short sale and they don’t qualify for one.
  • Sadly, my guess is that many of these listings will end up in foreclosure when the sellers and listing agents see that the property won’t sell at their bottom line price.

Seller is “upside down” in that they paid more for the property than it is now worth but think they can get “their” price:  In this case the seller has the money to sell at a lower price but they are not willing to loose money.

  • Like the scenario above, in reality these homes are not available to buyers because the seller still thinks they can get a price that is higher than any appraisal will support.  Hence, a buyer would not be able to get a loan at the price the seller is willing to sell.
  • These are the sellers that have myriad reasons why their home/property is better than all of the recent comparable sales.  I had one offer declined because the seller thought their home was worth $15,000 more than the property just down the street because they had added a large rear patio and had painted the interior.  Their home needed new carpet and didn’t have as many upgrades as the home that sold.  This is the Ostrich seller!  By the time they grasp the reality of the market they will most likely sell for even less than my buyers offered.

Seller purchased many years ago but has an unrealistic expectation of the value of their home:  In this case the seller could sell at just about any price.

  • Again, in reality these homes are not available to buyers as the asking price is too high and a low offer is not welcomed.
  • One of my buyers made an offer on a home that had been on the market a full year and was vacant.  Their offer was 16% below the asking price or about $27,000.  The sellers countered down just $2,000.   Even after a whole year the sellers would rather loose money each month than drop their price!
  • Like the past two scenarios, this property most likely will not appraise any where near the asking price so the buyer is wasting their time.  (Mine moved on!)

The property that is for sale has no good, recent comparable sales:  In this case, the seller is willing to sell, the buyer is willing to buy, but the lender is not willing to lend.

  • With so few recent sales, it is not uncommon for a property here to have great difficulty with appraisals.  Underwriters have been throwing out appraisals and ordering “review” or “field” appraisals which may come it quite a bit lower than the agreed upon purchase price merely because the lender does not allow for subjective value to be considered.  I had this problem with a beautiful, historic home in Mooresville.  While the final appraisal did come in, my buyers had to walk from another home in the same general neighborhood because the home would not appraise.

Appraisals:  Even if a home is not unique, appraisals are a huge hurdle right now for both buyers and sellers.  Lenders are more conservative than I have ever seen them in my 18 years of selling real estate!

Difficulty in getting jumbo loans:  As I have mentioned before, loans over the $417,000 level backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are very hard to get and if a buyer can get them the rates can be at least 1% higher than a “conforming” loan.

By no means am I trying to discourage buyers from buying, I just want you all to be prepared.  It may take several offers on several different properties before finding a home that not only meets your wants and needs but that is truly qualified to sell.  All three of my most recent buyers now live in homes they truly love and they purchased them at reasonable prices.  A little patience goes a LONG way in this market!

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Lake Norman Real Estate: The Big Picture

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The recent uptake in home sales, both here in Lake Norman and throughout many parts of the country has led to a flurry of speculation about whether we have hit the bottom of the housing market.

This week the National Association of Realtors came out with some strong “Pending” numbers (homes that are under contract and ready to close) in their Pending Home Sales Index  and painted a rather upbeat picture of the national housing market’s future.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on Tuesday the “housing market is beginning to stabilize and the recession should end later this year.”   He went on to say “that growth will remain slow and unemployment high for a year after the recession ends.”

These reports have caused an explosion of speculation among Realtors on blogs throughout the country. Zillow jumped into the fray in their Zillow Advice discussion.  Zillow.com’s Spencer Rascoff wrote a blog post ” Sorry to spoil the party, but we’re not at the bottom!” in which he shares some sobering numbers for home sales and median prices for the first quarter of this year.  While he acknowledges that there are bright spots, he also goes on to explain his concerns for a “massive amount of shadow inventory”.

Bernice Ross, a regular columnist for Inman News  and other real estate news sources, wrote an article ” Estimating a real estate bottom” in which she underscores the important of the amount of INVENTORY when trying to determine the best time to buy.  Just as I have written in my monthly and quarterly sales analysis, she notes that any more than 8 months of inventory of active listings indicates we are still in a buyer’s market. “….prices lag behind inventory changes.  For example, many parts of Florida and California are currently seeing big drops in the amount of inventory….nevertheless, the property values are still decreasing.  As the excess inventory is absorbed, prices will stabilize.”

Here is our greater Charlotte and Lake Norman area, the big news this week was the speculation about whether our behemoth developer, Crescent Resources, will be filing for bankruptcy protection:

Crescent bankruptcy filing possible

Crescent Resources’ trouble mirrors real estate’s fall…

There is no doubt that we are seeing signs of improvement, even in our local Lake Norman real estate market.  Like most of the nation, First-Time Home Buyers are fueling this increased activity.  However, we are still sitting on between 20 to 25 months of supply of active listings.  I will continue to provide my hot sheets, monthly and quarterly Lake Norman home sales statistics so that together we can watch for signs that we are nearing our bottom here in Lake Norman.

Learn 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: Home Loans; The Good and Bad News

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While you might think that listing a home and getting a good offer is the toughest part of our Lake Norman real estate market these days, in my opinion you would be wrong.  The greatest challenge in most cases right now truly is getting a lender to actually make a loan and close a sale!

We all know that banks and mortgage institutions are having their own tough times.  However, the current home loan market is so challenging that it is impeding any progress we might be able to make in the process of restoring our Lake Norman housing market’s stability.

The problem is that we have gone from having mortgages that were too easy to get to an irrational system that makes it nearly impossible to get a loan!  Just ask anyone who has tried to get a “Jumbo Loan” lately.  Jumbo loans are loans above the $417,000 ceiling set by Freddie and Fannie.  Right now they are more expensive (1% or more higher interest rates) and much harder to get.  This in part explains the significant slowdown of Lake Norman area home sales above $400,000.

Probably the single greatest challenge I have experienced lately is with appraisals and it is going to get worse starting this Friday May 1st (2009) when all banks are going to have to use management companies to choose the appraisers.  Not only will lenders and brokers not have any contact with these appraisers, but there is no guarantee that the appraisers will even be well versed in the neighborhoods in which they are doing the appraisals.

Even before this, it has not been uncommon for the appraisal to come in at the purchase price just to have the underwriter throw out the appraisal and order a field appraisal which is less likely to take into consideration special qualities and amenities that make a property more valuable.

I guess what I find most frustrating is that a person’s home and property’s value in many cases is being determined by automated computer programs which don’t allow for considerations for so many qualities that add to it’s value to a home buyer.

The Good News:

USDA Rural Housing Program loans are available in much of our Mooresville and Lake Norman area.  These loans can be 100% financing with no mortgage insurance and no money down much like a VA Mortgage.  See the USDA Rural Loans website or call your loan officer to find out if the home you are selling or buying qualifies.   On April 20, 2009 they increased their income structure for 1-4 person household to $70,750.

Other helpful websites:

United State Departement of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)

Making Home Affordable

Hope Now (Foreclosure prevention assistance/counselors)

It is not impossible to get a good loan and close a sale these days.  But, it is a lot more challenging!

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Lake Norman Real Estate: Developer Close-Out Auction in Davidson!

Lake Norman Condos for sale in Davidson

Would you like to own a part of one of Lake Norman’s trendy new mixed-use Urban Villages?  Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 18th at 10:00am when 17 new residential condominiums located in the popular South Main Street District in Historic Downtown Davidsonwill be sold by auction.

The scoop:  5 of these condos are going to be sold at “ABSOLUTE AUCTION” which means there is no reserve.  The highest bidder buys regardless of the price!  The other 12 condos will sell subject to the sellers confirmation.

The history:  Pre-selling of these “Condos in South Main Square” began in 2007.  5 sold through our MLS at prices from $129,900 for a 550 square foot “garden condo” to $247,595 for an 1132 square foot 2-bedroom 2-bathroom patio condo. The rest of the units for sale on the MLS were withdrawn several months ago.  17 of these will be in this auction.

The facts: There are 17 units with 4 floorplans ranging in size from 1072 to 1132 square feet.  All of the units have 2 bedrooms and either 2 or 2.5 bathrooms. 10 of the units are actually 2 level townhomes.  The listing prices for these 17 units before they were withdrawn from the MLS ranged from $198,100 to $248,500.  Financing is available from Peoples Bank.  The auction itself is being held at Campania Cafe which is located at 416 S. Main Street adjacent to the condos.  For more information: Interstate Auction, for photos, floorplans, contracts, instructions on how to bid and buy at the auction and other important information.

Open Houses:  Every Saturday and Sunday from 1pm – 5pm or by appointment. (704.892.6923) until auction day.

If you are looking for new construction in a truly walkable neighborhood that is part of the Davidson Main Street Arts District and close to Davidson College, minutes to the I-77 and only about 25 miles to Charlotte, this might be a great opportunity for you.

I would caution that there are a number of townhomes and condominiums currently for sale in the Davidson community some of which are new construction and some re-sale.  Sales are very slow so know your comparable sales before bidding. It is hard to know whether these will be bargains until the day of the auction.

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