Lake Norman waterfront homes, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman waterfront home at The Point

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

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

Here are my thoughts:

1.  Private docks: is there one?

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

2.  Look for Permit Plate:

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

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

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

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

4.  50′ Setback

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

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports, Lake Norman waterfront homes

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

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

Lake Norman Waterfront Homes Sales 2005 – 2016

Lake Norman waterfront home sales chart by year

*All date is compiled using the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service

A closer look by vertical columns of this chart:

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman’s Waterfront Home Sales 2005-2015: Interesting Insights!

During most of 2015 I noted, well complained, in my monthly Lake Norman market reports about our mercurial sales in luxury homes, the lack of inventory of good waterfront homes in the under $1 million price ranges and the historically low number of sales of waterfront homes as a percentage of our overall Lake Norman real estate market.  So, I decided it was time to take a look at Lake Norman’s numbers since 2005 of just our waterfront home sales.  The results are really fascinating if you like numbers!  Let’s take a closer look:

Lake Norman Waterfront Homes Sales 2005 – 2015

Lake Norman Waterfront real estate market report

*All date is compiled using the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service

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lake norman real estate, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman’s Top 10 Most Expensive Home Sales in 2015

Lake Norman waterfront luxury estate at sunset

While Lake Norman is home to a wide variety of people and lifestyles, who doesn’t have fun looking at and learning about our luxury waterfront home sales?  Above and below are some of my favorite photos from the top 5 waterfront estates sold in 2015.

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

What do Lake Norman’s Waterfront Home Sales in 2014 tell us?

Lake Norman waterfront home on large cove

So far, 2014  has been an odd year for our Lake Norman waterfront home sales.  There have been no obvious trends or “hot” price ranges or locations.  Overall waterfront home sales have represented only 29% of all Lake Norman home sales year-to-date.

Now that distressed homes  (foreclosures and short sales) are, for all intents and purposes, gone and prices are on the rise, waterfront buyers this year seem to be taking longer to buy and seem to have higher expectations and are willing to hold out for their perfect home.  There is also a good segment of waterfront buyers who are focused more than ever on tear-downs or lots.  If you drive around the Brawley School Road peninsula in Mooresville you will see an impressive number of new construction homes on the water.  There are 3 waterfront homes alone being built on my tiny street!

Yet despite the seemingly slower sales of existing waterfront homes 2014 has actually been a strong year so far if you compare our waterfront homes’ average sales price and sales price per square foot: Continue reading

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Lake Norman waterfront homes, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman’s Waterfront Neighborhood Video Tour

So, you all are my guinea pigs!  Here is my first Lake Norman video tour using my new GoPro.   This is a quick tour of some of the waterfront neighborhoods on the Brawley School Road Peninsula in Mooresville.  While I focused on The Point I also included views of two streets, Tuskarora Trail and Washam Road, that are good examples of what non-subdivision neighborhoods look like.  I also included a more rustic gravel road so that you get a better idea of what they look like.

Hopefully this will provide some insight into Lake Norman’s waterfront lifestyles.  Look for more video tours of Lake Norman in the days to come.  And feel free to request certain neighborhoods, streets or shopping areas.  My plan is also to make specific videos for buyers so they can see the actual neighborhoods they are interested in!  Any requests or input would be welcomed!

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports, Lake Norman waterfront homes

How do Lake Norman’s 2013 Waterfront Home Sales Compare to Prior Years?

 

Lake Norman waterfront homes in Cornelius NC

Life in Lake Norman for many means breathtaking sunrises and sunsets on the water every day. It means walking from your backyard to your boat and taking off to go water skiing, sailing, tubing, fishing or just enjoying a glass of wine at sunset. It is truly impossible to describe just how beautiful Lake Norman is and the quality of life those of us lucky enough to live here enjoy.

Living in a waterfront home is the ultimate goal of many who move here. Our downturn in housing prices since the recession opened a window of opportunity for many who couldn’t afford a waterfront home at the peak of our market. However, our Lake Norman real estate market is well in to its recovery.  And, with distressed properties representing only 3% of our current inventory, clearly they no longer are a factor in our waterfront housing market as well as our overall home sales.  It is important for potential home-buyers and sellers to know as much as possible about our waterfront home prices in the context of where they have been and where they are trending. To assist with this, I have done a detailed analysis of our 2013 waterfront home sales including annual, area and price range numbers:

 Overall Lake Norman waterfront home sales by year since 2005

Lake Norman waterfront home sales by year since 2005

Lake Norman waterfront home sales since 2005

* All data is from the Charlotte Regional Multiple Listing Service

As you can see, the number of Lake Norman’s waterfront home sales has been steadily improving since their low in 2008 with 2013 being the best year since 2005.  However, our average sales price has only been on the rise since 2012.  At $793.742 in 2013 they increased 1.7% over 2012 and are well below our record high of $982,345 in 2008.  Finally, our average price per square foot for waterfront homes that sold in 2013 was up 4.7% from 2012 and are nearly back to our 2009 numbers but still significantly below our peak of $270 per square foot.

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman real estate trends can be identified in the 2013 home sales in our Crescent Communities

The Point, Lake Norman waterfront  community

One of the best ways I have found to track Lake Norman’s real estate trends is to compare the largest of the Crescent Communities that are found on all sides and corners of Lake Norman.  Comparing home sales activity in The Point, The Harbour at The Point and The Farms in Mooresville, The Peninsula in Cornelius, Sailview in Denver, Northview Harbour in Sherrills Ford and Falls Cove in Troutman/Statesville provides valuable insight into these 5 Lake Norman towns and how each is recovering from the recession.

Lake Norman Real Estate's Crescent Communities Sales Analysis  November 2013

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Sales Analysis of the Crescent Communities

 * All home sales data is from the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service

I must admit I was surprised by many of the numbers above:

  • The Peninsula is actually out performing The Point both in number of total sales and, with a significantly lower number of active listings, it has a much more competitive number of months of supply at 5.7 compared to The Point’s 15 months.
  • That said, The Point and The Peninsula have almost identical numbers when it comes to the days a home is on the market, the percent of the listing price compared to the sales price and the average price per square foot.
  • It is no surprise that The Point and The Peninsula have the highest homes sales price per square foot of all 7 Crescent Communities given they have the most luxury, high-end estates and amenities and are located in the strongest real estate markets on Lake Norman
  • The months o f supply winner goes to The Farms which is not a surprise given the amount of new construction and the price ranges of $500.000-$600,000.  Note that the average home sold for 98% of the listing price as well!
  • I found it fascinating that Sailview, in Denver on the Northwest side of Lake Norman,  not only has a very low number of  of months of supply but the lowest days a home was on the market before it sold of all 7 Crescent Communities. The average price per square foot of real estate sales in Sailview was a modest $133 which supports my feelings that the west side of Lake Norman’s recovery has been later and slower than that of Mooresville and Cornelius on the east side.
  • The numbers above for Northview Harbour, in Sherrills Ford, and Falls Cove in Statesville/Troutman which are both north of Hwy 150 support the fact that these are the weakest real estate markets in all of Lake Norman.  However, it does look like Northview Harbour is gaining momentum. Continue reading
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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Waterfront Home Sales and Price Trends 2013

Lake Norman Waterfront Home in Mooresville

 

Lake Norman’s 520 miles of shoreline offer an amazing variety of waterfront homes and lifestyles.  From flat lots with beaches like the one pictured above to steeper lots with walk-out basements, from heavily wooded to almost treeless lots, from grand estates to tiny cabins, and from main channel views to small coves that remind one of Huckleberry Finn, there truly is a dream home and lifestyle available for just about every waterfront home buyer!

The Lake Norman waterfront housing market was hit particularly hard during the recession; bottoming out in 2011.  With our distressed sales (foreclosures and short sales) now down to less than 3% of our entire Lake Norman housing inventory of active listings, waterfront homes sales prices have not just stabilized but are now increasing annually:

 

Lake Norman Waterfront Home 9 year Sales

As you can see above, the average prices of Lake Norman waterfront homes have increased since 2011.  The average price so far this year is 1.7% higher than in all of 2012 and 3% higher than 2011. And, the average price per square foot has increased 4.5% since 2012 and a healthy 8.7% since 2011.

With 64 waterfront homes under contract as of today added to the 352 sold so far in 2013 it looks like we will have at least 416 total waterfront home sales in 2013 which would be the strongest year of waterfront  sales since 2005!

Clearly, the last segment of our Lake Norman real estate market to fully recover is our high-end luxury housing market.  This has contributed to our lower average sales than our strong sales volume might indicate.  That said, in the past 6 months our waterfront homes sold for an average of $220 per square foot taking us back to our 2009 numbers.  Clearly, once our larger home sales pick up our average sales price will also increase bringing us ever closer to our peak in 2008.

With 357 waterfront  homes currently on the market in Lake Norman, now is a good time to consider a purchase because I have a feeling in the spring of 2014 not only will sales be even stronger but higher-end home buyers will return to the market in higher numbers as well.  Carpe Diem!

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Lake Norman photos, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman waterfront real estate: Does it have to be love at first site?

Lake Norman waterfront home for sale

As I have written for years, Lake Norman’s waterfront lifestyles are almost schizophrenic.  On the one hand, we have the renowned luxury community The Point that is now affiliated with the Trump National Golf Club and offers stunning waterfront estates, impeccably landscaped homes and common grounds which offer a more uniform lifestyle dictated in part by the very strict home owner association rules and regulations which are in place to protect the quality and integrity of this very special community.

With 520 miles for shoreline however, most of Lake Norman’s waterfront homes are not in luxury communities but rather in as varied neighborhoods as you can imagine.  Keeping in mind that Lake Norman was created by Duke Power in the 1960’s and initially waterfront lots sold for as little as $500 you can understand that there still exist cabins, single and doublewide mobile homes dating back to it’s origins before I-77 was completed and before Lake Norman evolved into the global destination that it is today.

Honestly, most of my waterfront buyers want large, newer homes on Lake Norman’s Main Channel.  While I moved here in 2005 from Pasadena CA where I listed and sold primarily historic homes, I must admit I have grown so accustomed to showing  newer homes that when I went on a listing appointment a month ago knowing that the waterfront home was built in 1975 I had already decided it wouldn’t probably be one that I would get excited about listing.

My first mistake was wearing my The Point glasses when first touring the home and property. (Which I think many buyers do as well).  I made quick and bias assumptions focusing mainly on what the property wasn’t.  Each subsequent visit increased my interest and my memories of how to truly look at and appreciate a unique home starting with the realization that I have to stop using The Point yardstick when measuring the homes value, both monetarily and emotionally. Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Waterfront Home Sales Analysis 2012 vs 2011

 

Lake Norman waterfront home at The Point

 Life in Lake Norman for many means beautiful  sunrises and sunsets on the water every day.  It means walking from your backyard to your boat and taking off to go water skiing, sailing, tubing, fishing or just enjoying a glass of wine at sunset.  It is truly impossible to describe just how beautiful Lake Norman is and the quality of life those of us lucky enough to live here enjoy.

Living in a waterfront home is the ultimate goal of many who move here.  Our downturn in housing prices since the recession has opened a window of opportunity for many who couldn’t afford a waterfront home at the peak of our market.  It is important for potential homebuyers and sellers to know as much as possible about our waterfront home prices in the context of where they have been and where they are trending.

 

Waterfront Lake Norman home sales analysis 2012 vs 2011

* All data is from the Charlotte Regional Multiple Listing Service

As you can see, our waterfront home sales increased 23% in 2012 compared to 2011 and our average sales per square foot increased 4%.  But, there are significant variations within the different areas surrounding Lake Norman.

Area 13-1 is the northeast side of the lake including Mooresville north of Hwy 150, Troutman and Statesville. This area was particularly hard hit by the recession because this is the area where new construction was exploding. After the downturn started it had a greater number of foreclosures/distressed sales due to the inventory of “spec” homes in subdivisions that were just getting off the ground and then failed.  Now that this portion of their inventory is gone, sales have dropped 38% in one year, the average sales price increased 26% and the average sales price per square foot increased 3%. Of the 31 currently active listings in Area 13-1 (15.5 months of inventory) only ONE is distressed!  You will even see new construction and subdivisions showing signs of life.

Area 13-2 is all of Mooresville south of Hwy 150 to the Iredell/Mecklenburg county line including the Brawley School Rd peninsula and The Point.  This area is almost diametrically opposed to 13-1.  We had a 43% increase in sales in 2012 but because we were not up against a significant number of distressed sales, the average price increased only 1%.  There are currently 94 active listings in Area 13-2 (9-month supply based on 2012 sales) of which only 4 are distressed.  Now that the Brawley School Rd widening is complete and Donald Trump purchased The Point’s golf club this area is thriving!

Area 13-3 is all of Mecklenburg County including Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville which are on the southeast side of Lake Norman. This is a fascinating and unique area since it had a nice increase in sales of 21% and a 4% increase in the sales price per square foot but a 14% decrease in the average sales price.   At $232 per square foot they were the most expensive waterfront homes on average and had  by far the highest average sales price as well.  This can be explained by the fact that these communities are relatively small, a bit more established with very few new construction homes and thanks to The Peninsula and surrounding neighborhoods has a greater percentage of luxury homes. There are currently 76 active listings (11.4 months of supply) of which 6 are distressed.

Area 13-4 is the southwest portion of Lake Norman, the unincorporated town of Denver in Lincoln County.  This area had a 49% increase in sales in 2012 with an average price increase of 5%.  However, the average $ per square foot actually decreased by 1%.  As inventory of good waterfront homes declined on the east side of Lake Norman more buyers turned to Denver.  At $175 per square foot Denver offers slightly less expensive prices for the same size homes. This is due in part to the fact that Denver has a greater percentage of modest, older communities on the lake and also it does not have nearly as many luxury homes.  There are currently 39 active listings (8 months of supply) in Area 13-4 of which 3 are distressed.

Area 13-5 is the northeast Catawba County area which includes the towns of Sherrills Ford and Terrell.  This area had a 17% increase in sales, a 22% increase in the average sales price and a 14% increase in the average sales price per square foot.  It is important to note that they had the lowest average price and price per square foot of only $172.  The affordability clearly attracted waterfront homebuyers who didn’t mind being a bit farther from shopping and restaurants.  This area also has far fewer luxury homes and more older, more modest neighborhoods.  There are currently 53 active listings in area 13-5 (12-month supply) of which 3 are distressed.

Overall, Lake Norman currently has 293 waterfront homes on the market which is a 10.3 month of supply of inventory based upon our 2012 sales.  In terms of months of supply then, Area’s 13-2 and 13-4 are the strongest and 13-1 and 13-5 are the weakest which concurs with an article I wrote earlier this year about what is available by price range  on Lake Norman’s shoreline.

Here is a fascinating breakdown of all of Lake Norman Area 13 waterfront home sales by price range in 2012:

Lake Norman Waterfront home sales by price range 2012

As you can see, I have provided the number of sales, the percentage of the total sales, the number of active listings today, the percentage of the total active listings and the months of supply for each price range.

Our very strongest price range for waterfront homes is remarkably $1,000,000 – $1,249,999!  Actually, if you  are an active reader of this blog you will know that I have been talking about how hot this price range has been for several months. This price range represented 9.4% of our sales in 2012 but only 3.4% of our current inventory of active listings when means at the current rate of sales we only have 3.8 months of supply!

As expected, Lake Norman’s waterfront homes up to $599,999 represented more sales as a percentage than they do in our currently inventory and all have months of supply under 6 months.  Our lowest price ranges historically maintain very strong numbers since they are our most affordable homes.

Surprisingly, some of our weakest price points are the $700,000’s and $800,000’s and to a lesser degree the $900,000’s.  These price ranges are simply lacking in “good” waterfront properties and have been all year.  They also tend to be listings that start out overpriced so sit on the market until they reduce the price to where they should be. Our current inventory is very picked over so buyers are waiting for good new listings or better properties to be reduced to our current market value.

Obviously, waterfront home priced over $1.5 million are still lagging in sales.  That said, we currently have 8 properties over $1.5 under contract so it does appear that our luxury waterfront housing market is improving.

Hopefully you will be able to use these charts to better understand Lake Norman’s waterfront real estate market both by area and price range.  If you have any questions don’t hesitate to call or email me!

RELATED ARTICLES

Lake Norman’s The Point:  The Trump Factor

Lake Norman Waterfront Real Estate: What is Currently on the Market in YOUR Price Range?

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman’s The Point: The Trump Factor

Lake Norman's Trump National Golf Club Sign

Since Donald Trump purchased The Point Golf Club  situated in the renowned luxury community The Point on Lake Norman last spring, there has been avid speculation about how he will impact the entire community’s ambiance and the values of the more than 800 luxury and waterfront homes.  Today, as you drive through The Point and you will see workers just about everywhere; from the golf course itself where all 18 holes are being lengthened and upgraded to landscaping crews to painters to workers remodeling “The Tavern” and dining room.  It turns out Mr. Trump doesn’t like grey so the quaint gray shingled Nantucket-style builds at “The Village” including the building pictured above at the traffic circle, are now a very bright white! Continue reading

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Waterfront Real Estate: What is Currently on the Market in YOUR Price Range?

Lake Norman waterfront home on it's own point

 

Without a doubt the most common contacts I get from this blog/website are buyers searching for waterfront homes on Lake Norman.  Most of these buyers want to buy at what appears to be our “bottom”.  The good news is that prices are very low compared to our peak of 2007.  However, our inventory has also dropped to half the number at our peak so there is less available today.  In order to educate you about our waterfront homes I am going to describe what is currently for sale by price range.  This should also help some folks who may arrive in Lake Norman with unrealistic expectations of what they can afford.

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Has the Lake Norman Waterfront Housing Market Turned a Corner?

Lake Norman's waterfront view

Imagine enjoying expansive views of Lake Norman like this one from your own home!  You can choose sunrise or sunset views, private coves or the main channel like the lot above.  This is why Lake Norman is still such a popular destination for folks from all over the country.  ( I have also represented buyers from Russia, England and Australia!).

Waterfront homes are a unique real estate niche in the Lake Norman area and really need to be separated from the rest of our housing market when determining the current sales trends, the direction of prices and predicting the short and long term future. Continue reading

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Waterfront Home Sales: Summer 2011 Update

Lake Norman waterfront homes in Denver

Owning a waterfront home on Lake Norman is certainly the goal of many of the people planning a move to the greater Lake Norman area. The sales prices of waterfront homes here have certainly been dramatically impacted by the national and regional housing market decline since 2007.  At our peak it was almost impossible to even find a decent waterfront lot on Lake Norman for under $500,000.  In the past 60 days, as you will see below, nearly half of our sales of single family waterfront homes were below $635,000:

* All data is from the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service

Above is a snapshot of waterfront home sales by price range for the past 60 days.  Here are some additional statistics about our current waterfront real estate market: Continue reading

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Waterfront Real Estate: What is Currently on the Market in YOUR Price Range?

View of Main Channel of Lake Norman from a waterfront home

Without a doubt the most common contacts I get from this blog/website are buyers searching for waterfront homes on Lake Norman.  Most of these buyers feel this year is an opportunity to find a waterfront “bargain” and they are absolutely right.  Our 520 miles of shoreline offer many options in many price ranges and prices have dropped almost in half from their peak in 2006/2007!  That said, it is important that Lake Norman waterfront home buyers are well educated about what is available by price range. (Be realistic!)

In Part 1 of this series I analyzed our last 4 months of sales by price range.  In this segment, I am going to describe what is currently for sale by price range in hopes of helping some folks who may arrive in Lake Norman with unrealistic expectations of what they can afford.

Before I begin, if you are looking for a bargain on Lake Norman think “COMPROMISE” no matter what your price range.  Until you get well over $1million, the rule of thumb is this:

  • Chances are your comprise will involve either the lot or the house or both
  • Rule of thumb:  The better the lot (water, shoreline, views, depth, dock) the lesser the house in any price range.
  • If you want good deep water and open views of the lake you are either going to have to consider an older home/a fixer/a home with issues or be willing to pay at least $700,000 and even at that price it is difficult!  (Really more like $900,000+).

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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 waterfront homes

Lake Norman Waterfront Home Sales Are Improving…Slowly!

Lake Norman waterfront home

With 520 miles of shoreline, waterfront homes are an important segment of our Lake Norman real estate market.  Before the recession hit, waterfront homes appreciated at a much greater rate than off-water homes.  Since the beginning of our recession, waterfront home sales dropped more significantly for the most part because of the fact that they are priced above the conforming loan rate ceiling of $417,000.

In 2010 about one-third of my sales have been waterfront and I would guess that more than three-fourths of my longer-term buyers are waterfront so I am fortunate enough to be actively participating in this segment of our Lake Norman real estate market which enables me to gain insight into micro trends as well as macro.

Last winter was probably the bottom of the waterfront housing market in terms of volume.  The hottest price ranges then were under $700,000.  However, this summer we saw a flurry of activity in the $800,000 – $1,200,000 which then slowed but seems to have picked up again in the past few days.

I decided it would be interesting to take a look at our waterfront home sales for the past three months and compare them to the same period of 2009:

As you can see, in the past three months our waterfront  home sale were 23% higher than in 2009.  And, the average sales price has increased 5%. Continue reading

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Waterfront Home Sales Analysis 8/15/10

Lake Norman waterfront home in The Point

 Due to the eclectic nature of our Lake Norman waterfront homes, it is very difficult to make broad brush assumptions and statistical analysis that are truly meaningful.  How do we compare a home at the end of a cove to one with main channel shoreline let alone a 1980’s cottage on a rustic road to a grand estate in The Point?  Even our waterfront lots vary in price from the $100,000’s to well over $1million.

That said, Lake Norman waterfront home buyers want to know as much as possible about our current waterfront home sales in order to determine when to buy and how much to offer.

My current and very general rule-of-thumb is that at our peak waterfront homes sold on average at about $300 per square foot depending on the age, condition, quality of water, location etc.  Today my rule-of-thumb average price is about $200 per square foot.

To offer my specifics, I pulled data from our Charlotte MLS for waterfront properties since May 1, 2010 ranging in price from $300,000 to $1,500,000 thus eliminating the extreme highs and lows.  Here are the results:

  Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports, Lake Norman waterfront homes

The Point, Lake Norman’s Ultimate Luxury Community: A 9-Year Study

Lake Norman Waterfront Estate in The Point Luxury Community

I received an email yesterday from a potential Lake Norman home-buyer from Texas asking me if I could provide him with a 10-year history of sales in The Point.  Explaining that the best I could do due to time constraints would be to send him the raw data, I set out to pull up the numbers by year breaking out waterfront from all of the rest of the properties.  Well, being the data geek that I am, once I saw the raw data I decided I really wanted to make two spread sheets breaking the numbers out by year for my readers:  Continue reading

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Lake Norman waterfront homes, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

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

Helicoper on Lake Norman

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

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Waterfront Home Sales Analysis 2009

Lake Norman Waterfront Home

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

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

Lake Norman Waterfront Home Sales 2009

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

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

2005  = 478 @ $213.5 dollars per square foot

2006  = 377 @ $244 dollars per square foot

2007 = 307 @ $270 dollars per square foot

2008 = 165  @ 269 dollars per square foot

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

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

Lake Norman Waterfront Home

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

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

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

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

Lake Norman Waterfront 5-Year Sales Analysis

Lake Norman Waterfront Home Sales

Here are some critical numbers:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Learn More About Life in Lake Norman:

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

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

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate: Is now a good time to buy a waterfront home?

Lake Norman Waterfront Home

Lake Norman has come to life in the past month;  the water is warm, school is out and the boats, jet skis and water sports of all kinds are going on throughout the lake!

I am now having a continual flow of out-of-state buyers, especially from the Midwest and Northeast, coming to see our waterfront homes for sale.  Of course, the million dollar question is:  Is this a good time to buy a waterfront home?

During the past two years, the overall Lake Norman real estate market has slowed significantly.  The only price ranges that have good activity are those that meet the conforming loan limits of $417,000.  Our mid to high-end luxury home price ranges have slowed to a crawl which includes almost all of our waterfront homes.

Before our downturn in mid-2007 waterfront homes were increasing in value at a far greater rate than the rest of our homes.  So, it would stand to reason that this niche would also have the greatest vulnerability to loose value.  At our peak, the average waterfront home sold for about $300 per square foot.  Today, the average waterfront homes are selling at about $206 per square feet.  Here is a chart breaking the numbers down by our Multiple Listing Services areas:

lake-norman-waterfront-sales-analysis

 Overview:  We currently have 587 waterfront homes for sale and have sold 28 since January 1, 2009.  If we were to keep up this trend, it would take 56 months for us to sell all of our waterfront homes.  If we are generous and assume that about 23 homes will close in the next month based upon the number of pending sales as of today, we would currently have 26 months of supply.  This compares to 18.5 months of supply for all of  our Lake Norman real estate market.    But, as you can see above, these numbers vary greatly by the area.The average sales price when compared to the average final listing price was about 90%.  In other words, the average listing price was 10% higher than their sales price.

Area 13/1:  This is the area North of Highway 150 on up to Statesville.  With only one pending sale, this area has not picked up in sales and still has 58 months of inventory.  The average sales price is $694,666  and the average dollars per square foot is $191.  This area does not have as many luxury homes and was just experiencing their building boom when the market slowed.  Builders have been hit particularly hard in this area because of the number of spec homes they had just built.

Area 13/2:  This is South Iredell County/Mooresville from Highway 150 down to Langtree Rd at the new Exit 32.   Included in 13/2 would be the luxury community of The Point.  With 9 pending sales, right now we can estimate that we have about 22.5 months of supply.  The average sales price is $1,004,757 and the average dollars per square foot is $211. 

Area 13/3:  This is Mecklenburg County including Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville.  Included in this area would be the luxury community The Peninsula.  With 11 pending sales we can estimate that we have about a 12-month supply of waterfront homes.  The average sales price is $833,363 and the average dollars per square foot is $215.

Area 13/4:  This is Lincoln County including the unincorporated town of Denver.  Included in 13/4 would be the Crescent community of Sail View and several smaller luxury home communities.  With 4 pending sales, we can estimate that we currently have a 24-month supply of waterfront homes for sale.  The average sales price is $784,050 and the average dollars per square foot is $184 which is the lowest of the 5 areas.

Area 13/5:  This is Catawba County including Sherrills Ford and Terrell.  Included in 13/5 would be the Crescent community of Northview Harbour.  With 2 pending sales, we can estimate that we currently have a 50-month supply of waterfront homes for sale.  The average sales price is $505,448 which is the lowest of the entire Lake Norman area.  However, the average dollars per square foot is $204.6.

If there is one trend I can see, it is that the older communities are fairing better than the newer communities that still have new construction and/or are a bit more remote rather than being in the heart of Mooresville or Cornelius.  This may be because our builders have been the first to be hit hard with foreclosures.  Will there be a next wave of foreclosures before our market stabilizes?  It would certainly make sense.  Until jumbo loans are more available and affordable I still see our waterfront home market struggling.  So, to answer my million dollar question:  Is it a good time to buy a Lake Norman waterfront home?  It depends.  It depends on the location, the motiviation of the sellers and the season.  Right now we are in our peak season for home sales, but once fall hits, I expect to see a significant slowdown that will last at least through winter 2010.  Of course, this is only my opinion:)

Learn More About Life in Lake Norman:

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

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

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate: Luxury Home Market Update

Lake Norman waterfront estate in The Point

 I couldn’t resist having a little fun while providing an update of our Lake Norman luxury home sales.  Above is a home we locals refer to as the “Taco Bell” house.  It is located in The Point on the Brawley Peninsula and serves as a great landmark when out boating on the lake!

So, what is happening with luxury homes in Lake Norman?  In general, sales above $750,000 have been quite slow:

Active Listings: As you can see, we have 456 homes priced over $750,000 in Lake Norman and 12 have sold since the beginning of the year (1/1/09 – 3/9/09).  This means we have a 76 month supply of homes.

Solds:  12 homes sold since January 1, 2009 versus 29 in the same period of 2008.  This is a 59% drop in the number of sales.

Other Interesting Statistics regarding the 12 sales:

  • Average Size = 5,421 square feet
  • Average listing to selling price differential = 93%
  • Average $ per square foot = $195

What happens when we separate out waterfront homes?

  • 8 of the 12 sales were waterfront
  • Average Size = 5445
  • Average Sales Price = $1,130,812
  • Average $ per square foot = $208 vs $169 for non-waterfront homes

At the peak of our Lake Norman real estate market waterfront homes were selling, on average, for at least $300 per square foot, waterview homes sold for about $150 per square foot.

While this is just a snapshot of our most recent luxury home sales, it is fascinating to see that waterfront home prices seem to have dropped by almost $100 per square foot.  My own observations as I show waterfront properties would substantiate this.

Bottom line?  This spring/summer should be a GREAT time to buy waterfront homes on Lake Norman.  They have been hit the hardest during this downturn because they went up the most during the strong years and I can only assume that once our market turns around once again the limited supply of waterfront homes will drive the prices back up!

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lake norman real estate, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate: The Waterfront Community of Royal Pointe

Lake Norman's Waterfront Community of Royal Pointe

Tucked down Langtree Road away from the hustle and bustle of Brawley School Rd and the NC 150 is the intimate, upscale waterfront community of Royal Pointe in Mooresville Lake Norman.

Many times overlooked because it is so small and because there is so little turnover, for Lake Norman home buyers looking for an established, well maintained,  waterfront neighborhood where the homes are nestled in mature trees and landscaping and want great open water, Royal Pointe is a must see! Continue reading

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate: Waterfront Home Sales Update 9/15/08

Lake Norman Waterfront Estate in Mooresville

Waterfront homes on Lake Norman historically have marched to the beat of a different drummer. Until about March of 2007 our waterfront homes and lots were appreciating at a much faster rate than the non-waterfront homes throughout the Lake Norman area. Because we have a finite number of watefront lots/homes, the limited supply and high demand is in stark contrast to most of the greater Lake Norman area where land is still plentiful. Traditionally, the average price of a Lake Norman home is about twice the price of a waterview home and more than double the price of a home without a waterview or lake access/boatslip.

2008 Spring/Summer Waterfront Trends

9/15/087/18/084/29/08
Active Listings578621537
Conditional & Pending Listings403826

3 Month Sales 2008 Versus 2007

6/15/08 – 9/15/086/15/07 – 9/15/07% Change
Units Sold4575-40%
Average Sales Price$1,037,294$855,148+21%

Summary:

 

  • The number of active waterfront listings dropped slightly (7%) since July which is a good thing. However we still have a 38.5 months of supply which is about 4 times what we should have in a balanced market but an improvement over my last waterfront market report.
  • The number of Conditional, Contingent and Pending sales are slightly higher than July and almost double our April numbers
  • The number of closed sales for the same 3-month period in 2008 versus 2007 dropped 40% which is actually better when compared to the entire Lake Norman homes sales but still not a good trend.
  • The average sales price in this same period increased by 21%! We had 11 properties at $1 Million+ or 24% of our sales and 5 of these were over $2 Million with one sale @ $4.7 million. In the same period last year we had 17 sales $1 Million+ or 22.6% with only 3 sales at or above $2 million.

Recently I have been showing waterfront properties in just about every price range. What I have noticed is some significant price reductions in the lowest priced waterfront homes on up to about $1 million. Many of the homes are vacant with listing agents indicating that the sellers are very motivated.

In the higher-end waterfront homes I am not seeing as many price reductions. However, it is worth noting that the property that sold for $4,700,000 had a listing price of $5.7 million…so they negotiated a sale for $1 million less than the listing price.

While not a huge difference, we may just be seeing the first signs of improvement in our Lake Norman real estate market. Perhaps our waterfront homes will be the first to trend upward. We will watch and see!

* Special thank you to Chris Lowery for the use of his photo

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Lake Norman waterfront homes, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

The Peninsula in Cornelius, a luxury Lake Norman Community

Waterfront Italian Villa in The Peninsula in Cornellius

 

There is no doubt that the two most talked about real estate communities in Lake Norman are The Point in Mooresville and The Peninsula in Cornelius.

Both offer spectacular waterfront estates and the best of Crescent Communities amenities including renowned golf courses, tennis, swimming pools and myriad activities.

The Peninsula was build before The Point, so the neighborhoods are more established for the most part and it is almost completely built out with only a few new

homesites still available.

The Peninsula Yacht Club on Lake Norman

Located in Cornelius, The Peninsula is only about 23 miles from Charlotte yet has the benefits of two great clubs, the beautiful Peninsula Yacht Club, and The Peninsula Golf Club .

The Yacht Club offers a state-of-the-art marina with 400 boat slips, fine dining in the Yacht Club dining room overlooking the marina, and a competition sized swimming pool plus activities and boating classes.

The Peninsula Golf Club offers an 18-hole championship course designed by Rees Jones, recreational facilities at the Swim and Tennis Center, and a 35,000 square foot private clubhouse overlooking Lake Norman and the golf course.

Looking for hiking and nature trails? Beautiful Jetton Park is also right in their neighborhood!

There are currently 76 active listings in The Peninsula ranging in price from $432,000 to $3790,000. 48 of the 76 active listings are $1 million+.

I have found that The Peninsula and The Point are different enough that when my buyers tour both they usually decide to look seriously in only one of them. They each have their own personality and culture which is hard to describe until you see them in person!

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Lake Normans Cornelius: From small village to posh suburb

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Before buying a Lake Norman waterfront home, see it by boat!

Lake Norman Pontoon Boat

Okay, so I admit it, I love showing waterfront property here on Lake Norman by boat. (The above picture is of my skipper/husband while we are waiting for my clients to arrive.) Not a bad way to spend a beautiful day!

However, in all seriousness, it is extremely important, particularly for out-of-towners, to give waterfront buyers a tour of Lake Norman by boat after narrowing down their search a bit but BEFORE making an offer. Here are just some of the reasons why:
Lake Norman is huge. With 550 miles of shoreline there is an incredible variety of views, characteristics and even personalities of the various coves and shoreline areas and it is very important that anyone wanting to live on Lake Norman choose what best suit their own personal priorities.

Here are some things a waterfront home buyer should consider:

  • North vs South area of the lake and East vs West side of the lake (The northern section narrows ultimately to become the Catawba River and is where the Lake Norman State Park is located so is a bit cozier than the southern, wider areas of the lake).
  • Cove vs main channel and how far down a cove (Coves may not have the beautiful views of the main channel but they will be quieter and there will be less waves and noise during the busier days on the lake. The main channel has spectacular views and sunsets!)
  • Hidden vs exposed (Do you want a home nestled in trees or out in the bright sunshine?)
  • Quiet vs party atmosphere (Some coves are smaller and quiet while others are known for their “parties”!)
  • Water-skiing cove vs private cove vs main channel (Water skiing on the main channel can be a bit rough on the weekends so ideal water skiing is found in the larger coves. Jet Skis can go anywhere!)
  • Park-like rural vs open, wide main channel near restaurants or marinas
  • Bridge heights…what type of boat (For instance, there are some areas of the lake where you can’t have a sail boat because the bridges are too low between your cove and the main channel.)
  • Views/Direction house faces: sunset or sunrise, morning sun on which side of the house
  • Views: trees and neighboring docks and homes or open water

Lake Norman coveSeveral weeks ago I was working with a young family from the Northwest who wanted true lake living. We narrowed their search to 4 potential homes before going out on our boat. Once we spent time going by all of the homes by water and giving them a tour of the lake it became quite clear that two of the homes were on a very small cove that did not suit their desires at all but one they had eliminated the previous day turned out to be a great option for them.

It is also important for waterfront home buyers to see the actual homes they are interested in from the water as they can look quite plain from the street but be spectacular from the water. At the same time, they should check out the neighborhood from the lake…some areas like The Point are quite consistent but many of the neighborhoods will be a mixture of large, well maintained homes, older lake homes, cabins and even single and double-wide trailers.

No matter what kind of lake lifestyle you envision, Lake Norman will most likely have the perfect home for you. Just make sure to think ahead about your priorities and go out on the lake before buying a waterfront home. Then you can sit back and enjoy life with views like this!

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate: How are our waterfront home sales?

Lake Norman waterfront Homes

Would you be surprised to know that many of those relocating to Lake Norman do so only after first deciding that they want to live on a lake in the southeastern US and then determining through their own research that Lake Norman is the best lake in the southeastern US?  Perhaps its our 520 miles of shoreline that offers every kind of housing from modest cabins to grand estates but there is no doubt Lake Norman is one of THE destinations for those seeking a lifestyle change.

Until about March of 2007 our waterfront homes and lots were appreciating at a much faster rate than the non-waterfront homes throughout the Lake Norman area. Because we have a finite number of watefront lots/homes, the limited supply and high demand resulted in very strong sales and increased price appreciation compared to other homes in our lake communities.

What a difference a year makes. And, the downward trend continues as you can see from this new sales analysis:

2008 Spring/Summer Waterfront Trends

7/18/084/29/08% change
Active Listings621537+15.6%
Conditional & Pending Listings3826+46%

 

 

6 Month Sales 2008 Versus 2007

1/16/08 – 7/16/081/16/07 – 7/16/07% Change
Units Sold86189-64%
Average Sales Price$947,272$911,366+4%

 

Summary:

 

  • The number of active waterfront listings continue to increase at a rate of over 15% since late April of this year
  • The number of Conditional, Contingent and Pending sales is 46% higher than at the end of April of this year (are things picking up?)
  • The number of closed sales for the same 6-month period in 2008 versus 2007 dropped a whopping 64%
  • The average sales price in this same period increased by 4%

With 621 active waterfront listings on the market at today’s rate of sales (86 in 6 months or 172 in a year), the number of months of supply of active listings is an incredible 43 months! Keep in mind that a balanced real estate housing market has between 6-8 months of inventory.

What an amazing set of numbers. We have literally seven times the inventory levels of a balanced market yet average prices have hardly budged!

As I show waterfront homes the number of vacant homes definitely out-numbers ones that are still occupied. Sellers seem to be holding out hope that the market will pick-up while buyers are waiting for prices to drop. I think this is particularly evident in our Lake Norman waterfront homes which may be why sales are so slow. Both sides are in a holding pattern waiting for the other side to give. Since at least some of these homes are second homes perhaps the sellers are less motivated and many of the buyers don’t have to move since this is a lifestyle choice rather than out of necessity. It’s like watching a blinking contest…who is going to blink first? There is no doubt in my mind that prices of waterfront homes will come down…but by how much and when is truly impossible to predict!

Sometimes the decision to move in to a beautiful waterfront home on Lake Norman shouldn’t be about buying at the bottom but rather taking advantage of every year you can live here!

Learn More About Life in Lake Norman:

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

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

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

So, what about buying a waterfront lot on Lake Norman?

 

Lake Norman waterfront homes

After looking at Lake Norman waterfront home prices, buying a waterfront lot on Lake Norman may seem like a pretty good alternative. After all, in our real estate database we currently have 288 waterfront residential lots for sale starting at $125,000 on up to about $2 million. So, if you look even as high as $300,000 – $400,000 surely you will find a nice lot with lovely views something like the one above: Wide open views of the lake and lovely homes along the opposite shoreline in the distance?

Not so much!

The reality is that Lake Norman has myriad tiny coves that reach way into the land like skinny fingers. These coves vary tremendously in size, depth of water and topography. Some of the shoreline is very steep but some is quite flat with beautiful beaches.

Obviously, if you are looking at waterfront homes you will note that flatter lots with expansive “main channel” views are most desirable and also the most expensive. But what about lots?

Yesterday, some brave buyers and I looked at about 40 lots (in the rain) most of which were under $300,000 and a few just under $400,000.
The first challenge of viewing waterfront lots in this price-range is that most look like this from the street.

We had to hike through the heavy brush and forest of trees down to the water… or where the water was supposed to be!

Most of the lots were variable grades of steep to very steep, oddly shaped and when we got to the bottom we were lucky to find water deep enough for a boat.

Some lots were drawn such that an odd sliver would jut out just far enough to reach the water but had no relevance to the main lot. Or, there were major power-lines overhead. Or, there was water but one is not allowed to build a dock due to environmental issues. Several of the lots appeared to be watershed ravines…we couldn’t quite figure out how one would even be able to build a home on them!

There are a number of very important things to research about an unimproved waterfront real estate before ever making an offer:

  • Building costs related to the topography of the lot
  • Does the lot perc for a septic system? If so for how many bedrooms and where will be be located?
  • Can you build a dock and if so what kind and how large?
  • Do you need to dredge? What are the limitations, costs?
  • Does it have rip-rap (rocks shoring up the land and protecting the water) and if not what will it cost to prepare the shoreline and what are the limitations to what you can or can not do?
  • How far down the cove is it? Do you have any views of the lake or do you look across the cove to your neighbors?
  • How will the required 50? natural buffer area effect where you can build your home?
  • What environmental restrictions apply to the lot besides the 50? buffer?
  • What direction does it face? Do you want sunset views or do you mind facing North and not having any sun on the waterside of your home?
  • Are there any bridges between the lot and the main channel that would limit how large and what type of a boat you can use? i.e. sail boats

 

Pretty Lake Norman CoveMany of our coves are quite charming and offer a serene retreat unlike the busy main channel. When considering waterfront make a decision up front as to what kind of water you want. Most lots under $600,000 are going to be in smaller coves. The higher the price the closer to the main channel or the better the views and topography of the lot itself.

If these prices are out of your comfort range, you might consider a waterview home or a home with a deeded boat slip. You might even consider an older home on the water that may need some work but is livable and one you can make into your dream home over time.

To find out all of the specifics about Duke Energy’s Shoreline Management Plan and their 3-step review process for all lake activity you can go to their website: Duke-Energy. Prior to conducting ANY work within the Lake Norman boundary contact the Lake Services Office at 800.443.5193.

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Lake Norman Waterfront Home Sales Update

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Relocating to Lake Norman: What you should know before buying real estate Part 2

Lake Norman, Our Inland Sea

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Relocating to Lake Norman

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate: Waterfront home sales update

Lake Norman  waterfront  Italian Villa

One of the special opportunities for home buyers in Lake Norman are the wonderful waterfront homes along the 550 miles of shoreline. Up until the past year this segment of our real estate market consistently out performed the rest of the Lake Norman housing market. This was most certainly due to the nature of supply and demand as there are a finite number of homes and lots available on the lake itself.

When you look at the statistics for waterfront homes today it becomes clear that this category of Lake Norman real estate has been hit a bit harder than the rest of our market:

  • There are currently 537 active waterfront listings
  • There are currently 26 conditional, contingent and pending sales of waterfront homes
  • 14 waterfront homes sold since April 1st.
  • The average sales price during this period was $863,035 and the listing to sales price was -4.5%
  • In the same period of 2007, 31 waterfront homes sold.
  • The average sales price during the same period in 2007 was $880,331 and the list to sales price was -4.3%

Comparing 2008 to 2007, we can see that the number of sales of waterfront homes has dropped -55% but the average sales price has dropped only 2%. If we were to continue at the rate of 14 sales every four weeks, with 537 active waterfront homes currently for sale we would have 35 months of supply of listings which is about 4 times the amount in a balanced real estate market.

While sales prices have not dropped dramatically, with the amount of inventory of waterfront homes for sale it will be very interesting to watch this segment of the market in the next couple of months.

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate: Is the Luxury Home Market Coming Back to Life?

Lake Norman waterfront estateTwo things prompted my to write this post about high-end real estate sales in Lake Norman: A series of national articles about ˜affluent or ˜wealthy home buyers and several recent Lake Norman sales of homes over $3 million. Since there have been NO sales in the greater Lake Norman area of homes over $3 million since 5/14/07, the points in the three articles I read made some sense:

˜Wealthy Homeowners Take Advantage of Marketby Blanche Evans of Realty Times (4/17/08) is an analysis of ˜The Annual Survey Of Affluence and Wealth in America from American Express and the Harrison Group. (Participants were divided into three groups: the upper-middle class $100,000 – $149,000; the affluent $150,000 – $249,000; and the supper affluent $250,000 +). The bottom line of this report? 40% of the nations wealthy plan to buy real estate in 2008. ˜The wealthy view real estate as diversification and % believe real estate values will rebound.

˜Wealthy see buying opportunites in sluggish real-estate by Amy Hoak of MarketWatch also uses the American Express/Harrison Group survey as the foundation of her article. Of the highest income earners, she writes that ˜40% said they are in the market to acquire real estate this year. However this figure drops to 17% of their upper-middle class participants.

˜If Trump and Buffett can do it, so can you by Bernice Ross is the second of a two-part series she wrote about ˜reluctant buyers which was published by Inman News. ˜Its no secret that people like Warren Buffett and Donald Trump are actively involved in purchasing as much real estate as possible¦The smartest people in the real estate business are contrarians. They sell when prices increase and buy when prices are going down.

Here in our Lake Norman Area, $2,000,000 is probably where our true luxury home market begins. However, I found it very interesting that there had been no sales over $2,950,000 since May of 2007¦until this month. Showings of the highest priced homes have picked up and two Lake Norman estates recently went ‘under contract’: 20940 Bethelwood Lane (list price is $5,750,000) and 17216 Connor Quay Ct. (Listing price is $3,830,000).

It is hard to know if this is a true sign that luxury home buyers are returning to Lake Norman but it certainly indicates that there are some positive moves in that direction.

*Thank you to Chris Lowery of www.Open2View.com for the photograph!

**Update 9/14/08: The property on Bethalwood Lane closed at $4,900,000.

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lake norman real estate, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Is “The Point” Lake Norman and Mooresville NC’s Ultimate Luxury Community?

 

Lake Norman's Luxury Waterfront and Golf Community The PointPicture 1,200 acres of real estate with lush gardens nestled in tall trees along 18 miles of the most beautiful shoreline of Lake Norman and you can begin to imagine arguably Lake Normans preeminent housing community: The Point. Now add an 18-hole golf course designed by Greg Norman, a Nantucket style village and 900 luxury homes built on large home sites by a group of the most respected builders hand-picked by Crescent Communities and the result is an upscale country club lifestyle blended perfectly with the casual Lake Norman lifestyle. Welcome to The Point!

Waterfront Estate at The Point Lake Norman

What makes The Point special?

  • The Point has been recognized for their environmentally sensitive landscape design capturing the natural beauty as well as their outstanding landscape maintenance
  • The Point has received numerous acknowledgements and awards for outstanding building and design achievements in real estate
  • The Greg Norman designed Golf Course is known for a course that incorporates the magnificent land with the beautiful lake into a very challenging yet playable course
  • Trump National Golf Club Charlotte  offers an incredible range of services and activities including their Nantucket Style Village
  • Some say they feel like their are on a permanent vacation!

Lake Norman Waterfront Estate in The Point There are 13 phases of housing at The Point most of which have been completed but there are still custom homes available as well as some lots. The Community map provides a good overview of the real estate homesites.

While many homes reflect the feel of New England, because these are custom homes built by at least 15 different builders you will find everything from French Provincial, to Colonial to traditional and contemporary styles of architecture.

There are currently 113 homes for sale and re-sale ranging in price from $569,000 to $4,500,000 and ranging in size from about 3000 square feet to over 9000. The average sale price is just about $1,100,000.

The beauty, friendly neighborhoods, luxury watefront homes are just a part of what makes The Point stand out as Lake Normans most popular housing communities. It is the sense of community and the amenities ˜for every lifestyle that make The Point an almost self-sufficient neighborhood.

The Nantucket-style village with its cobblestone streets is the heart of the community and the center of the myriad amenities offered for residents of all ages including a General Store, a Tavern, Fitness Center, the Village Green and Meeting House, Golf Pro Shop, Children’s activity rooms. Since writing this article, these wonderful amenities are now part of Trump National Golf Club Charlotte!

The Point welcomes children of all ages with open arms!They even have a separate CD available that just focuses on all of the activities offered to children including a full-time activities director, sports including swim teams, golf lessons, water sports from wake boarding to sailing, parties and fun events like movies at the pool, arts and crafts and so much more.

There is a Junior Olympic swimming pool, a slash pool with a towering lighthouse waterslide and play equipment like water jets, toys and games Finally, there is a Tot pool with play fountain and a cabana snack bar.

Imagine a summer camp on steroids¦thats what children are offered!

Another important factor for parents to consider is the popular public schools that service children living at The Point: Woodand Height Elementary, Brawley Middle School and Lake Norman High School

So, if you are looking for Lake Norman waterfront real estate or Golf Club lifestyle but the comforts of an upscale community with myriad sports and amenities for all ages, visit The Point.

*Update 9/14/08 Sales have been very slow at The Point prompting many price reductions so if you haven’t looked for a while, you might be surprised at the prices.

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Waterfront Communties: Pine Isle and North Shore

Tucked away on beautiful wooded lots along the Lake Norman shoreline are two side-by-side subdivisions that are truly separate but equal is most every way. Pine Isle and North Shore were the first Crescent Homes developments on the Brawley School Peninsula in Mooresville. The Point came shortly after these two smaller, serene waterfront communities.

In 1991, Crescent sold M.I. Homesthe Pine Isle land and Developer/Builder Robert Ingrim the North Shore land. Although they started out as separate subdivisions and still are in that they have different Home Owners Associations and amenities, I honestly think that they blend together so perfectly that they feel like they are one.

Located towards the end of Isle of Pines Rd in Mooresville, most of the lots are heavily wooded and truly offer a retreat feel. The homes range in size from about 2000 sq. ft. to over 5000 sq. ft. While mostly two story homes, there are one story ranches scattered throughout both subdivisions.

They both have Community Club Houses, pools, recreation areas and, most importantly, BOAT SLIPS. The original buyers of the lots/homes had the option, for $4000, to have a deeded boat slip. Most of them opted to buy one even though it was’t thought of as necessary.

 Today, because of a shortage of boatslips on Lake Norman, it makes a huge difference if a home in North Shore or Pine Isle has a boat slip. Who knew?

In the past year 10 homes sold in Pine Isle and North Shore. Prices ranged from $330,000 to $1,150,000. If you take out the waterfront homes the average sales price for the past year was $391,780. This is partially a function our our current real estate market as there are some lovely $400,000+ homes for sale but that price range happens to have a glut of active listings in the greater Lake Norman area.

One detail to note: Robert Ingrim used Synthetic Stucco (North Shore) and M.I. used Hard-coat Stucco (Pine Isle). Many of the synthetic homes have been refaced with brick or siding but it is important to know this if you are thinking of buying. (See my article about Stucco).

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Waterfront Homes Have Water Again!

Lake Norman waterfront home views

I always love showing buyers waterfront homes because Lake Norman is just so beautiful. But, today was special. Even in the smallest of coves there was plenty of water for the first time since our drought started last summer.

Our beautiful lake is gleaming, the boats are back at their docks and our waterfront homes look better than ever!

My friend, who moved here from Texas a year ago, commented on the fact that when they first moved here they had no idea how large Lake Norman really was and that it is truly more like an inland ocean than a lake. I thought that was great perspective to share with anyone thinking about moving here.

Just to confirm officially, I came home and checked the Lake Norman water levels on Duke-Energy’s website. They are actually 1.5′ ABOVE our target level of 95.9 and are, as of 2:28 today, a very comfortable 97.4′.

Add a profusion of blossoming trees, daffodils, bright yellow forsythia and the budding of myriad bushes to the sparkling lake and you might just say it was a perfect day to be in real estate!

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lake norman real estate, Lake Norman waterfront homes

The Harbour at the Pointe; A Popular Lake Norman Subdivision

Now that I have given you all an overview of life and real estate in the greater Lake Norman area, it is time to start focusing on individual subdivisions, of which there are many!

I chose to write about The Harbour at the Pointe first because it is one of my favorites. Located in Mooresville on the eastern shoreline of Lake Norman , The Harbour subdivision broke ground in 1992 and offers homes from about 2400 square feet to over 5000 square feet. The lots range from heavily wooded to lovely manicured gardens; some with waterviews and of course, some waterfront homes as well.

So makes The Harbour special ?

  • Beautifully landscaped common areas full of Crepe Myrtles, lush green grass, towering pine trees and colorful annuals.
  • One of the few subdivisions out on the lake, other than its neighbor, The Point , that has curbs, some sidewalks and a true sense of neighborhoods for those looking for a more neighborly feel rather than a Lake Norman retreat
  • Almost all homes come with deeded boatslips which is extremely valuable as boatslips are limited on Lake Norman
  • Marina area with day docks, deededboatslips and a boat ramp
  • Community Club House
  • Junior Olympic sized pool
  • Tennis Courts
  • Soccer field
  • Playground
  • Basketball court
  • Volleyball
  • Community well
  • Maintenance checks on septic systems is part of HOA dues
  • Actually, while this is a wonderful list of amenities, what truly makes The Harbour special is its sense of community. From Easter and Halloween events for the children to planned activities like Ladies’ Night, Barbecues, Tennis and Golf Tournaments, and even neighborhood beautification and community service projects there are many activities for all ages.

We kept our boat there our first year here and we found everyone to be very friendly. During the summer the pool was buzzing with activity yet the trails through the tall pines to many of the docks is completely tranquil.

Current Real Estate Summary:

  • There are currently 27 homes in The Harbour listed for sale in the MLS ranging in price from $412,900 to $2,845,000
  • In the past year 23 homes in The Harbour sold from $354,825 to $1,410,000.
  • The average days a home is on the market at The Harbour was 95 which is significantly shorter than the greater Lake Norman area
  • They have about 13 months of supply of homes for sale which is about 40% less than the greater Lake Norman area…this is very good!
  • The average sales price was $187 per square foot (This includes waterfront homes)

Beautiful homes and gardens, wonderful amenities, located on the shoreline of Lake Norman, close to Mooresville shopping; The Harbour at The Pointe might be the perfect home for you!

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports, Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Luxury Home Market Report

Lake Norman Luxury home

One of the greatest challenges there is when doing an analysis of the luxury home market, whether in Mooresville, Lake Norman, Charlotte or Beverly Hills, is to determine exactly what price range to use. If you look at many real estate ads in our Lake Norman area brokers will include anything above $750,000 or even less.

Here in Lake Norman we have another element to consider when determining the true luxury home price range; whether the home is on a waterfront lot, has a waterview or golf course view lot or neither. Generally speaking (all price ranges), waterview homes sell for about $150 per square foot and a waterfront home sells for about $300 per square foot. Of course, it depends on the quality of the water…is it deep water with views of the “main channel” of Lake Norman, or is it down one of the myriad small coves with shallow water and limited views of the actual lake?

For the sake of this Lake Norman market report, I am going to separate the estates in to three price points: $900,000+, $1,500,000+ and $2,000,000 as I think these are separate and distinct niches. All figures are bases on today, March 10, 2008 and are from the Charlotte Regional MLS:

$900,000 – $1,499,999

  • Active listings= 166
  • Active waterfront listings = 117 (70% of the listings are waterfront)
  • Active non-waterfront listings = 49
  • $ per square foot of active waterfront listings= $278
  • $ per square foot of active non-waterfront listings = $226
  • Number of listings sold in the past year = 94
  • Number of waterfront listings sold in the past year = 64 (68% of sales were waterfront properties)
  • Number of non-waterfront listings sold in the past year = 30
  • $ per square foot of waterfront listings sold = $271
  • $ per square foot of non-waterfront listings sold = $220

$1,500,000 – $1,999,999

  • Active listings = 75
  • Active waterfront listings = 68
  • $ per square foot of active waterfront listings = $308
  • Number of listings sold in the past year = 27
  • Number of waterfront listings sold in the past year = 25
  • $ per square foot of waterfront listings sold = $285

$2,000,000

  • Active listings = 53
  • Active waterfront listings = 51
  • $ per square foot of active waterfront listings = $421
  • Number of listings sold in the past year = 16
  • Number of waterfront listings sold = 15
  • $ per square foot of waterfront listings sold = $362

Summary:

It is interesting to note that at the $2,000,000+ price range all but two listings were waterfront. The only exception that I see to this would be some special property with considerable acreage like a gated Equestrian Farm on 15+ acres currently on the market in Huntersville for $2,870,000.

Note the progressive shrinking of the number of solds versus active listings as the prices increase. At the $2 million plus range only 16 properties sold in the past 12 months and there are 53 active listings. If this rate of sales were to continue we would have about a 40 month supply of listings on hand!

The highest sale in the past year on Lake Norman according to our MLS was $4,200,000; a 12,482 square foot waterfront estate in Cornelius. All of the rest of the 15 sales were below $3,000,000. About half of these sales were in Mooresville in The Point and the other half were in Cornelius.

We currently have 18 listings over $3 million on up to $10,500,000 yet we only had one sale in this highest price range in the past year.

Clearly, our highest end luxury home sales have been extremely slow. Some of these listings have been on the market as much as 2 years!

However the properties right about $1 million are actually relatively strong even compared to the entire Mooresville and Lake Norman home sales and current inventory.

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Lake Norman waterfront homes

Lake Norman Real Estate: How are waterfront homes and properties fairing?

Lake Norman waterfront home

Buyers looking for Lake Norman waterfront homes or lots have over 520 miles of shoreline inventory from which to choose. This is part of what draws so many people from all over the country to Lake Norman to find their dream home, cottage, or even lot for future retirement.

Because there is a finite supply of shoreline there is also a finite number of waterfront Lake Norman homes and lots. It is truly necessary to study the supply and demand for these waterfront properties separately from the rest of Lake Norman real estate.

According to the Charlotte Regional Multiple Listing Services (MLS) there are currently 366 waterfront homes and 259 waterfront lots listed for sale on Lake Norman. The average listing price for a waterfront home is $1,248,759 and for lots is $586,965. Prices range from the $200,000’s to $6,250,000 for an 11,395 square foot waterfront estate!

Lake Norman real estate sales, overall, have slowed due to the national housing downturn and sub-prime mortgage problems. But, what about our waterfront homes and lots?

LAKE NORMAN WATERFRONT SALES 2007 VS 2006

(Period analyzed: September 1 – December 28)

Average days on the market:

  • 2007: 113
  • 2006: 94
  • % change: +19% longer this year vs. 2006

Average sales price:

  • 2007: $944,909
  • 2006: $909,286
  • % change: + 4% increase in average sales price

Average size of the waterfront home:

  • 2007: 3722 square feet
  • 2006: 3601 square feet
  • % change: +3%

Average price per square feet:

  • 2007: $254 per square foot
  • 2006: $252 per square foot
  • % change: 0

Number of waterfront homes sold:

  • 2007: 69
  • 2006: 107
  • % change: -35%

If you look at these statistics you will see that while it took longer to sell a waterfront home this past fall and the number of waterfront homes that sold dropped 35% the average sales price actually had a modest increase during this period as compared to the same period in 2006. The weakness, while not quite as signifcant as the entire Lake Norman real estate market, is the amount of inventory of active waterfront listings which is more than double that of a balanced real estate market .

What is interesting for a seller or prospective seller of waterfront property to note is that the average days unsold listings have been on the market is 140 which is significantly higher than those that sold. In this market, it is critical to price your home at market value!

A Quick Look at Lake Norman Waterfront Lots

My MLS sales analysis of Lake Norman Waterfront lots resulted is much the same findings as above for homes. This fall fewer lots sold and they took a bit longer to sell but their average sales price was up from $400,752 to $539,643.

Before our downturn in early spring 2006, waterfront properties were hot and I expect them to be again once buyers gain confidence in the economy. Our local economy is very strong and with our limited supply of waterfront homes and lots, I would expect them to be “hot” again. If only I could say when! If you have read my previous articles you will know that I am predicting a flat real estate market in the Lake Norman area for 2008. As we get in to the new year, I will keep updating my sales analysis and the future trends.

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