All Real Estate is Local: Especially Here in Lake Norman!
Today’s headline in the Charlotte Observer’s Business Section was: Home sellers beware; Worst slump in 16 years likely to deepen, analysts say.
Of course, this is only the latest of an almost daily pounding of the real estate market in both the national and local news. And, there is no doubt that in real estate offices all around us agents are talking about the down market as well. Rather than jump on the hysteria band wagon I decided to take a quick look at recent Lake Norman real estate sales and inventory numbers in our MLS (Multiple Listing Service).
At first glance, the Lake Norman areas combined looked remarkably good considering the time of year, the heat and the national housing slump.
We currently have 1328 active listings as compared to 1300 on June 30th when I did my second quarter sales analysis. 153 properties closed in the past month (a 16% decline vs the same time period in 2006) which means we have about an 8.7 month supply of homes for sale compared to 8.4 months of supply on June 30th. This is significantly lower than the 11.9 months of supply quoted in the Charlotte Observer article. ( Months of supply simply means if we were to follow the same rate of sales per month as today and no new listings were added we would sell out in 8.4 months. A healthy, balanced real estate market has about an 8 month supply. Some areas around the country like parts of Florida have a 30 month supply!) The average number of days a listing is on the market this past month in Lake Norman was 99 which is just a bit higher than during the spring. All and all, the numbers are not reflecting the news and feedback of local Realtors.
In our MLS, Lake Norman is Area #13 and has 6 sub-areas. 13/1 and 13/2 are Iredell County from Mooresville to North of Troutman. 13/3 is Mecklenbug County and 13/4 and 13/5 are Lincoln and Catawba Counties. (13/6 is Catawba River which I don’t use in my sales analysis). I decided to look at the past month’s sales by these sub areas:
- 13/1 & 13/2 (Iredell County): 644 Active Listings, 58 Solds in the past month. Summary: 11.1 months of inventory of listings on hand. The average price per square foot decreased by 19% and sales volume plummeted 39.6% compared to the same time period last year. This is by far and away the weakest area around the lake and the area most of the agents I know focus on which explains the negative commentary.
- 13/3 (Mecklenburg County): 194 Active Listings, 37 Solds in the past month. Summary: 5.2 months of inventory of listings on hand. The average price per square foot increased by 12% and sales volume increased by 12% compared to the same time period last year. Interesting isn’t it! The Lake Norman home sales in Davidson, Cornelius and Huntersville have been stable and even improved a bit since last year.
- 13/4 & 13/5 (Lincoln and Catawba County Lake Norman homes): 490 Active Listings, 58 Solds in the past month. Summary: 8.4 months of inventory of listings on hand. The average price per square foot was almost identical and the sales volume increased by 6.8%.
I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to analyze the specific sales niche in which you are interested in buying or selling. Even the numbers above aren’t sufficient. You should also know the activity in your specific price range as right now certain price ranges are very strong while others are extremely slow.
I began my real estate career in 1991 during a very serious recession in Southern California. I had clients lose as much as $300,000 when selling their homes. Like any long-time Realtors I have experienced numberous business cycles and have learned how to guide my clients through each of them. Perhaps that is why I am not as anxious as many Realtors in our Lake Norman area who have never experienced a slow or down real estate market. While there is no doubt that our Lake Norman real estate market has been impacted by the national real estate slow down, there are some good aspects to this market as well. If you have specific questions about buying or selling in this market please comment, call or email me!
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