After a positive upswing in home sales in March, our Lake Norman real estate market is trending back down when compared to not only last month but prior years as well. I actually anticipated slightly higher closed home sales in our Lake Norman area for April but while the month started fairly strong, it ended with a whimper. Here are the numbers from our Charlotte Multiple Listing Service:
A closer look:
- The number of Active Listings in Lake Norman remains below last year’s. We are seeing a a slight uptick in new listings but not a significant spring bump which is very positive for our overall Lake Norman housing market. Our absorption rate/months of supply of active listings remains stable at 14.5 months. Unfortunately, a goal of a truly balanced housing market of 6-8 months of supply is still out of reach in our Lake Norman area 13. Clearly we need to have a combination of increased sales and decreased levels of active listings in order to return to a balanced market. Note that the average price of our active listings dropped 11% compared to April 2010. We continue to see a number of price reductions.
- Contingent Sales, (sales contracts that are contingent upon the buyer selling their own home) which don’t account for a signifcant segment of our housing market, have been declining for several months and are now actually 44% below last year’s.
- Conditional Sales and our new “Due Diligence” catagory dropped by 8% this month when compared to April 2010. These are homes that just went under contract and still have financial and inspection conditions. They represent potential future closed sales most likely in June/July. After peaking in March this downward movement indicates we are going to be in for at least few rough months. The million dollar question is now whether this is an indication that our Lake Norman housing market for 2011 is going to remain weaker than 2010 or whether we will see improvement later this year.
- Our pending sales represented a 33% decrease from a year ago. These are the contracts that are past inspections and are just waiting to close. Pending sales are usually the best indication of closed sales in the next few weeks. Our Lake Norman Pending numbers have been down for the past 4 months unlike the national trends. That said, it is important to remember that last year we were anticipating the end of the tax incentives for home buyers so April-June of 2010 had a boost that we don’t have this year.
- The number of closed home sales in Lake Norman actually decreased by 8% compared to April 2010 and it looks like the next few months will continue this negative trend.
One important note: There are a lot of red numbers in this chart in both the numbers and the average prices.
The total number of Lake Norman single family homes under contract (but not yet closed) on April 30 dropped to 173 after a high on March 31, 2011 of 195. On February 28, 2011 we had 163 compared to January 31st’s 142; December 31st’s 141, to November 30th’s 169, to August’s and July’s numbers of 157, and to June’s 169.
Here is a breakdown by price-range of our March 2011 closed sales in Lake Norman’s area 13- to 13-5:
- $25,000 – $199,999: 12
- $200,000 – $299,999: 17
- $300,000 – $399,999: 14
(These Solds were 53% of April )
- 400,000 – $499,999: 9
- $500,000 – $599,999: 9
(These Solds represented 22% )
- $600,000 – $699,999: 8
- $700,000 – $799,999: 2
- $800,000 – $899,999: 2
- 900,000 – $999,999: 3
(Solds for $600,000 – $1mill = 18.5%)
- $1,000,000 – $1,999,999: 4
- $2 million+ : 1
(Solds $1million+ = 6% of April’s total sales)
While not a huge portion of our overalls home sales, our Lake Norman waterfront luxury estates are selling. Our highest-priced closed sale in April which was located in The Point was $2,210,000. There are currently 14 Lake Norman estates over $1 million under contract. While not stellar, luxury home sales are picking up.
Waterfront homes represented 30% of our March Lake Norman home sales. The average price was $780,662 and $193 per square foot compared to $185 last month.
7-Year Comparison of Lake Norman Home Sales By Month
* Please note that all of my numbers come from the Charlotte Region Multiple Listing Service and will not include sales that took place outside of our MLS.
**I have made an adjustment of the totals reflecting the ACTUAL sales every month in 2009, 2010 and 2011 and the totals in the prior calendar years. The columns may not add up but I do my best with what I have to work! I also adjust past months when I do the monthly update as a few more sales are usually input late by agents.
Above is a snapshot of Lake Norman home sales numbers by month for the past 7 years. As you can see, our April home sales were the second lowest April since I have been doing this chart. Based upon our number of homes currently under contract it looks like our Lake Norman real estate market is trending well below the second quarter of 2010.
It is important to point out that our Lake Norman housing market is not tracking with either Charlotte or the US real estate trends. So, are we experiencing the “double dip” Case-Shiller is reporting in most markets? Clearly, if you look at the chart above, 2009 was our first low in terms of the number of Lake Norman homes sold and we are experiencing a second dip in the number of sales so far this year. However, the US housing sales bottomed out in 2008, increased in 2009 and then fell back down in 2010 so we seem to be a year behind them in this regard.
Unlike our sales volume, I believe that our Lake Norman housing market’s average prices have been trending downward consistently since 2007 and have not yet hit bottom entirely. Our prices, especially of waterfront properties, are very erratic. We have been seeing some incredible “bargain” sales over the past several years but at the same time some Lake Norman homes are selling at slightly higher prices so I can’t say this is true across the board nor can I say that we will see many more of these rock bottom prices. It depends on how many more distressed homes come on the market and when the buyers decide they better step up and buy because there is nothing better at that price.
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