Want the very latest insight into our Lake Norman real estate market? So do I which is why, every month, I do a snapshot analysis of the middle two weeks of the month to get a sense of where our Lake Norman real estate market is at this very moment…an almost live insight into the heartbeat of the Lake Norman housing market. These Hot Sheet reports serve as pretty good predictors of our short-term Lake Norman real estate market.
The last three months pretty much blew our sales trends right out of the water. As of today the MLS has a total of 120 closed sales for May, 117 sales for June and 114 for July which are the three highest months’ sales since August of 2007! It appears from our numbers below that August will also be a very strong month of housing sales for Lake Norman but there are some signs of a slowdown for Sept/Oct. Will we match last month’s highs? Let’s take a look:
Lake Norman Real Estate’s Two-Week Hot Sheet
* The above chart is a summary of today’s “Hot Sheet” from the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service for single family homes in all of Lake Norman (area 13). These numbers represent a real time snapshot of the past two week’s activity. (August 7th – 21st). As always, I have included the past 6 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective.
I created this additional chart comparing just the August Hot Sheets for the past 3 years to help put our August 2012 numbers in perspective with the past Augusts’, not just the past 6 months:
August Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 4 Years
- New listings: Our number of new listings declined when compared to prior Augusts’ and all prior months this year. If you add our new listings to the 17 back-on-market we had a total of 88 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks compared to last August’s 95, 112 in August 2010 and 175 in August 2009. As of this morning the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stood at 965, above our all time low of 752 in January but still low historically and trending back down after a high of 985 last month. The reason these low numbers are such good news is because keeping our inventory low will help stabilize our own Lake Norman housing market no matter what is happening in other areas or states.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, were equal to last months’ and lower when compared to our past 3 Augusts’. Clearly home buyers are still experiencing challenges with loan approvals and appraisals but over all properties that are under contract are more likely to close today than in past years. Every loan approved still warrants a celebration!
- The number of price changes increased slightly from last month but were significantly lower than prior Augusts’. Lower inventory clearly has an impact on the number of price reductions but there is no doubt that overpriced listings are sitting until they are reduced to the “magic” number that generates offers, even multiple offers.
- Pending home sales (Now called “Under Contract No Showings or UCNS” by our MLS) dropped compared to previous Augusts’. Pending or “Under Contract No More Showings” are contracts that have passed all of their conditions/contingencies/Due Diligence Deadlines and are just waiting to close. These properties will most likely close by the end of this month or early September. Because of the change in categories, it is best to add this number with the Conditional (Under Contract Show UCS) in order to compare apples to apples.
- The number of closed sales reported in the past two weeks, while lower than last month’s, were still the second highest in 2012 and the strongest August since I started keeping these records in 2009. When all of our numbers were in we actually recorded 114 closed home sales in Lake Norman last month, 117 in June and 120 in May which, as I said above, make these the highest months’ sales since August 2007. So far this entire month a healthy 57 properties have already closed compared to 67 last month at this same time period, 45 closed sales in June, 44 in May, 43 in April, 43 in March, 34 in February and 21 in January. Considering all of these numbers, my best guess is that we will close at least 100 single family home sales again this month. The dip in new contracts indicates a potential future slowdown but this is typical for fall in Lake Norman.
- Unlike last month, our “Under Contract but Continue to Show” properties, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS picked up slightly from last month but are not terribly strong historically. As the very most recent properties to go under contract, this may be an indication that our Lake Norman housing market is beginning to slow down after 8 very strong months in 2012.
This month our closed sales remain strong while our Pending/Under Contract Show AND No Showings when combined actually droppped. Our decline in the number of new contracts does seem to indicate that the pace of our sales may be slowing down which is common as we head into fall. Just as I wrote last month:
Overall, these numbers are very encouraging. If inventory remains low, and our sales are at least steady each month it would indicate that our Lake Norman housing market has hit bottom. Our current number of months of supply of active listings stands at about 8.5 months using our 114 closed sales in July. With a balanced real estate market goal of 6-8 months, Lake Norman has dipped into this territory for the first time since the recession hit!. Here in the Charlotte/Lake Norman housing market our downturn hit in spring 2007 which was a bit later than most of the country. It is reasonable to expect that we might not follow national trends as we heal. I continue to encourage my buyers to buy if they find a good home at a good price, especially waterfront homes. While I don’t anticipate prices going up in Lake Norman this year, I also don’t see that many truly exceptional bargains. (Less than 7% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and shortsales). Prices in general are low as are interest rates. In my opinion, 2012 represents a great opportunity for potential Lake Norman home buyers. Is that a light I see at the end of the tunnel? Only time will tell!
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