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.
Lake Norman’s 2013 real estate sales have been breaking records since January 1st. That said, it appears more likely at each passing month that our number of monthly home sales may have peaked in May and are now trending down slightly each month. The numbers below further substantiate this. We currently have 253 single family homes under contract in all of Lake Norman which is a drop from last month’s 260, June’s 301 and May’s high of 330 but is still the 6th highest number since I have been keeping these records. Let’s take a look at a snapshot of the past two weeks’ activity:
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 4 years to help put our August 2013 numbers in perspective with past August’s, not just the past 6 months.
August Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 5 Years
- New listings: Our number of new homes for sale in Lake Norman has remained stable our total number of active listings remaining just under 1000. If you add our new listings to the 31 back-on-market we had a total of 122 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks which is 4% higher than last month’s but 28% more than our August 2012 Hot Sheet’s. At the same time 129 properties went under contract or sold for a net drop of 7 active listings in the past two weeks. As of today, the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stands at 995 up from our low of 690 on January 2, 2013 and slightly higher than last year at this time. I am a bit concerned that we had more rather than less new listings for any August since 2009. While buyers are anxious for new homes to come on the market, low inventory is an important part of Lake Norman’s housing recovery. Clearly, as sellers and Realtors gain optimism about our market they will be more likely to list new properties for sale. Higher inventory levels could jeopardize our recovery.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market increased dramatically when compared to all of 2013 and were the highest in August since 2009 when I started keeping these records. These are primarily cancelled purchase contracts. This increase is troubling because it may indicate that sellers and buyers are less committed to their contracts or that the loan process is getting more difficult again. Are the higher interest rates and the looming threat of even higher interest rates a factor?
- The number of price changes also increased this month when compared to the past 6 months and were higher than August 2012’s. Fearing that they have missed the peak of Lake Norman’s 2013 home sales, perhaps once overly optimistic more sellers and listing agents are reducing prices to ensure that they don’t miss out on Lake Norman’s strong housing market. Sales prices in Lake Norman have stabilized due to low inventory and higher sales. They have even inched up in some niches. In general, properties are selling more quickly as well. Please note that it is extremely difficult to determine our REAL average and median price trends here in Lake Norman because of our combination of waterfront, waterview, golf course homes and off-water homes all mixed together in our MLS numbers. One or two $2 million dollar or higher sales will throw our average prices way out of whack.
- Our “Under Contract but Continue to Show” properties, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS, dropped back down below our March 2013 Hot Sheet numbers. That said, at 42, this is equal to the strongest August since I started keeping these records in 2009. Clearly the Lake Norman real estate market remains positive and I expect we will continue to log higher sales numbers in August and September when compared to prior years back to 2007’s peak.
- Pending home sales (Now called “Under Contract No Showings or UCNS” by our MLS) improved slightly this month after dropping in July. Our pending sales were up 46.7% from last month and were also up 34% from August 2012. However,they are lower than our peak months of 2013. (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 in 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).
- 56 closed sales were reported in the past two weeks. While down from May, June and July’s of this year, this was the highest number of closed sales on our August Hot Sheet reports since I started keeping these records. So far this month we have had 65 recorded single family home sales in our Lake Norman communities. While I feel confident that we will at least match and probably exceed last August’s 120 closed sales, our August 2013 sales will definitely not equal or exceed the past three months’s sales numbers. This further substantiates my feeling that our Lake Norman real estate home sales most likely peaked in May for the year but will remain relatively strong and will most likely continue to out perform 2012.
So, what am I experiencing right now? The market feels lively but not as “hot” as it did in late spring. “Good” properties in “good” neighborhoods are selling quickly but clearly our recent increase in price reductions indicates that not all properties are created equal and that price is still important. The lower price ranges continue to lead the recovery but there has been some marked improvement in some higher price ranges and even our luxury homes. The dynamics of our current Lake Norman housing market are complex and challenging despite strong sales.
I continue to encourage my buyers to buy if they find a good home at a good price, especially waterfront homes and lots or homes in the most popular neighborhoods. While I don’t anticipate prices going up significantly in Lake Norman in 2013, I also don’t see nor expect to see that many truly exceptional bargains. (Less than 4% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and shortsales). A year ago I sold several waterfront “teardowns” in the $300,000’s but those are simply gone. Waterfront lots/teardowns with good water in Mooresville are now priced in the mid $400,000’s and up. Prices in general are still historically low but with the recent jump in interest rates real estate has become slightly less affordable. Economists are all guessing as to how likely it will be that the Feds begin to cut back on their purchases of bonds as early as next month. If they do cut back, we can anticipate a rise in mortgage rates at the same time. In my opinion, 2013 represents a great opportunity for potential Lake Norman home buyers. It is impossible to predict specifics for the rest of 2013 but all signs point to continued improvement in the national and local Lake Norman housing markets.
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