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.
After 5 relatively strong months over the summer and early fall, our Lake Norman housing market has experienced a slowdown since November, once again underscoring the erratic nature of today’s real estate market. The most significant aspect of today’s Lake Norman numbers is the continued decline in the number of active listings for sale. At only 837 homes for sale in all of area 13 (Lake Norman), the trend of double digit declines continues. In December of 2008 we had 1400+ homes for sale in Lake Norman.
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. (December 7th – 21st). As always, I have included the past 6 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective.
- New listings: The number of new listings coming on the market continues to decline. Last December we had 60 new listings on the hot sheet and in December 2009 71 new listing. If you add our new listings to the 14 back-on-market we only had a total of 63 Lake Norman properties added to our housing inventory in the past two weeks. As of this morning we have the lowest number of active listings in Lake Norman since I have been keeping records (2007) : 837!
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, increased slightly. While challenges continue related to securing financing due to tight restrictions on home loans by lenders, they are improving. However, many buyers are nervous and even indecisive so no contract is a done deal until it closes.
- The number of price changes dropped pretty significantly. Last December we had 71 price changes in the same two-week period. This drop may be due to our declining inventory or seasonal trends but it will be important to watch as a continued decline may reflect a strengthening of our prices.
- Pending home sales continue their downward trend after a great mid-year rally. This indicates our closed sales for the next 30 days will be significantly lower. Pending home sales are contracts that have passed all of their conditions/contingencies/Due Diligence Deadlines and are just sitting ready to close.
- The number of closed sales reported in the past two weeks dropped when compared to last month, another indication that our closed sales in December will be lower than November’s as well as December of 2010’s. So far this month 33 closed sales have been reported to our MLS compared to 37 last month, 47 in October, 29 in August, 55 in June, 45 in July, 44 in June, 30 in May, 50 in April, 34 in March, 20 in February, 18 in January and 60 in December. Considering all of these numbers, my best guess is that we will close about 60 – 70 home sales this month.
- Our Conditional and Contingent sales are also lower this month. As the very most recent properties to go under contract, this further substantiates that our Lake Norman housing market is experiencing a slower than usual holiday season. Last December we had 20 new contracts in the same two-week period. November and December in 2010 were particularly strong and it looks like this year we will not match those numbers.
Given the erratic nature of our 2011 Lake Norman real estate market, I find it prudent to literally take it one month at a time rather than try to guesstimate our long-term market. While Lake Norman has not experienced a double-dip, it looks like 2011 may barely eek out sales equal to 2010 depending on just how much lower our sales are this month. Considering our abysmal sales in January, February and May, this is certainly an accomplishment but makes it hard to say there is any real trend to hang our hats on other than the significant and consistent drop in the number of Lake Norman homes for sale.
With our range of the months of supply of active listings at 10 – 13 months compared to the national average of 9.4 months and a balanced real estate market of 6-8 months, we clearly have a ways to go. Economic uncertainty and consumer confidence are significant hurdles for our housing recovery. However, I am encouraging my buyers to buy if they find a good home at a good price, especially waterfront homes. While I don’t see prices going up in Lake Norman this year or even next, I also don’t see that many truly exceptional bargains. Prices in general are low as are interest rates. In my opinion, now through the first months of 2012 may represent a great opportunity for Lake Norman home buyers. 2012 is looking very murky due to the global economy but our Lake Norman housing market seems to march to be beat of its’ own drummer. If we see a turn around in consumer confidence and a continuing drop in inventory then we are playing a new ball game.
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