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.
There is no doubt that 2012 has been a very strong year for Lake Norman real estate and home sales relative to all years since 2007. Every month this year we exceeded sales of the same month in 2011 and in most cases posted the strongest sales since 2007. With 97 closed sales last month, in November we actually experienced an INCREASE in sales over September and October defying our usual seasonal slowdown! Based upon the numbers below there is no doubt in my mind that this month will make it 12 months in a row, or our entire 2012, that we beat the prior year’s sales for the month. 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. (December 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 December Hot Sheets for the past 3 years to help put our December 2012 numbers in perspective with the past Decembers’, not just the past 6 months.
December Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 3 Years
- New listings: Our number of new listings dropped significantly from the past 6 months in 2012 but were about equal to last December’s. If you add our new listings to the 13 back-on-market we had a total of 63 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks which is identical to last December’s but well below December 2010 and 2009’s. As of this morning the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stood at 764 just slightly above our all time low of 752 in January 2012 and still low historically and trending back down after a high of 985 this summer. While low inventory has helped to stabilize our market, I actually feel that it may lead to lower sales in the first quarter of 2013 because there are so few new homes coming on our market for sale and the existing Lake Norman inventory has been “picked over” by home buyers over the summer and fall.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, remains relatively low. This may be due to a number of factors including the fact that today’s buyers seem more committed due to low interest rates, lack of options for other good homes and the belief that our Lake Norman housing market has not only bottomed out but is improving while our inventory is shrinking. Buyers are still experiencing challenges with loan approvals and appraisals but over all properties that are under contract are significantly more likely to close today than in past years.
- The number of price changes decreased from last month and were quite low when compared to all of 2012. They were also the lowest when compared to prior Decembers’. Low inventory and higher sales clearly have had an impact on the number of price reductions. In general properties are selling more quickly as well. This should lead/has led to price stabilization and even increases in some measurable cases. One specific example I have is a waterfront home in Mooresville that sold in June 2011 for $871,000 and just sold this month for $990,000. The only change made by the seller was an addition of a wine cellar. This is a great example of what is happening within our waterfront housing market. That said, it is extremely difficult to determine our REAL average and median price trends here in Lake Norman because of our combination of waterfront, waterveiw, 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.
- Pending home sales (Now called “Under Contract No Showings or UCNS” by our MLS) are now showing signs of a slight seasonal slowdown. While better than prior Decembers, they were down slightly from last month. 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 January. 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 was surprising strong when compared to both the past two months and prior Decembers’. Couple this with our pending sales and it looks like we will easily exceed last December’s 64 total homes sales in all of Lake Norman. And, we certainly have a chance of posting the strongest December sales since 2006. But, I don’t believe we will reach 90+ closed sales as we have for the past nine months.
- Our “Under Contract but Continue to Show” properties, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS crept up just a bit from last month and almost matched our October numbers. As the very most recent properties to go under contract, this may be an indication that our market is still quite active and that January/February closed home sales won’t fall off as much as they usually do.
So, what am I experiencing right now? Pretty much the same thing I have all fall. Inventory is low as I said above and most of the single family homes currently on the market have been picked over by buyers. When good homes/properties come on the market they sell quickly, sometimes with multiple offers IF priced properly. Our lowest price ranges are very strong as are waterfront homes priced in the $1 million – $1,500,000 range. I just closed a sale where I represented a buyer who was the winner out of 6 multiple offers on a gorgeous waterfront home priced at $1.1 million. It sold in less than a week well over asking! There are many well qualified buyers ready to buy who are having a hard time finding a good home to purchase. Unfortunately for buyers, there are far fewer distressed sales/bargains. Instead of finding their perfect waterfront home, more and more buyers are considering buying a “tear-down” on a good lot and building. New construction is showing up all over after so many years of near stagnation. As I ride my bike all around The Point and the Brawley Peninsula I discover new homes being built in almost every neighborhood. How exciting!
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 significantly in Lake Norman in 2013, I also don’t see nor expect to 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, early 2013 represents a great opportunity for potential Lake Norman home buyers. It is impossible to predict specifics for all of 2013 but all signs point to continued improvement in the national and local Lake Norman housing market.
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