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. After peaking in May, Lake Norman home sales have trended downward every month since landing with a thud in November. However, the numbers below actually indicate a significant uptick in closed Lake Norman home sales contracts in the past few weeks. The bad news is that we currently have only 164 single family homes under contract (sellers have accepted an offer but the sale is not complete) in all of Lake Norman which is down significantly from last month’s Hot Sheet number of 206, October’s 211, September’s 217, August’s 253, July’s 260, June’s 301 and May’s high of 330. Let’s take a look at a snapshot of the past two weeks’ activity:
Lake Norman Real Estate’s Two-Week Hot Sheet
Lake Norman Real Estate’s December 2013 Hot Sheet Sales Analysis
* 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 Lake Norman Hot Sheets for the past 4 years to help put our December 2013 home sales numbers in perspective with past December’s, not just the past 6 months.
December Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 5 Years
Lake Norman Real Estate’s December Hot Sheet Sales For Past Four Years
- New listings: Our number of new homes for sale in Lake Norman is continuing to decline which is expected at this time of year and is actually a good thing for our Lake Norman housing market. That said, are they dropping low enough? If you add our new listings to the 14 back-on-market we had a total of 64 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks which is 28% lower than last month’s. At the same time 50 properties went under contract or sold for a net increase of 14 active listings in the past two weeks. As of today, the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stands at 824 (last month it was 907) up from our low of 690 on January 2, 2013 and higher than last year at this time. Like in the past few months, I am a bit concerned that our number of homes for sale in Lake Norman is higher than it should be at this time of year. However, I am pleased to see a modest drop in the past 30 days. While buyers are anxious for new homes to come on the market, low inventory plays an important role in our Lake Norman’s housing recovery. We are now entering Lake Norman’s seasonally slowest months so I hope our inventory of active listings will to continue to drop to coincide with lower monthly sales. The is very important because higher inventory levels could jeopardize home price increases in Lake Norman. An unbalanced supply and demand leaning in favor of buyers will keep Lake Norman home prices down.
- The number of homes that came back-on-the-market decreased compared to last month but were about equal to the past two Novembers. These are primarily cancelled purchase contracts. With the increasing interest rates which are expected to continue in 2014 buyers should be more motivated this fall/winter. This is a great time to buy!
- The number of price changes were down significantly compared to the past 6 months of 2013 and all prior Novembers. This is a great sign for our Lake Norman home values. Fewer price reductions is a very good thing!
- Our number of “Under Contract but Continue to Show” homes, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS, was the second lowest in the past 7 months. That said, they are actually the best November since 2009 so while not great, not too bad either. Given that these are our newest sales, this may be an indication that buyers are getting off the fence and that Lake Norman’s closed sales will be up a bit in January/February.
- Our number of Under Contract No Show/Pending sales were less favorable. The lowest in the past 7 months and lower than all previous December’s, it is clear that our relatively weak November has continued into December which makes sense since these are a reflection of the slowdown I noted in the past few months. These indicate that our closed sales might be lower this month but then actually improve slightly in January. (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 home sales contracts will most likely close by the end of this month or in January.)
- A whopping 59 closed sales were reported in the past two weeks which makes this the best mid-December since 2009 and significantly better than the past few months. So far this month we have had 72 closed single family home sales in our Lake Norman communities compared to last month’s 53. It is very encouraging to see even a slight upswing in home sales, especially given the time of year. Last December Lake Norman had 92 homes sold in total and we are only 20 shy of this with 10 days left in the month. Because our pending home sales are relatively low, I can’t help but wonder if the last 10 days in December will continue this trend or whether, given the late Thanksgiving etc. that we might have closed more homes earlier in December. Look for my December sales report on January 6th to find out!
So, what am I experiencing right now? It really depends on where and what price range. Homes up to $500,000 that are in good condition in good locations/neighborhoods are selling the best. However, some price ranges and areas around Lake Norman are actually quite slow. Not all properties and locations are created equal. Good to perfect properties are selling quickly and older homes or homes that need work are taking longer to sell. Hint to buyers, there are some great opportunities if you broaden your search to look at older homes or homes that need a bit of work. As always, The dynamics of our current Lake Norman housing market are complex and challenging despite overall solid 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. (Location, location, location). With interest rates rising and few distressed sales, (Less than 3% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and short sales), Lake Norman home buyers need to strike while the iron is hot when they find a home with potential. Prices in general are still historically low. Now that the Feds have decided to start decreasing their buying of bonds, economists expect home loan rates to continue to rise in 2014. In my opinion, the next few months represents a great opportunity for potential Lake Norman home buyers. It is impossible to predict specifics for the future but all signs point to continued improvement in the national and local Lake Norman housing markets. Remember that our market starts to heat back up by March!
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