Despite our usually cold and snowy weather, our Lake Norman housing market has been fairly active. I know I continued to show property in the snow, ice and mud!
However, after a string of consecutive months of increases in the number of homes sold versus the prior year, my projection is for this February’s Lake Norman home sales to fall below February 2009’s 46 total units sold. Some interesting trends are emerging with the early 2010 market.
Lake Norman Real Estate’s Two-Week Hot Sheet 2/5/2010 – 2/19/2010
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. (February 5 -19). As always, I have included the past 6 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective.
Below is the 2009 chart for the same exact same period for your reference.
February 20, 2009 Hot Sheet
- New listings: The number of new listings remained pretty stable when compared with last month. (But were lower than February 2009.) At the end of the year we had lowered our inventory of Lake Norman active listings to 1161, they jumped back up to 1254 at the end of January and remain at 1251 as of today. Unfortunately, very few of the listings are truly “new”. Many sellers who took their homes off the market during the holidays are now bringing them back on. And, the properties that went into foreclosure and are now back on the market also account for some of our “new” listing. The number of active listings is the most significant component to our Lake Norman housing recovery.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, jumped up significantly from last month and when compared to February 2009. This emphasizes the difficulty Realtors are facing keeping contracts together. With the new laws have come tougher guidelines and procedures for loans which may be contributing to these canceled contracts.
- The number of price changes increased again. This is a very positive trend and one that hopefully will continue until our current listings sell. Buyers for the most part are only buying bargains. They continue to be nervous about the housing market and the economy so are only willing to buy when the price is justifiable or well below the competition.
- Pending home sales dropped pretty significantly. Since these are an indicator of future closed sales I predict our March 2010 may just match our 2009 sales which would mean two months of flat sales after a fairly strong 4th quarter 2009.
- The number of closed sales in the past two weeks remained flat versus last month and 22% lower than the same period in 2009. These are sales that would have gone under contract at least 30 to 45 days ago.
- Contingent and Conditional sales increase compared to last month AND February 2009. This is the one bright spot! Since these are homes that just went under contract this may be a sign that Lake Norman area home buyers are gaining some confidence.
While I wrote this last month, the same applies for this month:
Make no mistake, the serous buyers are out looking. (And jumping off of the fence). Now, however, I am finding that most of the great bargains on GOOD houses and GOOD lots in many price ranges have sold. Many of our current foreclosures and short sales have issues that make them less attractive to buyers, no matter what the price. My buyers want bargains but they also want good houses on good lots. It is not just about the price, but it also matters whether the homes have good floorplans, are located in neighborhoods that are not saturated with active listings and distressed sales and homes that are not too dated. I don’t run across very many buyers who want to make significant repairs/upgrades to a property unless it is an incredible bargain.
I would add that many of my buyers are waiting for some fresh new listings to become available. They have seen everything that is out there and have not found what they want so are waiting for a higher-priced listing that suits their needs to drop into their price range or a property that is truly newly listed for the first time at a good price.