I must admit I was hoping for better when I pulled our MLS’s Lake Norman “Hot Sheet” for the past two weeks. While our Lake Norman housing market has been tough for several years, I feel like I have been “in the trenches” since the beginning of January working on offers involving so much sadness and almost desperation. These are not easy times for so many people. Well, on that happy note, let’s take a look at our current numbers:
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. (Feb. 7 – 21st). As always, I have included the past 6 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective.
- New listings: Historically we see an increase in new listing after the holidays so these past two months increases are no surprise. However, these increases have been extremely modest compared to years past. Our overall number of active listings/homes for sale in Lake Norman remain low despite experiencing a very slight increase from last month.. This is very good news as our months of supply of inventory which is hovering around 12-23 months needs to achieve a balance of 6-8 months. Not such great news for buyers hoping to see new options.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, remain slightly higher than our fall/winter numbers but fairly stable overall.
- The number of price changes jumped back up after a 2-month low. Last February’s Hot Sheet included 145 price changes. I expected this number to jump back up as sellers become more motivated/realistic/anxious. No where is this more evident than in new short sales where sellers are making major price reductions to entice an offer to take to the bank.
- Pending home sales were the lowest in over a year. These are contracts that are through all of their conditions/contingencies/Due Diligence Deadlines and sitting ready to close. Last February in the same two-week period we recorded 29 pending sales or 41% more than this February. After a strong 4th quarter, these numbers indicate we may not meet last year’s closed sales for the second month in a row.
- The number of closed sales in the past two weeks were the lowest in over a year and even lower than last month’s. So far this month 20 closed sales have been reported to our MLS compared to 18 last month, 60 in December and 29 in the same period for February 2010. My best guess is that we will close less than 50 single family homes in all of Lake Norman and perhaps as low as 40 sales by the end of the month which would just match our record lows in 2009. Make no mistake about it, our first quarter of 2011 has been an extremely tough one.
- Good News! Our Contingent and Conditional sales and our new category of Actives/Due Diligence are up 58% from last month as well as 52% higher than February 2010. These represent the most recently accepted offers which means after two or three very slow months our future sales in late March or more likely April will be significantly higher.
Last month I called our Lake Norman real estate market “boring” but today I would say it is highly unpredictable and far from being on a steady path upwards. Our market seems to be fairly erratic…several relatively strong months followed by several very weak months and then another jump up.
It may be that we will continue to see this stops and starts throughout 2011. At this point there is clearly no consistent trend to help us predict the future. I am showing my buyers mostly distressed properties no matter what the price range. Active listings seem to be increasingly short sales and foreclosures. Most Realtors I talk with agree that the majority of buyers are making almost insultingly low offers and for the most part sellers, both banks and individuals, are doing their best to make them work.
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