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 we are at this very moment…an almost live insight into the heartbeat of the Lake Norman housing market.
I always get excited to do this Hot Sheet analysis each month because it provides me with the mid-month pulse of our Lake Norman real estate market. So where are we today? The numbers below actually confirm my concerns when I wrote my January market report. There are some positives but our actual closed and pending sales indicate that our closed sales in February will struggle to meet last year’s. Let’s take a closer look:
Lake Norman Real Estate’s February 2016 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. These numbers represent a real time snapshot of the past two week’s activity. (February 7th – 21st. As always, I have included the past 6 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective. Below is the January chart using my data since 2009.
February Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 8 Years
All you have to do is look at the sold columns on both charts to see why I have concerns. That said, we currently have 275 single family homes under contract (sellers have accepted an offer but the sale is not complete) in all of Lake Norman compared to last month’s 199, December’s 212, November’s 266, October’s 272, September’s 294, and last year’s end of February’s 234. So, as I had expected, February will be a short-lived dip in closed sales but we should be back up by next month. Another positive number is the impressive number of new listings which should boost future sales. With only 36 closed sales as of today (February 21st) we are far off of last February’s month end closed sales of 96 so I just don’t see how we will reach that number in the next week.
- New listings: At 114, our number of new listings added in the past two weeks jumped up significantly compared to not just the past few months but was also the highest of all prior February Hot Sheets but 2010’s. This indicates that sellers are motivated to get their properties on the market early and even ahead of our peak spring and summer months. As of today we have only 786747 active listings in all of Lake Norman up from last month’s 747, but well below last June’s high of 1132.
- Our number of brand NEW “Under Contract but Continue to Show” homes, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales, in our MLS, at 82 is WAY up from last month’s and is also the highest February by far since 2010. This bodes well for closed sales in March/April.
- Our number of Under Contract No Show/Pending sales, at 31, also shows a significant uptick since last month and is also the highest February since 2010. Since pending contracts indicate more imminent close sales it looks like we will post stronger sales in March. 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 February.
- Our 34 Hot Sheet Closed Sales are by far the lowest in the past 6 months’ and they are lower than the past two Februarys’. Unfortunately I am pretty confident that we will not meet last year’s February closed sales based on this number. (Keep in mind, as always, that we have had a surge of new construction this year so these MLS numbers are lower than our actual total sales because so many new homes are sold directly to buyers rather than through the MLS).
Clearly Lake Norman’s real estate market has dipped this February. My gut tells me that this dip will be short lived as our new contract numbers are very strong and as I watch new listings in many price ranges there are selling very quickly. Beyond the next few months it is too hard to predict. Keep in mind that our first six months of 2016 were very mercurial and overall lower sales compared to 2015 so we have some ground to make up in the coming months. That said, I am still seeing quite a variety of trends depending on location, types of properties and price ranges. Multiple offers are not uncommon in the $200,000’s and our lower price ranges are selling faster than the higher price ranges. In our trade-up price ranges exceptional properties are selling quickly but otherwise this price niche is unpredictable. Inventory have dropped significantly so competition is going to be strong for good new listings. I am still counseling my buyers to watch the market daily for new listings and price reductions. The average days on market has dropped, especially for “good” new listings. But properties that aren’t perfect or are overpriced are still sitting. If buyers are willing to do remodeling, then now is a great opportunity to buy an older waterfront home that needs work, has been on the market for a long time but is in a great location or has great water. The waterfront tear-downs/fixers are still coming on the market but at higher prices than in the past years since the recession. To get a nice waterfront home you really need to be looking at least in the $700,000’s depending on the location.
After the rapid rise of mortgage interest rates after the election they have dropped back down slightly. However, there are still so many unknowns for 2017 and the Feds are expected to raise rates again three more times this year so it is truly impossible to predict where we will be at the end of 2017.
Don’t forget that we have very few distressed sales, (Less than 2% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and short sales), so a bargain today is actually a well priced home that is in a very good location with a good floor plan. My Mantra for 2017 remains: Think location, good floorplans and resale and look for good waterfront opportunities before they are gone. And, if you find a property that suits you, don’t wait too long to act!
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