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.
Well, there is nothing like 10″ of snow to dampen our Lake Norman housing market which has been struggling so hard to gain traction after a slow January! We currently have 186 single family homes under contract (sellers have accepted an offer but the sale is not complete) in all of Lake Norman which is about equal to last month’s Hot Sheet. Last February we had a whopping 249 single family homes under contract on the same date as today. Clearly, at a time when our market should be heating up we are still luke warm. Let’s take a look at a snapshot of the past two weeks’ activity:
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. (February 6th – 20th). As always, I have included the past 5 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective.
I created this additional chart comparing just the February Lake Norman Hot Sheets for the past 5 years to help put our February 2014 home sales numbers in perspective with past Februarys’, not just the past 6 months.
February Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 5 Years
- New listings: Our number of new homes listed for sale in Lake Norman in the past two weeks was actually lower than last month and than all prior Februarys. If you add our new listings to the 21 back-on-market we had a total of 111 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks. At the same time 77 properties went under contract or sold for a net increase of 34 active listings in the past two weeks. As of today, the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stands at 837 (last month it was 791) up from our all time low of 690 on January 2, 2013. 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 given our current rate of sales. However, clearly our pace of new listings has slowed. 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 heading for Lake Norman’s traditionally strong spring and summer months and my hope is that we can maintain a balanced market with higher sales matching increasing inventory. 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 flat.
- The number of homes that came back-on-the-market ticked up slightlycompared to the past 5 months and the two prior February Hot Sheets. These are primarily cancelled purchase contracts. With the increasing interest rates which are expected to continue in 2014 buyers should be more motivated this spring. Are loan challenges contributing to this slight increase?
- The number of price changes were up compared to the past 2 months last month and equal to last February’s. I noticed a number of price changes of older active listings in anticipation of our strong spring and summer months.
- Our number of “Under Contract but Continue to Show” homes, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS, plummetted after last month’s surge. The past two weeks were about equal to our slowest two months out of the past 6. They are also lower than the past 3 February’s. I have to believe that our snow storm had a direct effect on this weak numbers since these are active listings that just went under contract in the past two weeks. Heck, two of the 36 were actually my listings!
- Our number of Under Contract No Show/Pending sales remain disappointingly low. Equal to last month’s but the lowest of all prior months and lower than all previous February’s, it is clear that our relatively weak November/December/January activity will result in lower closed sales this 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 home sales contracts will most likely close by the end of this month or in early February.)
- 27 Closed Sales were recorded in the past two weeks again places us well below the past 5 months and all but two prior Februarys’. So far this month we have had 32 closed/recorded single family home sales in our Lake Norman communities compared to last month’s 35 and December’s 72. Clearly, our closed sales in February are going to be quite low. Last February Lake Norman had 80 homes sold in total and we are less than half way there with just 10 days left in the month. Because our pending home sales are relatively low, I can’t help but wonder if we will fall below last February’s sales for only the third time in two years.(These being last month and last November 2013)
So, what am I experiencing right now? Besides the overall seasonal slowdown, it still really depends on where and what price range. As I said above, I had two new listings sell in less than two weeks…one was a waterfront lot/teardown and the other a stunning home in The Point. 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 more 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 2% 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. 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 right now it appears we will continute to struggle to match the high numbers logged in 2013 both in our Lake Norman housing market and nationally. Remember that our market starts to really heat back up by March and keep your fingers crossed!
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