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.
So, our Lake Norman real estate market is showing clear signs of picking up after 5 relatively strong months over the summer and early fall followed by a marked drop in November and December. Quite a roller coast ride we are on these days! Activity in the Lake Norman housing market picked up right after Christmas and seems to be gaining steam every day. Here are our 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. (January 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 January Hot Sheets for the past 4 years to help put our January numbers in perspective with the past January’s, not just the past 6 months:
January Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 4 Years
- New listings: The number of new listings jumped back up compared to the past 6 months. While this concerns me a bit because our declining number of active listings has been helping to stabilize our market, we have to be realistic that January historically is a month when sellers choose to list just after the holiday slump. As you can see in the second chart, our new listings are still quite a bit lower than 2010’s and 2009’s. If you add our new listings to the 27 back-on-market we only had a total of 118 Lake Norman properties added to our housing inventory in the past two weeks compared to 114 last January, 170 in January 201o and 179 in January 2009. As of this morning the total number of active listings in Lake Norman has increased from a low of 752 back up to 808 which is still extremely low.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, were also the highest in the past 6 months. But, again, compared to the past four January’s they are actually very low. While challenges continue related to securing financing due to tight restrictions on home loans by lenders, they are improving. However, many buyers are nervous and even indecisive so no contract is a done deal until it closes.
- The number of price changes remains very low both when compared to the past 6 month’s AND the past 3 January’s. Considering sales are picking up, this would indicate that our prices are stabilizing and a continued decline may reflect a strengthening of our prices.
- Pending home sales increased slightly compared to the past two month’s and were equal to last January’s. This indicates our closed sales for the next 30 days may inch up and at the very least are heading upward. Pending home sales are contracts that have passed all of their conditions/contingencies/Due Diligence Deadlines and are just sitting ready to close.
- The number of closed sales reported in the past two weeks dropped significantly compared to the past 6 month’s and even the past two January’s. Clearly our closed sales this month will be low. Hopefully, January will be our bottom for the year since our number of new contracts is increasing. So far this month 21 closed sales have been reported to our MLS compared to 33 last month, 37 in November, 47 in October, 29 in August, 55 in June, 45 in July, 44 in June, 30 in May, 50 in April, 34 in March, 20 in February, 18 in January and 60 in December 2010. Considering all of these numbers, my best guess is that we will close about 40 – 50 home sales this month which is about equal to last January but historically low.
- Our Conditional and Contingent sales are double last month’s and the best since last September. As the very most recent properties to go under contract, this further substantiates that our Lake Norman housing market is experiencing a fairly impressive acceleration after a fourth quarter slow down. Our number of new contracts is also stronger than the past 3 January’s which bodes well for the next month or two. Yeah!
Given the erratic nature of our 2011 Lake Norman real estate market, I find it prudent to literally take it one month at a time rather than try to guesstimate our long-term market. 2011 was just about even with 2010. While this month our numbers will be down in closed sales, we are trending upward and there are signs that our prices are stabilizing. This is good news.
With our range of the months of supply of active listings at 10 – 13 months compared to the national average of 9.4 months and a balanced real estate market of 6-8 months, we clearly have a ways to go. Economic uncertainty and consumer confidence are significant hurdles for our housing recovery. However, I am encouraging my buyers to buy if they find a good home at a good price, especially waterfront homes. While I don’t anticipate prices going up in Lake Norman this year, I also don’t see that many truly exceptional bargains. (Only about 10% of our inventory is distressed properties: foreclosures and shortsales). Prices in general are low as are interest rates. In my opinion, 2012 represents a great opportunity for potential Lake Norman home buyers. While the national economic projections are still murky our Lake Norman housing market seems to march to be beat of its’ own drummer. If we see a turn around in consumer confidence coupled with our low inventory of active listings, then we will be playing a new ball game.
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