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.
There is no doubt that 2012 was a strong year for Lake Norman single family home sales..the highest sales since 2007. But, will these improving sales continue in 2013? Now as we start the new year it is critical to take the pulse of our January real estate market in Lake Norman. Let’s take a look:
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 8th – 22st). 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 2013 numbers in perspective with the past Januarys’, not just the past 6 months.
January Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 4 Years
- New listings: After historic lows in inventory of homes for sale, we are finally getting some new homes on the market. If you add our new listings to the 16 back-on-market we had a total of 120 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks which is almost identical to last January’s but twice as many as last month’s 63. As of this morning the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stood at 746 which is up from our low of 690 on January 2nd. While low inventory has helped to stabilize our market, I actually feel that it may lead to lower sales in the first quarter of 2013 because there are so few new homes coming on our market for sale and the existing Lake Norman inventory has been “picked over” by home buyers over the summer and fall.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, remains relatively low when compared to the last 6 months but are significantly lower than prior January’s. Clearly sales contracts are much more likely to close today than in past years. This is due to a number of factors including the fact that today’s buyers seem more committed due to low interest rates, lack of options for other good homes and the belief that our Lake Norman housing market has not only bottomed out but is improving while our inventory is extremely low. Buyers are still experiencing challenges with loan approvals and appraisals but over all the stability of our sales process has improved significantly.
- The number of price changes increased slightly from last month and were quite low when compared to all of 2012. They were about equal to last January’s but still historically low when compared to prior Januarys’. Low inventory and higher sales clearly have had an impact on the number of price reductions. In general properties are selling more quickly as well. This should lead/has led to price stabilization and even increases in some measurable cases. Please note that it is extremely difficult to determine our REAL average and median price trends here in Lake Norman because of our combination of waterfront, waterview, golf course homes and off-water homes all mixed together in our MLS numbers. One or two $2 million dollar or higher sales will throw our average prices way out of whack.
- Pending home sales (Now called “Under Contract No Showings or UCNS” by our MLS) are identical to last month’s and the prior January’s. 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 properties will most likely close by the end of this month or February. Because of the change in categories, it is best to add this number with the Conditional (Under Contract Show UCS) in order to compare apples to apples.
- The number of closed sales reported in the past two weeks, while down significantly from the past six months, were the highest of prior Januarys’. Couple this with our pending sales and it looks like we will easily exceed last January’s 48 total homes sales in all of Lake Norman. And, we certainly have a chance of posting the strongest January sales since 2007. January is historically the slowest month of the year for us and it looks like this month will continue that tradition.
- Our “Under Contract but Continue to Show” properties, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS are the brightest star of this report. With 39 we exceeded the past 3 months and all previous January Hot Sheet reports. As the very most recent properties to go under contract, this seems to indicate that while our market slowed down it is picking back up more quickly than in prior years.
So, what am I experiencing right now? Inventory is low. Many of the single family homes currently on the market in Lake Norman have been picked over by buyers. When good homes/properties come on the market they sell quickly, sometimes with multiple offers IF priced properly. Our lowest price ranges are very strong as are waterfront homes priced in the $1 million – $1,500,000 range. There are many well qualified buyers ready to buy who are having a hard time finding a good home to purchase. Unfortunately for buyers, there are far fewer distressed sales/bargains. Instead of finding their perfect waterfront home, more and more buyers are considering buying a “tear-down” on a good lot and building. New construction is showing up all over after so many years of near stagnation. As I ride my bike all around The Point and the Brawley Peninsula I discover new homes being built in almost every neighborhood. How exciting!
I continue to encourage 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 significantly in Lake Norman in 2013, I also don’t see nor expect to see that many truly exceptional bargains. (Less than 7% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and shortsales). Prices in general are low as are interest rates. In my opinion, early 2013 represents a great opportunity for potential Lake Norman home buyers. It is impossible to predict specifics for all of 2013 but all signs point to continued improvement in the national and local Lake Norman housing market.
Learn More About Life in Lake Norman: