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 make me a bit nervous for the first time in months. There are some positives but our actual closed and pending sales indicate that our closed sales in January will struggle to meet last year’s. Let’s take a closer look:
Lake Norman Real Estate’s January 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. (January 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.
January 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. We currently have 199 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 212, November’s 266, October’s 272, September’s 294, and last year’s end of January’s 207. On the positive side we did get an impressive number of new listings which should boost sales. With 73 closed sales as of today (January 27th) already we are not far off of last January’s 80 closed sales so we just might beat that! Please know that January is ALWAYS Lake Norman’s lowest sales month of the year.
- New listings: At 73, 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 January Hot Sheets since 2009. 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 747 active listings in all of Lake Norman down from last month’s 768 and June’s high of 1132 but up from last January’s 730.
- Our number of brand NEW “Under Contract but Continue to Show” homes, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales, in our MLS, at 52 is up from last month’s and is also the highest January since 2009. This bodes well for closed sales in March.
- Our number of Under Contract No Show/Pending sales, at 17, is the number that most concerns me for the short term. This number is low compared to the past 6 months and is also one of the lowest of all prior Januarys. Since pending contracts indicate more imminent close sales it looks like we will post weaker sales this month and in February. 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 50 Hot Sheet Closed Sales are the lowest in the past 6 months’ and and the lowest January hot sheet since 2012. That said, the good news is that as of today our total month of January sales stand at 73 so I think we will meet last January’s numbers. 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 January just as it does every year. My gut tells me that while our numbers are picking up that we may not match last February’s sales of 96. Beyond that 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 which are now at or above 4% it looks like they have stabilized and may even drop down slightly according to some lenders. 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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