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, last month I wrote: “There is nothing better than a HOT Hot Sheet!” But, you know what, I was wrong. TWO months in a row of HOT Hot Sheets is even better! 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. (March 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 March Hot Sheets for the past 3 years to help put our March 2012 numbers in perspective with the past Marches, not just the past 6 months:
March Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 4 Years
- New listings: While our new listings are up from the winter months, they are still lower than any March since I have been keeping these records. If you add our new listings to the 16 back-on-market we only had a total of 117 Lake Norman properties added to our housing inventory in the past two weeks compared to last March’s 127, 192 in March 2010 and 178 in March 2009. As of this morning the total number of active listings in Lake Norman had increased from our all time low of 752 in January back up to 876 which is still extremely low historically. The reason these low numbers are all good news is because keeping our inventory low will help stabilize our own Lake Norman housing market no matter what is happening in other areas or states.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, remain historically low which is even more telling because the market is very active. Clearly sales are “sticking” better now. Compared to the past four March’s they are extremely low. While challenges continue related to securing financing due to tight restrictions on home loans by lenders, they are improving. And, it appears that buyers are more committed than they have been in years. (Although some remain very challenging!)
- The number of price changes, while up compared to the past few months, are down substantially from the past 3 March’s. Considering sales are picking up, this would indicate that our prices are stabilizing and a continued decline may reflect a stabilizing of our prices.
- Pending home sales are actually the weakest category on this chart for the second month in a row. This indicates our closed sales for the next 30 days may not be as strong as they will be further into spring. 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 improved slightly from last month’s and is more in line with our late 2011 numbers. They were sigificant;y higher than any March in the past four years. So far this month 43 closed sales have been reported to our MLS compared to 34 last month, 21 in January, 33 in December, 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 and 20 in February 2010. Considering all of these numbers, my best guess is that we will close about 70 – 80 home sales this month.
- Our Conditional and Contingent sales are slightly better than last month’s and simply HUGE when compared both to the past 6 months and the past March’s of 2009 – 2011. 52 new contracts in just two weeks of March is just plain exciting. As the very most recent properties to go under contract, this further substantiates that our Lake Norman housing market is not just accelerating but, if sustainable, may truly be heading back up for good or at least stabilizing at higher numbers than the years since the recession hit us. Each month will help to support this or undercut it and this m is the second month in a row with such strong numbers.
I have used the term “erratic” for more than a year now when describing the nature of our 2011 Lake Norman real estate market. The next few months may serve to enable me to eliminate this adjective once and for all or may bring it back in my vocabulary. While this month our closed sales numbers will not be remarkable, the Lake Norman real estate market is definitely trending upwards right now. With record low inventory, fewer price reductions/stabilizing prices and increasing sales, I’d say we are in for a very positive spring.
With our range of the months of supply of active listings at about 14.8 months using our 59 closed sales in February 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. However, if we have 70-80 sales this month our months of supply will drop to 10-12 months. Improving national economic and jobs numbers and improving consumer confidence should help support the current healing of our Lake Norman housing market. 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. (Less than 8% of our inventory are 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. Is that a light I see at the end of the tunnel? Only time will tell!
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