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 a mid-month pulse of our Lake Norman real estate market. So where are we today? After a stunning March and strong April, it looks like this trend is continuing in May and beyond. Let’s take a closer look:
Lake Norman Real Estate’s May 2017 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. (May 7th – 21st). As always, I have included the past 6 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective. Below is the May chart using my data since 2009.
May Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 9 Years
The closed sales are quite interesting as at 82 they are by far the highest in the past 6 months yet they are slightly below May 2016’s. The new contracts (Under Contract Show) are the best May since I began doing this report and they are lower only than March’s of this year. We currently have another record breaking 395 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 380, March’s 347, February’s 275, January’s 199, and last year’s end of May 344. So, these numbers certainly support the expectation of more record breaking numbers in the next few months. With 99 closed sales as of today I think we will at least match last May’s total closed sales of 150. Clearly, our overall Lake Norman real estate market is HOT!
- New listings: At 119, our number of new listings added in the past two weeks was up slightly from last month and last May’s but truly they are in line with all past May’s. As of today we have 933 active listings in all of Lake Norman up from last month’s 889 but still well below last June’s high of 1132.
- Our number of brand NEW “Under Contract but Continue to Show” homes, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales, at 98, are looking good when compared to prior months this year and are the highest May since I started keeping these numbers. Our current market is very active!
- Our number of Under Contract No Show/Pending sales, at 36, is the only disappointment but truly are not out of line. Since pending contracts indicate more imminent close sales it looks like we will post decent sales in May. 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 June.
- Our 82 Hot Sheet Closed Sales are the strongest since last fall and the second highest May hot sheet since 2009. It will be really interesting to see how many sales we close this month. It sure looks good but we have to close 50 more in just one week! (Keep in mind, as always, that we have had a surge of new construction in the past 2 years so these MLS numbers are actually lower than our total sales because so many new homes are sold directly to buyers rather than through the MLS).
Clearly Lake Norman’s real estate market is HOT. As I predicted for the past several months, the dip in February was definitely short lived. Given our current momentum, I feel that we should maintain very strong sales numbers at least through June/July. Beyond that it is very hard to predict. I am still seeing quite a variety of trends depending on location, types of properties and price ranges. I just had three listings priced in the $200,000’s to low $300,000’s sell over the asking price with multiple offers in the first days of listing them. While our lower price ranges are exceptionally hot, the opposite is true of our waterfront and higher price ranges. I am showing properties in these price ranges and most of them have had price reductions and have been on the market for quite a while. It is like two entirely different markets exist in our Lake Norman area. Inventory is growing but competition is still strong for good new listings. The key is to stage every listing to perfection! That usually means freshly painted interiors (think Agreeable Grey at Sherwyn Williams), refinished hardwood floors or installing hardwoods or good laminates in dark tones, painted tired kitchen cabinets white, new counter tops if needed and professional staging. This makes a HUGE difference!!!!
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 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 early years after 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.
On the other hand, I am working hard with my sellers to stage their homes to perfection in order to get the highest price possible. Even in the lower price ranges my sellers are painting interiors in popular grey tones, painting kitchens white when appropriate, refinishing or installing hardwoods in dark stains and adding new carpet in light beige/grey tones. Finally, we add pops of color with pillows and other accessories. Sellers, today it is more important than ever to stage your homes in order to maximize your profits!
After the rapid rise of mortgage interest rates after the election they dropped back down until the most recent Fed rate hike. As of today they are about 4% for a 30-year fixed conforming loan. There are still so many unknowns for 2017 and the Feds are expected to raise rates again two 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! Sellers: UPDATE and STAGE to perfection for maximum profits!
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