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.
Lake Norman’s 2013 real estate sales have been breaking records since January 1st. That said, there is no doubt in my mind that our number of monthly home sales peaked in May and have been trending downward every month since. However, the numbers below actually indicate a slight uptick in new Lake Norman home sales contracts in the past few weeks. We currently have 206 single family homes under contract in all of Lake Norman which is down slightly from last month’s Hot Sheet number of 211, September’s 217, August’s 253, July’s 260, June’s 301 and May’s high of 330. But, the number of new contracts has jumped back up after a drop last month. Let’s take a look at a snapshot of the past two weeks’ activity:
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. (November 7th – 21th). 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 November Hot Sheets for the past 4 years to help put our November 2013 numbers in perspective with past November’s, not just the past 6 months.
November Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 5 Years
- New listings: Our number of new homes for sale in Lake Norman are starting to drop which is a good thing for our Lake Norman housing market. If you add our new listings to the 19 back-on-market we had a total of 88 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks which is 9% lower than last month’s. At the same time 110 properties went under contract or sold for a net decrease of 22 active listings in the past two weeks. As of today, the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stands at 907 (last month it was 974) up from our low of 690 on January 2, 2013 and slightly higher than last year at this time. Like last month, I am a bit concerned that we have more rather than fewer new listings when compared to prior November’s. However, I am pleased to see the fairly significant drop in the past 30 days. While buyers are anxious for new homes to come on the market, low inventory plays an important role in our Lake Norman’s housing recovery. As we reach our seasonally slowest months I expect our inventory of active listings to continue to drop which will coincide with lower monthly sales. The is important because higher inventory levels could jeopardize our recovery.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market increased compared to last month and 2 of the last 3 Novembers. These are primarily cancelled purchase contracts. Are buyers less committed to their purchases or are loans impacting these cancellations? Interest rates are down slightly but expected to rise in 2014 so one would think buyers would be more motivated this fall/winter.
- The number of price changes were down compare to the past 6 months of 2013 but higher than the past two November’s. Now that our traditionally strongest selling season is over, we are likely to see more price reductions on properties that have been on the market for quite a while.
- Our “Under Contract but Continue to Show” properties, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS, have gone from a weakness to a sign of a potential mini upswing in our Lake Norman housing market. Given that these are our newest sales, it looks like closed sales will up a bit in December/January. At 46 for the past two weeks, they are back up to July, August and September numbers and they are the best November Hot Sheet number since 2009 when I started keeping these records so we should be able to at least match our sales in 2012 for the rest of the year in to the beginning of 2014.
- Under Contract No Show/Pending sales were fairly stable compared to the past few months but lower than last November’s. It makes sense since these are a reflection of the slowdown I noted in the past few months. These indicate that our closed sales might be lower this month but then actually improve in December/January. (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 in November.)
- 43 closed sales were reported in the past two weeks which is a a relief after a disappointing October. This is basically equal to the past 3 Octobers as well. So far this month we have had 53 recorded single family home sales in our Lake Norman communities compared to last month’s 42. It is very encouraging to see even a slight upswing in home sales, especially given the time of year. Last November was also comparatively strong so it will be interesting to see how we close out the month this year.
So, what am I experiencing right now? It really depends on where and what price range. Homes up to $500,000 that are in good condition in good locations/neighborhoods are selling the best. However, some price ranges and areas around Lake Norman are only moderately busy. Not all properties and locations are created equal. Good to perfect properties are selling quickly and older homes or homes that need work are taking longer to sell. Hint to buyers, there are some great opportunities if you broaden your search to look at older homes or homes that need a bit of work. As always, The dynamics of our current Lake Norman housing market are complex and challenging despite overall solid sales.
I continue to encourage my buyers to buy if they find a good home at a good price, especially waterfront homes and lots or homes in the most popular neighborhoods. (Location, location, location). While I don’t anticipate prices in our Lake Norman area going up during the rest of 2013, I also don’t see nor expect to see that many truly exceptional bargains. (Less than 3% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and short sales). A year ago I sold several waterfront “tear-downs” in the $300,000’s but those are simply gone. Waterfront lots/tear-downs with good water in Mooresville are now priced in the mid $400,000?s and up. Prices in general are still historically low. Now that the Feds have decided not to decrease their buying of bonds, we are also seeing interest rates dropping back down after a 1% increase in past months. In my opinion, the rest of 2013 represents a great opportunity for potential Lake Norman home buyers. It is impossible to predict specifics for the future but all signs point to continued improvement in the national and local Lake Norman housing markets. Remember that our market starts to heat back up by March!
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