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. The numbers below further substantiate this as we see a drop in the number of homes that have gone under contract and closed so far this month. We currently have 211 single family homes under contract in all of Lake Norman which is down slightly from last month’s Hot Sheet number of 217, August’s 253, July’s 260, June’s 301 and May’s high of 330 but they are slightly above our end of September’s number of 207. Are our sales leveling out rather than trending downward? 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. (October 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 October Hot Sheets for the past 4 years to help put our October 2013 numbers in perspective with past Octobers’s, not just the past 6 months.
October Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 5 Years
- New listings: Our number of new homes for sale in Lake Norman are starting to drop just a bit which is a good thing for our Lake Norman housing market. If you add our new listings to the 16 back-on-market we had a total of 97 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks which is 17% lower than last month’s. At the same time 90 properties went under contract or sold for a net increase of 7 active listings in the past two weeks. As of today, the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stands at 974 (last month it was 998) 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 less new listings when compared to prior October’s. 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 drop slightly 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 dropped back down after spiking in August’s Hot Sheet. These are primarily cancelled purchase contracts. It is always good to see that so few contracts are failing to close. Now that the Feds have decided not to decrease their purchase of bonds it will be interesting to see if mortgage interest rates continue to drop back down and if this will in turn positivly impact our Lake Norman real estate market.
- The number of price changes was equal to September’s Hot Sheet but up compared to October 2012 and 2011. 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, were unfortunately the lowest this year further supporting my observation that the Lake Norman housing market is slowing down. Given that these are our newest sales, it looks like closed sales will be down even more in November and December. That said, at 32 they are actually the best October 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.
- Under Contract No Show/Pending sales were quite a bit lower than the past 6 months in 2013 and were even a bit low compared to almost all prior Octobers. This indicates that our closed sales might be lower this month and in November than prior months in 2013 and even 2012. (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.)
- 37 closed sales were reported in the past two weeks which is a significant decline from last month’s 60 as well as the 6 prior months this year. When we compare this number to previous October Hot Sheets we see that it is higher than last October but lower than October 2011 and 2008. So far this month we have had only 42 recorded single family home sales in our Lake Norman communities. For the first time in 2013 I am not confident that we will at least match 2012’s 92 closed sales. We will definitely not equal or exceed the past three months’s sales numbers. This further substantiates my feeling that not only did our Lake Norman real estate home sales peaked in May but in the 4th quarter we may struggle to match our 2012 home sales numbers.
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 strong 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 4% 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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