Lake Norman Real Estate
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This is Lake Norman

Everything you need to know about beautiful Lake Norman, NC including waterfront properties, relocation resources, local news, photos and my latest blog post…

Lake Norman Real Estate’s September 2017 Hot Sheet

Lake Norman real estate Market Report

Above is a chart of a snapshot of our Lake Norman housing market for the past two weeks. I do this report each month to keep a pulse on any new trends that might be developing. For an in depth analysis please  Continue reading 

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Lake Norman Real Estate’s 2012 Housing Market Predictions

Let’s face it, we are being bombarded by economic predictions of all kinds this month; so much so that I even hesitated to add my own to the massive pile.  But, since my mission is to provide you with  insight into our Lake Norman housing market and the role the national, state and local economy plays on our successes and weakness, I will once again do my best to assess and make predictions for 2012. Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s November 2010 Sales Analysis

Despite a pretty rough month of economic news, here in Lake Norman we actually had some news to be thankful for in November!

As I anticipated last month based upon the higher numbers for Conditional and Pending home sales in our Lake Norman area, we posted some relatively strong numbers in November when compared to last year and even the year prior to that:

The total number of Lake Norman single family homes under contract (but not yet closed) on November 30, 2010 totaled 169 which is a drop of 13% from last month’s high but still 8% higher when compared to August’s and July’s numbers of  157, equal to June’s 169  and 15% below May’s closings.

Here are the details: Continue reading

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s November 2009 Sales Analysis

Once again, we had a month of a plethora of real estate and economic news which could be strategically used to support a positive or negative evaluation of our present and future real estate market.  Many economists have declared that our recession is officially over but to expect a rather slow recovery.  At the same time the National Association of Realtors reports a record 9 straight months of pending home sales increases and are adjusting their estimated 2009 home sales upward slightly.  There have even been some positive signs in the new construction real estate sector.

However, on the negative news side, there still exists the concerns about the “shadow” inventory expected to come on the market next spring and a second round of foreclosures brought on by Option ARMS and Alt-A loans that are resetting over the next 18 months.  Some are saying that this second wave of foreclosures, which for the most part are not subprime, will hit the mid-range and luxury home markets because these are loans that the middle class Americans got during the 2004-2007 time-frame.  And, getting new home loans, especially jumbo, are still extremely challenging and a tedious process at best.

Our conforming loan rates dipped back down to near record lows this month until the positive job numbers came out last Friday.  Mortgage rates immediately jumped back up into the +5% range.

How does this national news compare to our Lake Norman real estate market?  Let ‘s look at our November numbers:

Lake Norman’s November 2009 Housing Statistics

November 2009 Lake Norman Sales Analysis

 Active Listings continue to decline (4.0%).  As I have written many times, this is an important part of our Lake Norman housing recovery.  Again, note the average price of our active listings when compared to the average price of our solds this past month. Our high-end market is still suffering however I am seeing some increased activity in part due to foreclosures and short sales.

  • Contingent Sales are down 33%  compared to the 15 in October.  These are the homes under contract that are contingent upon the buyer’s home selling
  • Conditional Sales dropped slightly compared to 60  in October.  This confirms that recent activity remains at about the same level as last month
  • Pending sales remained pretty stable compared to 87  in September and 85 in October.  While our closed sales have dropped significantly since last month, these strong pending numbers indicate that our sales in December should be higher than 2008.
  • The number of closed sales dropped 37%  compared to last month.  However, they were 24% higher than November of 2008.   I am now feeling pretty confident that our fourth quarter 2009 sales will be significantly stronger than last year’s record lows.

 5-Year Comparison of Lake Norman Home Sales By Month

20092008200720062005
January276987102105
February 40501059888
March 5571151153136
April6590120143152
May 6690152182157
June8782169227172
July90101147166191
August6276144180233
September 7882105135163
October786498117184
November57468488145
December6264132134
Totals:705901148917041873

* Please note that all of my numbers come from the Charlotte Region Multiple Listing Service and will not include sales that took place outside of our MLS.

**I have made an adjustment of  the totals reflecting the ACTUAL  sales  every month in 2009 and the totals in the prior calendar year.

Summary

What immediately stands out is that the past two months our Lake Norman sales of existing homes has been higher than the same months in 2008.  It is important to remember that these were the months in 2008 with the financial crisis hit our US economy.  While we are not going to equal the total number of sales of 2008 this year, if you look at our trends since January there is an obvious trend of improving home sales, especially in our 4th quarter.

However, if you compare our 2009 monthly sales to 2007 we are still coming up significantly short every month through November.  It will be very interesting to see how our December sales play out given the number of pending sales.  We might actually meet our December 20o8 AND 2007 numbers.

Based upon our November sales we currently have 23.4 months of active listings which increased from 17 months in October and is 4 times the 6-month levels of a balanced housing market.

There was a wonderful article by Bernice Ross on 12/03/09 in Inman News which listed 5 factors that will impact 2010 home prices:

  • “Markets aren’t just local, they’re “hyperlocal….To determine what will happen in your local market, you must consider the “hyperlocal” or “micro” market conditions.”
  • “Months of inventory on the market are the best predictor of price changes…During the 30-plus years I have been in the business, I have found the amount of inventory in a given location and price range to be the best predictor of what prices will do several months from now.”  Yes!  As I have been saying every month, the real issue is how much inventory is on the market in our local Lake Norman market.  Considering we are at about 4 times the levels of a balanced market, Lake Norman will still experience price reductions until these numbers improve.
  • “Extension of the first-time buyer and addition of the resale buyer’s tax “
  • “Demographics bode well for increased sales activity”  She points out the timing for Generation Y and Baby Boomers as a plus for home sales.
  • “The real issue: cost of ownership, not sales price…This is a huge wild card for a variety of reasons.  If interest rates increase from 5 to 7 percent, or even from 5 to 6 percent, the impact on monthly payments would take would-be buyers off the market.”
  • Bottom line: Watch for sales levels and the inventory in your local area.  If sales are increasing and inventory is decreasing, look for stabilization of prices first and then, eventually, an increase in sales.”

I would add one more to this list:  the potential tightening of underwriting standards by FHA and any other added challenges to our already very difficult home loan process.

Stay tuned for our December sales analysis, my year-end sales analysis and my 4th quarter sales analysis by price range which will come out in January!

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s September 2009 Home Sales

If you have been following the national real estate business news this past month, these are just some of the comments/headlines you might have read:

“Credit shortage has strangled recovery; households are in bunkers under collapsed net worth, and not coming out until home values are safe.”  (Lou Barnes, Inman News) 

“The jumbo loan mod ‘pipe dream'”  (Bernice Ross Inman News) 

‘Mortgage Delinquencies – The Coming Storm….While subprime mortgages sparked the first round of housing problems two years ago, now troubles are lurking further up the food chain…White-collar job losses have accelerated while more adjustable-rate loans to prime borrowers are resetting to higher payments…” (Chief US Economist at MFR Inc. Joshua Shapiro) 

“Credit Woes to Threaten Housing Recovery?”  (Consumer New and Advice and RISMEDIA)

“Across the country, homebuilders and developers are reporting a deterioration in credit availability and intensifying pressure on borrowers with outstanding loans.”  (National Association of  Home Builders Chairman Joe Robson)

 At the same time the National Association of Realtors report a record 7 straight months of pending home sales increases.  It is truly impossible to find any consensus on the future of the US housing market.

However, by taking a look at our local numbers we can have a better understanding the current Lake Norman real estate market and home sales trends and glean potential mini-trends from these.

Lake Norman’s September Housing Statistics

Lake Norman Real Estate's September 2009 Sales Analysis

 Active Listings continue to decline (3.7%), this is a important part of our Lake Norman housing recovery.  Again, note the average price of our active listings when compared to the average price of our solds this past month. Our high-end market is still suffering in part due to the difficulty getting jumbo loans.

  • Contingent Sales are up slightly compared to the 14 in August.  These are the homes under contract that are contingent upon the buyer’s home selling
  • Conditional Sales are also up slightly compared to 54 in August.  This confirms that recent activity remains at about the same level as last month
  • Pending sales dropped slightly compared to 91 in August.  This would further confirm that we might expect October closed sales to be about equal to September.
  • The number of closed sales jumped 25% compared to August but dropped about 5% when compared to September 2008.  If we stay equal to 2008 winter sales we will experience a significant slow down.  The fact that October looks about equal to this past month indicates we might actually have stronger 4th quarter sales than 2008.  While this is relatively good news, it is hard to predict past October at this point.

 5-Year Comparison of Lake Norman Home Sales By Month

20092008200720062005
January276987102105
February 40501059888
March 5571151153136
April6590120143152
May 6690152182157
June8782169227172
July90101147166191
August6276144180233
September 7882105135163
October6698117184
November468488145
December6264132134
Totals:570901148917041873

* Please note that all of my numbers come from the Charlotte Region Multiple Listing Service and will not include sales that took place outside of our MLS.

**I have made an adjustment of  the totals reflecting the ACTUAL  sales  every month in 2009 and the totals in the prior calendar year.

Summary

Overall it is my opinion that sales may be a bit stronger in our fourth quarter compared to last year.  Granted, we are up against some very weak sales but it does appear we may experience some improvement.

One of the most important trends to watch right now are the prices ranges of Lake Norman homes that are selling.  Of the 78 homes that sold last month, only 20 were above $500,000.  First-time buyers are taking advantage of the $8,000 rebate and most other Lake Norman home buyers are gobbling up the foreclosures and other bargains that are now available.  Some foreclosures are priced as much as 50% of the price they sold in 2005 or their original listing price.

Based upon our September sales we currently have 18.5 months of active listings which is 3 times the 6-month levels of a balanced housing market.  We are still clearly in a buyers’ market.  It is so hard to predict what will happen if the $8,000 credit is not extended and the “shadow inventory” of potential foreclosures come to fruition.

In the next week or so I will do my 3rd quarter sales analysis by price range to provide greater insight into our Lake Norman real estate market.

Learn More About Life in Lake Norman:

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman, Part 1

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

A Lake Norman Real Estate Market Update for September 2009

Lake Norman Waterfront Luxury Home

The future of our Lake Norman Real Estate market may depend as much on government and financial regulations and the progress of the US economy as it does on our local economy.  Nationally, the housing market has been greatly impacted by new regulations that have made the ability to get home loans much more difficult.  Since we rely so much on relocation buyers, Lake Norman’s housing market gets hit twice, once with the difficulty of folks wanting to relocate here having problems selling their homes and once because our potential Lake Norman home buyers are having a hard time getting loans on purchases.  Here is a summary of some of the details related to our Lake Norman housing market:

The Home Valuation Code of Conduct rules employed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac since May 1, 2009 for home appraisers have had such a negative affect on the national housing market that the National Association of REALTORS, The Mortgage Bankers Association and the National Association of Home Builders have united in an effort to get the federal government to “establish consistent appraisal rules for FHA and the GSEs” (Fannie and Freddie) and gain official clarification of these new appraisal rules”.

Is the FHA (Federal Housing Administration) in trouble?  Rumors have been flying about whether the FHA is running out of reserves due to mortgage losses.  According to a recent press release, the FHA “will tighten credit standards and implement new rules for appraisals on January 1, 2010”.  They went on to say “FHA’s insurance fund is sufficient to cover future losses, but the tighter policies will ensure that the loan guarantee remain self-sustaining….”  (David H. Stevens, FHA Commissioner).

The Federal Reserve will stretch out mortgage purchases according to their news release yesterday.  This means they will continue to purchase mortgage-backed securities that have helped keep mortgage rates low by extending the $1.25 trillion program’s sunset from the end of 2009 to March of 2010. Good news!

The First-Time Home Buyer $8000 rebate expires November 30th. There are some efforts to get this extended but they don’t seem to be getting traction.

A new bill was signed into law in North Carolina several weeks ago that is meant to stem the foreclosure rates.  The legislation requires a court clerk to determine whether a mortgage holder has been able to talk to their lender about working out a way to pay the loan and whether the lender has given the mortgage holder sufficient notice before trying to foreclose.    “This legislation allows time for loan modifications” according the NC Attorney General Roy Cooper.

From the trenches I can tell you that home loans and appraisals have been and continue to be a significant problem here in the Lake Norman housing market.  Lenders are now having to use third-party appraisal management companies to hire appraisers who in many cases are not experienced in the area of in which they are appraising properties.  Underwriters are taking second looks at the loan packages as late as the day of closing leading to days of delayed closings.  Most feel this is because the underwriters are afraid that the loan they approve many not be salable to mortgage purchasers like Fannie and Freddie.

Where is our Lake Norman real estate market today?  I just took a quick look at our September month-to-date numbers on our MLS.  With 39 closed sales so far this month, it looks like our September sales will be down from both last month and last year.  However, the pending and conditional home sales look a bit stronger so we may see a slight increase in closed sales in October.    Our inventory remains about the same as last month.   According to an article in the Charlotte Observer on September 10th the entire Charlotte area saw some positive signs.  However, Mecklenburg County “saw sales and prices down 12% ” and “Iredell’s average price decline of 17% was the biggest” of all of the counties. (Compared to 2008).

Where is the Lake Norman housing market heading?  Some of my savvy home buyers have jumped off the fence and are actively looking and buying.  This is because they feel there is a window of opportunity this fall.  With high inventories and dropping prices, sellers may be psychologically feeling more anxious than they will be when Spring comes and they have renewed hope that the market will improve. With interest rates back down to about 5%, I would have to agree that this fall may be a good time to make a move.

Sometimes I wish I didn’t have to write posts like this one.  I remember when buying a home was about just that, finding the right property in which to enable a family to create their dream  home…not an investment.  Some home buyers still feel this way but most care more than ever about the pricing and timing of their purchase.

Learn More About Life in Lake Norman:

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman, Part 1

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Lake Norman Real Estate: The Times They are a Changing

Lake Norman is changing image

 Perhaps it is because of recent news images of the 1969 landing on the moon, or the death of Walter Cronkite and the famous clips of him in Vietnam, but for some reason as I read an article in Charlotte’s Business Todaynewspaper about local, upscale Lake Norman home-builder Simonini’s plans to modify their plans for the much touted Preserve at Robbins Park   to build more and smaller homes I was reminded of the old Peter Paul and Mary song:  The Times They are a Changing.

While this is a logical and pragmatic change, I was struck with a feeling that this is a sign that our current recession is more that just a short-term blip on the screen but rather a life-altering, philosophical and widespread change in our priorities and lifestyles.  “Nothing is selling at the $600,000 level so Simonini wants to build smaller homes–about a dozen or more than originally planned–on smaller losts, starting at $400,000”  according to project manager Rick Jasinski.

The price ranges for The Preserve at Robins Park were developed in 2003 through 2005 during the time when they purchased the land.  “The price point that we have is not selling as fast as in 2006 and 2007, ” CEo Ray Killian said in this same article.  In fact, Simonini acknowledges that there have been “no formal reservations at the Preserve at Robbins Park”.  (Construction began in 2008.  See my article:  ).

What I found the most telling is the fact that Simonini Builders is bringing in an architect from Newport Beach CA. to do “floorplan designs and construction drawings of smaller homes.  In California….Bassenian Logini works in partnership with builder and developer clients to create communities that appeal not only to future users but to builders seeking a competitive edge…”.  “Bassenian Lagoni’s expertise is in designing smaller, more functional, livable homes…”  So, this first phase of homes at The Preserve will include 2,500 – 3,000 square foot homes starting in the $400,000’s rather than the 4600 square foot homes starting in the $600,000s.

When my husband and I first moved to Lake Norman in 2005 from California we actually wanted a smaller home but there simply were none available.  Today, the most recent phase of  Crescent Resources The Farms on the Brawley School peninsula has 4000+ square foot spec homes sitting empty.  An entire group of 4000+ square feet of new homes in Northington Woods off Fernhill Rd are sitting, some bank owned, some unfinished.

Perhaps this recession will bring about some common sense changes in our Lake Norman communities as well as around the country.  Many of my out-of-state clients come here seeking reasonably sized homes but, just like me, end up buying a larger home than they needed because they were what was available.

I hope what will grow out of these difficult times will be high performance, energy efficient homes that are compatable with the environment, and with the future lifestyles that will emerge.  Perhaps they will resemble the times of Peter Paul and Mary, when home buyers expected to put down at least 20% and when a house purchase was not an investment but a home.

Learn More About Life in Lake Norman:

10 Things Lake Norman Waterfront Home Buyers Should Know BEFORE buying

Lake Norman Relocation Resources

Relocating to Lake Norman

60 Things You Should Know About Life in Lake Norman, Part 1

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