lake norman real estate

Lake Norman Real Estate: The Big Picture



The recent uptake in home sales, both here in Lake Norman and throughout many parts of the country has led to a flurry of speculation about whether we have hit the bottom of the housing market.

This week the National Association of Realtors came out with some strong “Pending” numbers (homes that are under contract and ready to close) in their Pending Home Sales Index  and painted a rather upbeat picture of the national housing market’s future.

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke told Congress on Tuesday the “housing market is beginning to stabilize and the recession should end later this year.”   He went on to say “that growth will remain slow and unemployment high for a year after the recession ends.”

These reports have caused an explosion of speculation among Realtors on blogs throughout the country. Zillow jumped into the fray in their Zillow Advice discussion.’s Spencer Rascoff wrote a blog post ” Sorry to spoil the party, but we’re not at the bottom!” in which he shares some sobering numbers for home sales and median prices for the first quarter of this year.  While he acknowledges that there are bright spots, he also goes on to explain his concerns for a “massive amount of shadow inventory”.

Bernice Ross, a regular columnist for Inman News  and other real estate news sources, wrote an article ” Estimating a real estate bottom” in which she underscores the important of the amount of INVENTORY when trying to determine the best time to buy.  Just as I have written in my monthly and quarterly sales analysis, she notes that any more than 8 months of inventory of active listings indicates we are still in a buyer’s market. “….prices lag behind inventory changes.  For example, many parts of Florida and California are currently seeing big drops in the amount of inventory….nevertheless, the property values are still decreasing.  As the excess inventory is absorbed, prices will stabilize.”

Here is our greater Charlotte and Lake Norman area, the big news this week was the speculation about whether our behemoth developer, Crescent Resources, will be filing for bankruptcy protection:

Crescent bankruptcy filing possible

Crescent Resources’ trouble mirrors real estate’s fall…

There is no doubt that we are seeing signs of improvement, even in our local Lake Norman real estate market.  Like most of the nation, First-Time Home Buyers are fueling this increased activity.  However, we are still sitting on between 20 to 25 months of supply of active listings.  I will continue to provide my hot sheets, monthly and quarterly Lake Norman home sales statistics so that together we can watch for signs that we are nearing our bottom here in Lake Norman.

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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s 1st Quarter 2009 Sales Analysis


 The news regarding the US housing market has lately seen some positive mixed in with negatives:

  • Sales activity has improved in some areas around the country, due in part by the number of foreclosures.
  • The National Association of REALTORS is projecting a 1% rise in 2009 home sales.
  • By 2010 NAR expects the median price of resale homes to rise 4.1% and sales to increase by 5.8%
  • The just released S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices through January 2009 “shows continued broad based declines in the prices of existing single family homes across the US.”  They say prices are back to 2003 levels in many areas of the country.

With so much information gathered by using a variety of sources of information, it can be difficult to know exactly how this news pertains to our local Lake Norman housing market.

Using the data from the Charlotte Regional Multiple Listing Service for the Lake Norman area (13 1-5) as I do every quarter, I have provided you with an overall summary of the 1st quarter of 2009 as well as a detailed breakdown by price range:



  • Active Listings have stabilized compared to last year but are still too high!
  • Contingent Sales are just down slightly
  • Conditional Sales are up 30%!
  • Pending sales dropped 43% versus 2008
  • The number of Lake Norman homes that sold in the first three months of 2009 dropped 44% versus 2008
  • Because our sales volume dropped substantially but our inventory is about the same, the number of months of supply of active listings we have in Lake Norman is up to a whopping 41.8.  If you keep in mind that a balanced market is about 6-8 months of supply we in fact have 7 times the number of homes on the market than we should have given our drop in sales volume.

Lake Norman 1st Quarter Market Report by Price Range

 To read this chart, choose any price range and first note the number of sales compared to the active listings and then look at the % of the total number of listing and sales this price range represents to get an idea of where the strengths and weaknesses are in Lake Norman.

Example #1: The $200,000 – $299,999 price range represents 25.23% of our entire Lake Norman home sales and yet is only 11.83 % of our listings.  This is a very strong price range although with 175 active listings and only 28 sales which is an 18.8 months of supply of active listings there are still about 3 times the number of listings for a balanced market.

Example #2: The $1,000,000 – $1,249,999 price range represents 5.4% of our sales yet only 4.14% of our inventory.  Despite the low sales number and high inventory, this is our hottest price range of home sales above $400,000.

If you are a buyer, look at your price ranges to learn how much inventory there is versus the the number of sales.  This insight will help you better understand the Lake Norman real estate market in your price range and assist you when determining how to write up an offer.

If you are a seller on the cusp of two price ranges, let’s say between the high $300,000s or the low $400,000s you would be well advised to list in the $300,000s where there is slightly less inventory and almost double the number of sales.

It is interesting to note that 61.27% of our Lake Norman homes sales in the first quarter 2009 were under $400,000 and 81.1% under $600,000.  With our conforming loan limits at $417,000, it is clear that those that can get the great interest rates are buying while the difficult jumbo loans have had a negative impact on our higher end homes.

Finally, here is the 5-year comparison by month.  As you can see, March sales were down -41% versus March 2008 and -330% versus March 2007.

5-Year Comparison of Lake Norman Home Sales By Month


* 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.

**While my totals on this chart for 2008 sales is 870, when I search on our MLS for the entire year they give me a slightly higher number of 916 so I will use that as our official number for the sake of this analysis.

I hope these charts provide you with the knowledge you need whether buying or selling here in Lake Norman.  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me!

Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s Friday Hotsheet 2/20/09

Lake Norman Real Estate Friday Hot Sheet

February 20, 2009


Above is a chart with today’s “Hot Sheet” numbers from the Charlotte Multiple Listing Services for single family homes in Lake Norman (Area 13).  These numbers represent a snapshot of the past TWO weeks of activity.  As always, I have provided 2-week Hot Sheets from the past to enable you to put these numbers in context.  Here are the highlights:

  • New listings dropped slightly but still remain very high when considering the fact that only 27 properties closed during this same two-week period.  If we add these new listings with the listings that came back on the market we see that 169 listing have been added to our currently overstock inventory while 64 homes were put under contract or sold.
  • The number of homes that came back on the market dropped slightly.  This number still indicates the number of homes under contract that are not closing is relatively high when compared with the number that actually sell.  We are still seeing challenges with loans that probably contribute to this number.
  • The number of price changes/reductions has dropped slightly.  It is hard to know if sellers are feeling they have reduced or priced their homes properly or whether these numbers are the result of the time of year.
  •  The number of pending sales remain steady with the past four months.  It will be a very good sign when we see the pendings start trending back upward as they are an indicator for future closed sales.
  • It is great to see that the number of solds are at least back up to the fourth quarter 2008 numbers.  Based upon  our month-to-date sales of 34, I would estimate that we will end February with about 45 sales.  Still very low but much better than January!
  • Conditional and contingent sales remain fairly consistent at 16.

Would you like some GOOD news?  I know everyone is pretty tired of nothing but bad economic news!  Okay, here it is:  Lake Norman home -buyers are back out looking again!  I am getting more showings on all of my listings and have a new listing that had an offer after only one week on the market!

If a Mooresville or greater Lake Norman area home is listed at a realistic price, is in excellent condition and has strong marketing it will sell!

Look for my February Lake Norman Real Estate Sales Analysis next weekend.


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Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s January 2009 Sales Analysis

No matter whether you are a potential home buyer considering a purchase in our Lake Norman NC area or a homeowner deliberating about the timing of the sale of your home in the Lake Norman area, it has never been more important to be as informed as possible about our local real estate market.

Our Lake Norman real estate market has been changing rather rapidly.  What was true as little as a month ago may not be true today.  That said, here are the Lake Norman single family home sales statistics for this past January 2009:

Lake Norman Market Report for January 2009      
Lake Norman2008  Average $  DOM2008+/-$+/-DOM+/-
Active lisitngs1471$737,491      170 
Contingent16 484,281   209 
Conditional 24 581,407   244 
Pending 66 480,092   142 
 Sold24 454,779   1926965%542,22916%14433%

Active Listings:  Unfortunately, our number of active listings has increased by 65 properties since December 31, 2009.  While we would normally expect new listings after the holidays, an increase in our tremendously overstocked supply of active listings at this time is not good.  While our number of properties sold was an all time low of 24, if these trend were to continue it would mean that we have a 61 months of supply of homes for sale in Lake Norman! (Balanced market is 6-8 months).

Contingent Sales: This number has increased to 16 from 11 in December…a mildly good sign.

Conditional Sales: The number of homes that went under contract increased from 17 homes in December to 24 homes in January….again, any increase is a good sign.

Pending Sales:  The number of homes poised to closed increased from 55 in December to 66 in January.  This is the best indication of what we can expect in the number of closings in February.

Closed Sales:  I honestly have gone back to our Charlotte Regional Mulitple Listing Service three time today to verify this number because it was so low.  24 homes sold in our entire Lake Norman area (13/1-13/5) in January.  This is a 65% decrease compared to January 2008 and a 58% decline in home sales compared to last month. 

To put this in  number in context let’s look at our Lake Norman Homes Sales Summary Chart:

2008 Lake Norman Home Sales Summary


* 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.

**While my totals on this chart for 2008 sales is 870, when I search on our MLS for the entire year they give me a slightly higher number of 916 so I will use that as our official number for the sake of this analysis.

The number of Lake Norman home sales for January 2009 dropped by 65% from January of 2008 and 61% versus last month.

Summary:  I am hoping that the historically low sales last month were a result of the perfect storm of our national economic crisis, the holidays and lack of consumer confidence.  I am optimistic that our sales will improve this month but even if we go back up to 2008 numbers we still have too many homes on the market in the Lake Norman area.  Home prices will continue to go down until we see an increase in sales and a return to a balanced market.

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lake norman real estate

Lake Norman Real Estate Predictions for 2009

Magic Ball for Lake Norman real estate predictions

The 2009 Lake Norman Real Estate Market is going to be dependent upon two major national issues:

  • Consumer Confidence
  • Lenders

First and foremost, potential home buyers are going to need to feel confident that they are buying a home at the “right” time.  What will instill confidence?  I think it will be a combination of signs that the national economic crisis is turning a corner and a feeling that the housing prices are low enough to have little risk.

Lenders will play a critical role in our local real estate market in 2009.  If interest rates remain incredibly low that’s a plus but the loan process and the buyer’s ability to get a loan is equally important.  Short Sales and foreclosures are now in the books here in Lake Norman and those sales are going to and have already started to impact appraisals.  One or two low sales in your neighborhood will bring down the appraisals and consequently the amount lenders are willing to loan.

What to look for in 2009:

  • Home prices must and will go down.  Our inventory of active listings around Lake Norman is excessively high.  Every day I get email updates about impending foreclosures and short sales.  Builders are already taking their hits. Those that have not gone out of business have stopped building any spec homes with very few exceptions.  Two thirds of our existing inventory are now re-sale homes.  Some sellers are already in foreclosure or negotiating short sales.  I think reality will hit this spring because many sellers and even Realtors are still hanging on to the hope that we will get the usual spring “bounce”.  When that doesn’t happen, prices will come down.  Sellers, it is not enough to get showings, if you are getting second showings but no offers you are still priced to high. The sooner we get the prices down, sales will go up, our inventory will drop and our Lake Norman real estate market will stabilize.
  • Interest rates are incredibly low which may help move some buyers off of the fence if they are motivated to buy.
  • Short sales and foreclosures will continue and may even grow.
  • New construction has slowed to a crawl and will remain this way indefinitely.  Some of the stronger builders are and will continue to  offer pricing guarantees and other creative ways to entice buyers to get off the fence.
  • Appraisals will become a critical part of the purchase process because short sales and foreclosures are bringing comparable sales numbers down making it even more difficult to get a loan.  Buyers will need to have excellent credit, preferably 20% down and the property is going to have to appraise!
  • A change in Consumer Confidence:  This truly is THE most important factor even in our Lake Norman housing market.  Once home buyers feel confident that the US economy has stabilized and that our real estate market is looking more and more attractive they will start buying in greater numbers.

Right now there are two types of Lake Norman home buyers: 

  • Those of you looking to move over the next few years and who are willing and able to wait for prices to come down further.  You look at your home purchase as an investment as much as it is about living on the lake.  I would recommend that you wait to purchase for at least 3-6 months or even a year unless you happen upon a “bargain”.
  • Those  of you looking for a home and an improvement in your quality of life.  You plan to stay in your Lake Norman home for many years.  If you are able, I encourage you to take advantage of the great interest rates and significant supply of active listings, do your homework so that you know the comparable sales, and go ahead and buy your special home on Lake Norman.  The lake is as beautiful as ever…after all, it doesn’t know we are in a recession!  Don’t miss out!