Download this month’s Lake Norman calendar here
Lake Norman’s low property taxes are one of the attractions for home buyers considering a relocation to our beautiful area. However, because Lake Norman falls in 4 different counties and ten towns for prospective home buyers it can be a bit of a challenge trying to get a sense of what their property taxes will be in any given location.
A special note! I just updated the numbers below to our 2018 tax rates. All properties were just reassessed for 2019 as they are every 8 years in North Carolina. The last reassessment was 2011 and the next will be 2027. The new assessed values are just coming out and some properties have risen more than others so make sure to find out the new assessed value of a property of interest to you! These new assessed values will be used in our upcoming 2018-2019 tax bills.
Below are links to all of the county website pages that provide all of the information you will need. In addition, here are a few helpful hints: Continue reading
Lake Norman experienced a dramatic slowdown in our 4th quarter but that doesn’t mean there weren’t “hot” niches. The best way to understand our hot and cold niches is by analyzing our sales by price range which is why I create this chart each quarter.
If you are a home buyer or seller in the Lake Norman area it matters most what is happening in YOUR price-range. Yes, it is important to know about the global, national, and Charlotte area economy and real estate market but real estate is hyper-local so it is most meaningful for you to learn about the Lake Norman real estate market and within that, your specific niche. For instance, if you are looking to buy or sell in the $900,000 price range, you are going to have an entirely different experience than someone in the $800,000’s. And, if you considering a broader range of prices, this chart can help you develop a more effective strategy by narrowing your search based upon actual strengths and weaknesses within our Lake Norman price ranges.
The single most important number in this chart is the last column which provides that month’s of supply for each price range. Keeping in mind that economists use 6-months supply as a balanced market and anything below that as a seller’s market and above 6 months as a buyer’s market, you can quickly determine this past quarter’s strengths and weaknesses. Overall, at 5.77 months of supply of active listings, Lake Norman ended the year in a balanced market.
Lake Norman’s 4th Quarter 2018 Home Sales By Price Range
*Compiled from the Carolina Multiple Listing Service’s data. Note that the numbers in this chart are generated by a technology expert I hired and not by me. The mapped perimeter of our Lake Norman area that he used for this chart’s numbers is slightly different from mine.
In November I launched a new feature on my Lake Norman Real Estate site. I now have a real-time automatically updated graph of the number of active listings and homes sold in all of Lake Norman by month for the past three years. These easy to read graphs provide simple but great insight into today’s trends in an historical context. To get the latest number just click on Lake Norman Market Trends. .
Here are this month’s graphs:
*Note that the sales numbers aren’t updated until the 20th of each month.
Above is the graph of single family homes sold in Lake Norman for the past 6 months. You can clearly see our record-breaking months from May – August and then our nose dive in September with a slight uptick in October, down in November and December. I discussed this in detail in the Lake Norman Real Estate Market Report December 2018.
Above is the active listing graph. As you can see our inventory of active listings was significantly lower from June – September compared to prior years and as of today are actually about even with the past 2 Decembers. Keep in mind that those years we also had very low inventory of homes for sale!
I will update this post monthly for you!
From nostalgic patriotic parades to community festivals with firework displays to myriad planned and spontaneous raft- up (boat) parties on Lake Norman, there truly is something for everyone here in the greater Lake Norman area this 4th of July. Get out of your home, save gas and have a great time!” I wrote this NINE years ago and it is still just as true this year. So, here is the run down on Lake Norman’s 4th of July festivities 2018:
We are now entering our most active months for our Lake Norman area’s housing sales. After a dip in January and a jump up in February our Lake Norman real estate market once again took a hit in March when compared to March 2017’s sales. However, to be fair, this was expected due to March 2017’s exceptionally strong month so while 134 closed sales are disappointing they are certainly respectable when compared to previous month’s since the recession.
Here are what I feel to be the biggest takeaways from last month’s Lake Norman real estate sales data:
- March’s closed sales were 29% lower than March 2017 but 17.5% higher than last month’s.
- Our inventory of active listings remains alarmingly low; currently 3% below last year’s which were also historically low. It is hard to quantify but there is no doubt that low inventory does have a negative impact on Lake Norman’s home sales.
- After a strong February, as I predicted, we didn’t come close to meeting March 2017’s huge, record-breaking 188 closed sales.
- What the heck is going on with our waterfront market? Yikes! (See below)
- Our trade-up ($600,000 – $999,000) and luxury price ranges were once again weak after a slight uptick last month. The only thing consistent about our higher price ranges is their constant roller coaster ride of ups and downs.
Let’s take a closer look:
* All data is from the Carolina Multiple Listing Service.
* All data is from the Carolina Multiple Listing Service.
FOR 2019 go to : Lake Norman 2019 Halloween Events, Pumpkin Patches and More! New events have been added. Also, the photo above is the October 2019 Calendar!
Every year at this time the Lake Norman area comes alive with pumpkin patches, corn mazes, Halloween festivities for all ages and homes decorated to welcome all of our young trick -or -treaters. Many of our subdivisions and communities around Lake Norman have their own neighborhood events that are really popular and are a great way to get to know your neighbors. But here are some more options from kid-friendly to oh-so scary:
I recently listed this beautiful home in The Point and had the good fortune of getting a full-price offer within 24 hours of it hitting the market. At a price point that’s average days on the market is 212 days and the average listing- to-selling price is 95% for recent comparable sales I would say we did very well! So was this pure luck? Perhaps, but I do believe that my seller’s and my efforts getting the property ready, staging and then going all out on the marketing didn’t hurt!
In this specific case we decided the gorgeous pool and outdoor fireplace/grill and bar were huge attributes given that these amenities didn’t exist in our competition. So, besides having the house and garden groomed to perfection I hired a wonderful stager to make everything inside “popped” while I focused on the pool area and the front door. My inspiration was a recent Frontgate catalog and other photos on such online sites as Houzz.com. But all of this effort might have ended up under the radar of buyers if we hadn’t used two key marketing tools that are rather new to the Lake Norman area:
- Aerial/Drone Photography and Professional Video
- Matterport 3-D and 360 Virtual Tour
Of course, both of these required the expertise of a very talented photographer I was able to hire for the project. He did all of the still photos, the drone aerial photos, created the video and took the Matterport 3-D photos. The end result was pretty darn awesome!
Here is the video:
Below is the Matterport 3-D tour. If you are not experienced viewing this type of marketing, I find it easiest to click on one of the photos and then use your up, down, right and left arrows to either take a good look of a room by doing a 360 degree scan or literally walk through the house from room to room and stop and turn whenever you want:
What is the take away? I can’t emphasize enough the importance of staging a home and then using the best marketing tools available that are appropriate for your property. It is worth every penny!
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? The numbers below prove just how HOT our market is right now and the momentum that we saw last month is continuing after the dip in closed sales in March. Let’s take a closer look:
Lake Norman Real Estate’s May 2016 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 8th – 22nd . As always, I have included the past 6 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective. Below is the April chart using my data since 2009.
How would you like to search for homes and be able to also find out just how noisy it is in each location? The company that provides the property search program for this website, Davis Farrell Technology, just added a really COOL new tool provided by a company called HowLoud. Utilizing a Soundscore™, buyers can search and view properties based on environmental noise. A Soundscore is a combination of 3 factors: airports, traffic, and local sources. Listings that are scored will display the score and a map like the one above.
To test this I did a search for homes in The Point in Mooresville. Above is the result for a property just off Brawley School Rd. As you can see, this property is rated 82 which is “calm” but getting close to being “active” given its proximity to Brawley School Rd. As the main road in and out of the Brawley School Rd. peninsula, you can see that Brawley School Rd itself is yellow which indicates “Active”. The farther away from Brawley School Rd you get the “Calmer” you get. Note that the darkest areas are the lake itself.
How cool is this? Have some fun, give it a try and let me know what you think!
If you are a home buyer or seller in the Lake Norman area it really only matters what is happening in YOUR price-range. Yes, it is important to know about the global economy, the national economy and the Charlotte area economy and real estate market but real estate is hyper-local so it is most meaningful to learn about the Lake Norman real estate market and within that, your specific niche. For instance, if you are looking to buy or sell in the $400,000 price range, you are going to have an entirely different experience than someone in the $500,000’s. This is the reason why I create a price-range analysis every quarter for my readers:
Lake Norman’s 4th Quarter 2015 Home Sales By Price Range
*Compiled from the Carolina Multiple Listing Service’s data, this chart enables you to focus on your specific price range(s) rather than use the broad-brush approach thus allowing you to size up your competition and better position yourself. Please note that these numbers are actually from the 15th of October to to the 15th of January so they will differ slightly from my monthly market reports.
How to read this report:
While Lake Norman is home to a wide variety of people and lifestyles, who doesn’t have fun looking at and learning about our luxury waterfront home sales? Above and below are some of my favorite photos from the top 5 waterfront estates sold in 2015.
Despite being a mandatory disclosure since January, Lake Norman home buyers and sellers still understandably have a lot of questions about mineral rights. I wrote in detail about it back in July: What Lake Norman Buyers and Sellers About Mineral, Oil and Gas Rights. However I recently learned about this great North Carolina “Fracking Map” or technically a map of the Exposed North Carolina Triassic Rift Basins which, according to raftusa.org indicates where hydraulic fracking could occur in North Carolina. Finally, an official resource! According to this map there are no Triassic Basins in our Lake Norman area at all so it becomes a moot point for us. Continue reading
What a great and creative analysis done by RealtyTrac!
Of course, it helps that I grew up with Trader Joe’s (Pasadena CA is where they began) and love Whole Foods so this study immediately got my attention. But, my guess was that Whole Foods, being more expensive, would win over Trader Joe’s which is known for its great values in cool foods, wines and flowers. After all, here in Lake Norman we just recently got a Whole Foods but the closest Trader Joe’s is down in the University area where there are more rental and lower priced properties. Wrong!
In home appreciation, home values, and property taxes Trader Joe’s came out on top. Hey Trader Joe’s, when are you coming to Lake Norman?
Our real estate industry loves using acronyms and lingo as if our clients completely understand us. One area which is particularly confusing is the number of days a property has been on the market. For decades MLS’s only provided one number for us and that was the “days on market” or DOM as we call it. However, this number was recalculated every time a listing was taken off the market so the real “life of a listing” could be monkeyed with by the listing agents. In order to combat this problem and provide a true representation as to how long a property has been for sale, our Carolina Multiple Listing Services (Charlotte Regional REALTOR Association) now uses three different terms related to the time a property has been in the MLS : Days on Market, Cumulative Days on Market and List to Close.
Here is the definition of each of these terms: Continue reading
Effective January 1st of this year, The State of North Carolina added a new disclosure form that must be signed by both parties of a residential property transaction as part of the initial purchase contract. The State of North Carolina Mineral and Oil and Gas Rights Mandatory Disclosure Statement requires all sellers of new or existing homes in North Carolina to disclose whether the mineral, oil and gas rights for the property are owned by someone other than the seller.
“The purpose of this new law is to protect the buyer. Property owners sometimes lease or sell the subsurface mineral rights on their property to a third party or company. This means that if sellers have “severed” their mineral rights, the third party or company could potentially have the perpetual right to drill, mine, explore and remove any of the subsurface mineral resources on or from the property. These mineral or materials could be extracted directly from the surface of the property or from a nearby location – even if the property is sold to a new owner.”
Okay, so why here and why now? Continue reading
When I first drove by and saw this sign on a new Lake Norman listing I was actually a bit surprised and decided it was time to write about listings like this one as well as what Realtors call “pocket listings” to give you all a heads up as to the whys and what’s related to these terms.
The other day I noticed a newly listed waterfront property come up as “under contract” on the hot sheet after only 7 days. Impressive I thought to myself! It is in a neighborhood I know well so I clicked on it and realized this property, now listed at $950,000, was the same property I has shown several times back in 2010 and 2011 that had finally closed at $740,000 on 5/03/11 after being on the market for almost a year. Digging deeper I found that this waterfront property sold back in 2005 for $722,500. So, is this 28% increase in value typical? I sure don’t see this in the overall Lake Norman housing market reports I do.
Being the data geek that I am I decided to look at sales in the past few months, pick random properties, and look at their history to see more examples that might support the above property’s success. Here are some of the more interesting ones I found. I stuck with properties in Mooresville on the Lake Norman side of I-77 to be consistent and I looked at a variety of price ranges and both waterfront and off water.
I recently wrote a post about the fact that our Carolina Multiple Listing Service had not come to an agreement with Zillow/Trulia and as of April 7th they were no longer sending our new Lake Norman listings to Zillow. So, over a month later, where do we stand and what is the reality of this severing of ties?
I was actually able to test it with a new waterfront listing of mine. As always, I submitted it first to the Carolina MLS. Again, as always, I created my new listing’s own website using VFlyer. (The QR Code above sends you to the site). Within a day, I did a Google search for the address, 124 Sawyer Lane, and sure enough Zillow was the first result on page 1! Continue reading
Whether you call it a “Premier Resort Community” or an “Active Lifestyle Community”, Lake Norman is finally going to have an active adult community designed to meet the needs of those who want to live in our wonderful Lake Norman area but seek a truly carefree lifestyle! Continue reading
So, Lake Norman’s real estate market is still rocking! We beat last April’s closed sales by 5% and just about matched last month’s stunning numbers. For the first time our April closed sales actually BEAT April 2007’s and logged in the best April since 2006. Our year-to-date 2015 closed single family home sales were 20.8% higher than 2014’s. On top of these impressive numbers, take a look at what’s on the horizon. Our total number of properties currently under contract match the highest number since the recession which was May 6th of 2013. Lake Norman’s housing market got crazy busy (my technical term for it) right after the holidays and we are now seeing this translated into not just closed sales but high numbers of new contracts as well. Let’s take a closer look:
Lake Norman Market Report April 2015
* All data is from the Carolina Multiple Listing Service.
It has been called “the disclosure tsunami” but I fear it is more like a stealth bomber that the majority of Lake Norman Realtors and home buyers and sellers won’t see coming until it has already wreaked havoc on their lives. Despite the enormity of the new disclosure rules collectively known as TRID the result of combining the Truth in Lending/Good Faith Estimate and RESPA, in my opinion there is not nearly enough discussion, press coverage and public education going one right now given what is going to take place starting August 1. DELAYED to October 1st!!! Continue reading
I work with a lot of buyers relocating to our wonderful Lake Norman area and without a doubt most of them use Zillow.com to search for homes. But, some big acquisitions recently have created incredible drama and turmoil within the real estate industry and these are greatly impacting home buyers and sellers and they/you probably don’t even know it!
Okay, so here is the scoop:
I’ll bet if I asked 50 people to define a “green” home I would be 50 different answers. That is why I am particularly excited that our Charlotte Multiple Listing Service not just added a number of “Green” search and data fields for listings of single family homes including Green Certifications, HERS Index ratings and a list 27 “Green Building Features” but also added definitions which helps both home buyers and Realtors better understand what is considered a “green” feature. While it will take time, more and more Realtors, builders and home sellers are going to take advantage of these fields making it easier for Lake Norman area home buyers to find them. Here is the list directly from our CMLS. If you aren’t looking immediately, you might want to bookmark this list for the future! Continue reading
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.
Despite the weather, February closed sales so far indicate that Lake Norman’s housing market is plugging along at a pace slightly better than last year’s. We currently have 230 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 187, December’s 174, November’s 208, and October’s 262. While February is historically one of our lowest month for closed sales, activity is good. Here are our 2-week Hot Sheet numbers: Continue reading
Isn’t it reassuring to know that Duke Energy, who controls Lake Norman’s water levels, has a well designed plan which is monitored daily? I took this photo today while showing waterfront properties because you can clearly see the different colors of the shoreline riprap which mark the high, medium and lowest lake levels. The orangish layer closest to the water is under water most of the year. Looking at this, newcomers might think that the lake is abnormally low right now which is true. However, if all goes as planned February should have the lowest water levels of the year according to Duke Energy. In fact, today, at 95.7, we are actually a foot above our “target” of 94.5. The winter draw down of water levels helps us prepare for the spring runoff from the melting snow in the mountains. Continue reading
If you are regular readers of this Lake Norman Real Estate blog you will know that I calculate the months of supply or absorption rates quite frequently. But, what is an absorption rate and why is it meaningful when looking at any real estate market? Continue reading
Last week I drove to an unfamiliar small town east of Charlotte so that I could check out a new housing development for my buyers. After I met with the builder and toured the subdivision I started to drive around to get a sense of what the area was like, the proximity and type of shopping, restaurants and schools so that I could better compare it to a community by the same builder in Lake Norman that I know very well. The sales rep was great about pointing out actual stores and restaurants on their map but I realized when I started to drive around that I really needed a tour from someone who knows the community! I wanted/needed the same kind of help/orientation I give to my clients during their first visits to Lake Norman. I know this sounds egotistical but seriously, I needed a Harrisburg version of me!
So what do I do that I needed so much? My Lake Norman orientation process has evolved and is unique for each client but the goals are still same: Help my relocating buyers to understand as much as they can about the nuances and personalities of the Lake Norman towns and neighborhoods and the home buying process in NC so that they can make informed decisions and find the best home/location to suit their specific goals and lifestyles. Here is a general outline of my orientation process: Continue reading
At the very end of a cul-de-sac in the popular Lake Norman subdivision of Northington Woods sits a lot for sale that is full of dreams. Imagine owning a 5.26 heavily wooded acres of land with its own stream in an upscale Lake Norman waterfront community! Continue reading
Searching for Lake Norman homes for sale on the Internet just keeps getting easier and better. About one third of online real estate searches are done using one of the top three websites, Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com with Zillow far and away the most popular. Thanks to their stiff competition for market share, home buyers and sellers now have almost as much data and information available to them as Realtors which is really awesome! (Despite what some real estate agents might say.)
The cautionary note that I want to underscore after observing many of my clients recently is that they tend to give too much credence to the online data, especially on Zillow. The problem is, while Zillow has come a long way over the years, it’s Zestimates and raw data are still flawed. Yes, Zestimates are substantially better than when they launched years ago, but they can be far enough off to frustrate a seller and shouldn’t weigh too heavily on a buyer’s idea of market value. Continue reading
From home to neighborhood, The Preserve at Robbins Park is your oasis of timeless luxury surrounded by the quiet of forest in the midst of the most exciting and active part of Lake Norman.
The Preserve at Robbins Park was originally the brain child of Simonini Homes back in 2008/2009. However, during the recession Simonini closed down and the community stalled with just a few home built.
In the Fall of 2010, Classica Homes took over Robbins Park which is now a thriving community that still embraces the original concepts including forward thinking architecture designed by Nationally renowned Bassenian Lagoni Architects, Energy Star certification, and their balance of a commitment to the preservation of nature with the tranquility of a home. You can expect open floor-plans, great use of space plus gorgeous finishes in every home. They just announced that Phase III will be open September 2014.
What a great opportunity to help design your own state-of-the-art home in a community where nature trails wander through a beautifully wooded preserve, centered around the serenity of Robbins Park pond. Meet your friends at Robbins Park’s Crescent where children spend hours at the playground and children of all ages enjoy recreation at the play fields. You’ll find tennis lovers happily using two lighted courts within walking distance of home. Still to come are more park lands and athletic fields. Imagine all this adjacent to your private neighborhood, plus the connection of a greenway trail for hours of biking and hiking.
They recently even hired Dearness Gardens in Huntersville to design and install a butterfly garden!
To find out the latest news, go on their Robbins Park Blog and/or go to their comprehensive website to view the different models available and details about each home design features as well as the wonderful options you have to make your home your own oasis!
Robins Park is a joint venture with the Town of Cornelius, Mecklenburg County and Westmoreland Lake LLC. To see an overview of the entire development simply click on this link to the Town of Cornelius’s Robins Park page.
Imagine living where you can enjoy a walk by the pond and then follow the natural walking path to the Paved McDowell Creek Greenway. The Greenway’s secret is that this peaceful path leads to the very popular Birkdale Village!
Learn More About Life in Lake Norman
One of my favorite tools offered by the company who provides the home search program for this website is their reports. I just received the link to their 2013 annual report. If you click on the area, sub-area or neighborhood a drop down box or menu will allow you to search to your heart’s delight. Lake Norman is area 13.
What is really valuable is that you can search by neighborhood. For example, here is a link to our luxury community The Point in Mooresville. A quick glance shows us that the number of homes sold in The Point since 2011 has actually declined however the average price of the homes sold increased in the past three years.
A closer look at the pie charts for The Point shows us that in 2011 homes price up to $1 million comprised the greatest percentage of sales, then they dipped in 2012 when homes OVER $1 million increased to an impressive 50%. What is really fascinating, but not surprising given the sales analysis I have done this past year, is that sales of homes priced over $1 million in The Point actually declined as a percentage of their total sales in 2013.
You can get this same data for any area or neighborhood in Lake Norman and the greater Charlotte area. Have some fun with this great tool!
Lake Norman seems to be getting great new shops, restaurants and recreational business on a weekly basis. With the very exciting recent news that there will be a Lake Norman Whole Foods opening in 2014 I feel like my wish list from 2005 when we moved here is complete!
There are so many new restaurants, shops and other fun businesses that rather than write individual articles about each one I will just provide you with a list of the ones that have caught my eye in the past few months:
- Local hangout Vinnie’s on the shores of Lake Norman closed but was purchased by Eddie Lubic who has already opened Eddie’s Seafood and Raw Bar which has an emphasis on “fresh”. He spent a month cleaning up the former Vinnie’s so it now has a clean new looks and a great new menu including their raw bar and seafood starters to entrees like pan roasted salmon, snow crabs, Black Angus Rib, Italian specialties and even hot dogs and burgers. Located on Williamson Rd. 704.799.2090
- Fine Italian dining has come to historic downtown Mooresville! Trattoria Al Gusto, which just opened last week in the town’s original Catholic Church and former location of The Prickly Pear. is located at 761 N. Main. Chef and owner Patricio Campoverde has extensive experience in the restaurant business and decided Mooresville needed a high caliber Italian Restaurant. Focus is on fresh and homemade with “the best quality food they (his customers) can buy.” One of his favorite dishes is the Tagliolini Neri, a black linguine with crab meat and shrimp in a spicy red tomato sauce. Open for dinner from 5-10 pm Monday – Thursday and 5-11 pm on Friday and Saturday. They are planning to add lunches and a Sunday brunch in the future. 704.660.1066 ( I have since been there 3 or 4 times and the food is excellent!!!)
- On the more casual side, Jeff and Chris Steiner, owner of 6 Five Guys Burgers and Fries, JUST opened the Moe’s Southwest Grill last Thursday. It is located right next to the Hobby Lobby in the Lowe’s Home Improvement shopping center on Hwy 150 at Exit 36. This joins Mooresville’s newer Chipolte located in the Best Buy shopping center also on Hwy 150. Great, fresh Mexican fast food is here!
- Craft beers have arrived big time to Lake Norman. The most recent is “Ultimate Ales” which is located in the Mooresville Town Square shopping center. Currently the only retailer dedicated solely to the sale of craft beer in Mooresville, they will offer almost 300 kinds of local, regional and national craft beers plus selected imports according to owner Mark Moore. They plan on having a bar with six taps and weekly tasting events. FYI there is a local homebrew organization called Iredell Brewing Club!.
- Under the category of recreation and considered an “ode to Italy”, The Mooresville Motorplex, an outdoor karting track, opened recently on a 30-acre campus at 130 Motorplex Drive in Mooresville adjacent to the athletic fields at Mazeppa Road Park. Arrive and and drive your own cart or rent one of their Sodikart RT8 390cc karts. They hold such competitions as the MMX Carting Challenge, MMX League Racing and several national events including the US Rotax Max Challenge Grand Nationals. Well, Mooresville IS Race City USA!
- The Langtree Charter Academy, a tuition free public charter school serving k-12 students just opened for this fall adding yet another great educational option for Lake Norman students.
- Can you say WOOF? Mooresville has a new leash-free dog park located in historic Mooresville on Academy Rd. The park is separated into two areas, one for smaller dogs and one for larger.
- It was recently announced that the Langtree Hotel and Convention Center will soon be home to a Doubletree By Hilton Hotel & Conference Center. this 12-story, 227 room $90,000 million hotel is envisioned as the center piece of the Langtree development located at Exit 31. Construction is expected to take about 2 years.
Davidson Continue reading
One of the most common questions asked by both home buyers and sellers is which months of the year are the strongest in our Lake Norman’s housing market? When I read a recent article about a study by Trulia that placed North Carolina and South Carolina’s strongest months for home searches in July, I was a bit surprised so decided to see for myself if this is also true for Lake Norman.
Here is my chart with Lake Norman home sales by month since 2005. Taking a closer look it is clear that our Lake Norman real estate market isn’t consistently the strongest in the same month every year. Over all, Lake Norman’s real estate market picks up after the first of the year and generally slows down at the end of the year but beyond this generalization, there are some interesting inconsistencies:
- August was the best month followed by July, June, September and October
- June was the best month followed by May, August, July and March
- June was the best month followed by May, July, March and August
- July was the best month followed by May, April, June and September
- July was the best month followed by June, September, October and December
- June was the best month followed by May, April, December and November/July (This was the year of the rebates hence the April/June numbers)
- August was the best month followed by June, October, July and April
- August was the best month followed by May, June, July and November
- So far this year every month since January Lake Norman has had more home sales than the prior month
Almost hidden away on a lovely Lake Norman peninsula off Perth Road in Mooresville is a truly remarkable neighborhood: Lake Norman Airpark. Imagine that instead of the usual garage you actually have a hanger for your plane(s) right next to your home and that you can taxi to and from the community runway at your convenience!
The Lake Norman Airpark is a community of about 56 homes surrounding the runway all of which are a member of the Lake Norman Air Park Owners Association which is a non-profit organization that owns and maintains the runway and approximately 40 acres of common area which includes the associated residential taxiways. Many of the homes have views of Lake Norman as well! Continue reading
Our Lake Norman housing market is doing very well right now, but that doesn’t mean that buying or selling a home is easy. All real estate markets are constantly facing new challenges unique to myriad influences in any particular month, season or year. Today’s typical stress-producing hurdles can be minimized if you have a good understanding of what they are and how best to prepare for them:
As a direct result of the lax lending practices that led to the end of the housing bubble throughout the country, the home loan process can now be overly burdensome and frustrating.
- Down Payments ideally should be 20% of the purchase price although there are still options, ie 10% down and 10% second loans. Potential Lake Norman home-buyers should expect to have 20% down and should meet with a lender before you even begin to search for a home.
- The paperwork required to get a loan can seem staggering and sometimes offensive to even extremely qualified buyers. Be prepared to provide extensive personal financial documentation. This is truly of EVERY loan.
- Underwriters can be downright irrational. I think they are so because in part they are afraid to approve a loan that might ultimately fail.
In order to minimize the stress in the loan process, I recommend only very qualified, experienced lenders to my Lake Norman area home-buyers. Which lender you use can make or break your ability to get a loan. (Don’t choose based on the lowest interest rate alone). It is critical to be proactive as well. From the first week, get a commitment from the lender as to when they will order the appraisal, what documentation they will need from you and when it will be submitted to the underwriter. After “conditional approval”, expect for the underwriter to ask for additional paperwork right up until several days before closing. Also make sure that your lender is in constant communication with your closing attorney so that they get the Title information etc. in a timely fashion. I try to anticipate any potential hurdles and keep in contact with the lender to make sure everything is being processed in a timely manner. If you are selling your home and the sale is contingent upon the buyer’s home closing, you also need to ask your Realtor to get updates on their buyer’s buyer’s loan. I just closed on a sale with buyers who had no problems with their loan but whose buyer of their home in another state had a terrible lender who almost ruined our contract due to their incompetence.
One of the critical changes to our real estate process is due to the Dodd-Frank law which essentially prohibits lenders from having any direct communication with appraisers. Lenders now use a third-party company to order appraisals. While I appreciate the reasoning behind this bill, the result has led to a number of challenges. The most common problems are appraisals being ordered too late, appraisers who are sent out who are not knowledgeable about Lake Norman, especially waterfront home sales, appraisers who take way too long to submit their appraisals which leads to delays in closing, and appraisals that are just poorly done. While, by law, lenders can’t contact the appraiser directly, Realtors can if we have questions or concerns. We can’t intimidate but we can provide additional property information. I have not actually had an appraisal come in below the contract sales price but I have experienced several fairly incompetent appraisers and an appraisal that took 2 weeks to be submitted despite a “rush” order. So, make sure that your Realtor keeps on top of the appraisal!
As a Realtor in California during the 2000-2005 bubble years when we got up to 60 offers on a listing, we worked hard to fine-tune the multiple offer process. If representing the buyer in a multiple offer situation, a cover letter can make the difference between you getting the home or not. The cover letter is my way of “selling” my buyers to the seller by emphasizing their strong financial qualifications, sharing what they love about the property and anything that might strengthen their position. (One time my seller chose a buyer because they shared a mutual love of dogs!). A good listing agent will counsel their sellers to take the offer that is most likely to close, not necessarily the highest price. All cash in this market should trump a loan. A short Due Diligence period is also a plus. Pre-approval letter is a must. And, believe it or not, the Realtor representing the buyer can make a huge difference. I would much rather work with a Realtor I know, trust and respect and I can usually get a pretty good sense of the competence of a Realtor by how they present the offer.
Unrealistic Expectations Continue reading
North Carolina law requires that all real property be assessed at fair market value as of January 1st of a revaluation year. Each county in North Carolina has a revaluation every 8 years. Unfortunately, Mecklenburg County’s 2011 revaluation was terribly flawed according to experts, leading to personal and commercial hardships.
One example of how this negatively impacted our Lake Norman homeowners in Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville was their decision to assess many varied waterfront lots at a flat $700,000 which is just plain ludicrous. The Cornelius waterfront home on the left in the photo above was one of my listings that sold for $451,000 last April. It’s lot value had been bumped up that January to $700,000 and my seller’s property taxes went from about $3000 to about $9000 which was significant enough that she was forced to move. Clearly, the fair market value was well below the $700,000 assessed value for the lot alone.
Needless to say, there was an immediate backlash from both residential and small business owners. After over a year of town meetings, county commissioner meetings, independent studies and analysis on just about every level, massive appeals by home owners in Mecklenburg County, the hiring of a new revaluation manager, the hiring of a firm by Mecklenburg County to evaluate the property revaluation process and the resignation of the Mecklenburg County Assessor, state lawmakers have started to file bills created to re-do these flawed 2011 revalutions. Continue reading
One of my greatest concerns these days is that potential Lake Norman home buyers and sellers will base their decisions on national real estate news and even Charlotte’s housing market trends. While in very general, broad terms our Lake Norman real estate market does share trends with the nation, when we get into the specifics there are a number of disparities which should be understood before anyone considers buying or selling a home here in Lake Norman.
Here is a look at Lake Norman vs. our National real estate numbers for January 2013:
- Nationally, sales grew at a slower pace in January. Existing home sales edged up .4% when compared to December 2012’s sales but were up 9.1% when compared with January 2012.
- Lake Norman’s home sales in January dropped 22.8% when compared to December 2012’s sales but were up a whopping 47.9% when compared to January 2012. Historically the Lake Norman real estate market sales are significantly lower in January compared to December so our 22.8% decline is “normal” for us but the 47.9% increase when compared to January 2012 is exceptional.
Number of Homes for Sale
- The number of existing homes for sale nationally at the end of January was the lowest since April of 2005. They represented a 4.2-month supply at the current sales pace. In other words, if the country got no new listings it would take 4.2 months to sell all of the homes currently listed for sale.
- The number of homes for sale in Lake Norman at the beginning of January hit a record low of 746. At the end of January we had 10.8-month supply at the current sales pace which is more than DOUBLE the national averages. Despite hearing us Realtors complaining about our low inventory of homes for sale, the reality is we are still in a buyers’ market and have substantially more inventory than the national average. Lake Norman’s average months of supply in 2012 was about 8 months.
One of the most significant signs that our Lake Norman real estate market is improving is the amount of new construction popping up all around the lake. From large builders taking over partially completed subdivisions that went under during the recession to smaller builders building spec homes and custom homes in every price range including an impressive number of luxury homes down Brawley School Road, all types of construction is happening for the first time in years!
The listing agent of a lot I just put under contract in The Point told me she had sold or had offers for 4 of her lots in the past several weeks after years of none what-so-ever. A number of my waterfront buyers have purchased tear-downs or are considering tear-downs with plans to build their dream homes. Off water buyers are scooping up good, affordable lots like the one I sold in The Point this past week realizing this may be the best opportunity they have before prices start going up.
The idea of having a custom home designed specifically for them on a hand-picked lot with their ideal size, floorplan, finishes and architectural details is pretty darned exciting! For many, this is also a great time hire a builder who can incorporate all of the latest “green” and “smart home” technology which wasn’t really happening in our Lake Norman area 5 years ago.
Here are some interesting numbers that reflect this trend:
- We have 53 “new construction” homes under contract and 8 closed sales of new construction homes in Lake Norman’s Area 13 in 2013 for a total of 61 in 7 weeks. Lake Norman had 90 closed sales of new construction homes in all of 2012 and 79 in 2011!
- Lake Norman currently has 57 lots under contract and 16 closed lot sales equaling 73 sales in the first 7 weeks of 2013 compared to 239 lot sales in all of Lake Norman in 2012.
Of course, these numbers don’t reflect lots that are sold outside of our Charlotte Multiple Listing service. Many builders, especially in large subdivisions, do not list a majority of lots and home sales in our MLS so these numbers are lower than the actual sales of lots and new homes being built on privately owned lots.
After a rather erratic 2011, our Lake Norman real estate market definitely has a lot to celebrate about 2012. Not only was the volume of sales up 23% but our average price and average price per square foot both inched up for the first time since 2007. But, my favorite word for 2012 is consistency. Not only were sales strong, but they were strong every month in 2012 without one hiccup.
What about 2013? My greatest concern is our lack of inventory of homes for sale. My second highest concern is that sellers AND Realtors will over estimate our recovery and have unrealistic expectations for 2013. I am already experiencing sellers who are inflexible about their listing price due to their optimism. No matter how much our Lake Norman real estate market has improved, overpriced listings could play a significant role in limiting our sales as will our lack of inventory. While I don’t expect prices to go down, I also don’t expect them to go up more than about 5% at best.
Below are three charts that pretty much tell the story about our Lake Norman housing market: Continue reading
If you are a home buyer or seller in Lake Norman, it really only matters what is happening in YOUR price-range. Yes, it is important to know about the global economy, the national economy and the Charlotte area economy and real estate market but real estate is hyper-local so it is most meaningful to learn about the Lake Norman real estate market and within that, your specific niche. For instance, if you are looking to buy or sell in the $400,000 price range, you are going to have an entirely different experience than someone in the $700,000?s. This is exactly the reason why I create a price-range analysis every quarter:
*Compiled from the Charlotte Regional Multiple Listing Service’s data, this chart enables you to focus on your specific price range(s) rather than use the broad-brush approach thus allowing you to size up your competition and better position yourself. Continue reading
I am thrilled to offer a new property evaluation tool to my readers! eValuator is the brain child of Davis Farrell, a Charlotte company that provides my home search/Multiple Listing Service feature on this site. Prompted by complaints by clients about Zillow’s inaccuracy, they set out to make the most accurate property value tool currently available! Their “proprietary algorithm ranks the comps and uses the top 5 and even offers a percentage match”.
My hope is that you all will test it out and give me feedback as it is still a work in progress. For instance, I discovered that they were using waterfront comparable sales for off-water homes. Within hours of my bringing it to their attention they fixed the problem!
It is easy to use. Just click on the link on the right side of this home page: Continue reading
I got a call yesterday from a potential buyer for one of my listings. He told me he would like me to present an all cash offer of $350,000 for a property I just listed at $429,000. With a little prodding I was able to find out that he hadn’t seen the home and didn’t know the neighborhood. I tried to explain a bit about the price and comps and his response was “it is a terrible real estate market and that’s all I need to know”. REALLY?
Needless to say, my client’s counter to this buyer was not accepted.
This is just one example of how not to be successful in our current Lake Norman housing market. While it is quite common for investors and low-ballers to make these kind of offers when a new listing comes on the market, I have to wonder what these buyers are thinking? Or, are they thinking at all? Even banks get disgusted with these types of buyers. Here is a great example: Continue reading
Ask any Realtor active in the Lake Norman residential market how business is and they will collectively smile and say great. But, are the current Lake Norman sales evenly distributed around all 4 counties that share waterfront land on Lake Norman?
Over the past few years I have created sales charts focusing on all of the largest of the Crescent Communities on Lake Norman to provide insight into the different areas surrounding Lake Norman including:
- The Point, The Harbour at The Pointe and The Farms in Mooresville ( down Brawley School Rd)
- The Peninsula in Cornelius
- Sailview in Denver
- Northview Harbour in Sherrills Ford
- Falls Cove in Statesville
Here is one fresh off the presses: Continue reading
New Exit 35
When I first started writing this blog in 2007 I used to do regular updates on growth and development in the greater Lake Norman area as did The Charlotte Observer who had a bi-weekly Red Dirt Alert section for Lake Norman. Since the slow down, when most developing simply screeched to a halt, I have provided updates every now and then about the status of major and small developments. Today I am happy to report there is quite a bit more “red dirt” to be seen around Lake Norman including new housing construction! As I write this, there are 54 Active Listings in Area 13/ Lake Norman of new homes built in or due to be completed in 2012. New homes are going up in The Farms, The Point, The Peninsula, Pointe Regatta, Sailview, Westport, Pebble Bay, Fernleaf/Woodleaft and more! Here is an update on some of the larger projects: Continue reading