Several news articles this week related to the greater Charlotte area economy (which would include the surrounding communities in Lake Norman) plus my own experiences while showing and listing property in the past few weeks prompted me to dig a little deeper and see if there are any tangible changes in our Lake Norman real estate market.
First, the news:
- Forbes Magazines Top 10 Best Cities for Homes Sellers listed Charlotte NC #9 with the comments: ˜While prices here continue to climb on both square foot and median price level, there was a slight increase in unsold inventory last year. Still, strong job growth and in migration bode well for sellers. Also see the Forbes article: Best Cities for Home Sellersto learn more about how they arrived at these rankings.
- In the Charlotte Observer: City still attractive to new businesses. It states that 282 new businesses or business expansions were announced in the first quarter of 2008 which is almost identical to 2007. The report shows that Charlotte’s ability to create jobs is holding steady.
- Also in the Charlotte Observer: “The number of permits to build single-family homes in Mecklenburg County plunged 65% last month compared with March 2007. Overall building permits were down 32%.” Steady job growth and the continuing influx of new residents from around the country is obviously good news. But, because of the slowdown in the volume of homes sold in the Charlotte and Lake Norman areas the fact that building has dropped is actually a very good thing. Currently we simply have too much inventory of homes for sale compared to our rate of sales so the slowdown in new construction should help balance our supply and demand.
What about the Lake Norman real estate market so far in April?
In a nutshell:
- Inventory of the number of homes for sale is still on the rise (1657 active listings in Lake Norman today according to our MLS)
- Since April 1, 56 homes went under contract and are now contingent, conditional or pending sales in our MLS
- 62 home sales closed in this period which is about as many as we sold in the entire prior months in Lake Norman
- 75 homes sold in this same period in 2007 which is a decline of only 17%. If you recall, in the first quarter we were selling about half as many homes compared to 2007.
- The average price of a home sold (closed) so far in April declined 20% versus 2007. However, the average price of a Lake Norman home that went under contract since April 1 was actually significantly higher than 2007. (This is partially due to some very high-end home sales but still a positive sign.)
If you are a regular reader of my blog you will know that I have not been towing the typical real estate line ˜Buy Now because I do feel that 2008 is going to be a struggle, even for Lake Norman. Whether to buy or not depends on your own personal situation more than our real estate market.
However, there are some subtle signs of improvement which I have experienced myself in the past few weeks. For instance, last weekend 2 of the 8 properties I was planning to show at The Point had just gone under contract.
I don’t think we are out of the woods yet, but Lake Norman real estate may be seeing the light at the end of the tunnel.
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