If you are new to this blog, every month I do a snapshot analysis of the middle two weeks of the month to get a sense of where our Lake Norman real estate market is at this very moment…an almost live insight into our market. These Hot Sheet reports sometimes serve as pretty good predictors of our short-term future housing sales. Case in point is the report below. A month ago we knew sales were relatively strong and going to last into April. However, the numbers below are not as strong as I had hoped and seem to indicate yet another slowdown is coming:
Lake Norman Real Estate’s Two-Week Hot Sheet
The above chart is a summary of today’s “Hot Sheet” from the Charlotte Multiple Listing Service for single family homes in all of Lake Norman (area 13). These numbers represent a real time snapshot of the past two week’s activity. (April 7 – 21st). As always, I have included the past 6 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective.
- New listings: After our usual Spring “bump”, it looks like the pace of new listings has slowed. Our overall number of active listings/homes for sale in Lake Norman remains lower than last year’s despite experiencing a slight increase in the past few months. This is very good news as our months of supply of inventory has been hovering around 12-23 months which is still above the ideal balanced housing market of 6-8 months. In other words, the number of our Lake Norman homes for sale is still too high for our current rate of sales.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, were actually fairly modest but stable overall.
- The number of price changes continues to rise when compared to the past 6 months. I expected to see this number jump back up this spring as sellers become more motivated/realistic/anxious. Last April we logged 186 price changes in this same two-week period.
- Pending home sales dropped significantly after a one-month rise. Pending home sales are contracts that have passed all of their conditions/contingencies/Due Diligence Deadlines and just sitting ready to close. Last April in the same two-week period we recorded a whopping 45 pending sales or 60 % higher than this month. After a strong March, these numbers indicate that despite a healthy number of closed sales for this month, we will see a decline in May.
- The number of closed sales in the past two weeks is stellar. So far this month 50 closed sales have been reported to our MLS compared to 34 last month, 20 in February, 18 in January, 60 in December and 39 in the same period for March 2010. My best guess is that we will close as many as 90-100 single family homes in Lake Norman this month for a second straight month of increases over last year. However, it does not look like this strong trend will continue into May. Our Lake Norman real estate market, while it has experienced some improvement in March and April, is certainly not out of the woods yet! .
- Here are the numbers that most concern me: Our Contingent and Conditional sales and our new category of Actives/Due Diligence, have been sliding backwards since February. These represent the most recently accepted offers and reflect future sales. It appears that March/April may have been a peak for our spring housing market and rather than continue to improve we seem to be weakening again.
Unlike last month, I am no longer cautiously optimistic about the next couple of months. I had expected to see our Conditional/Active Due Diligence and Pending numbers at least remain steady if not continue to grow while, in fact, right now they are decreasing slightly. Our Lake Norman real estate market remains highly unpredictable and far from being on a steady path upwards. It has been fairly erratic…several relatively strong months followed by several very weak months and then another jump up. As many economists say, this is a very “uneven” recovery!
It may be that we will continue to see this stops and starts throughout 2011. At this point there is clearly no consistent trend to help us predict the future.