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 our Lake Norman real estate market is at this very moment…an almost live insight into the heartbeat of the Lake Norman housing market. These Hot Sheet reports serve as pretty good predictors of our short-term Lake Norman real estate market.
Well, last month I was very enthused by our string of “hot” months. Unfortunately, a bit of doubt is beginning to creep in to my perspective of our current Lake Norman housing market. Instead of a consistent showing of improving numbers across the board, there are some hiccups that indicate to me that we once again may see some mild ups and downs in the coming months.
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 7th – 21st). As always, I have included the past 6 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective.
I created this additional chart comparing just the April Hot Sheets for the past 3 years to help put our April 2012 numbers in perspective with the past Aprils, not just the past 6 months:
April Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 4 Years
- New listings: While our new listings are up from the winter months, they are still lower than any April since I have been keeping these records. If you add our new listings to the 26 back-on-market we had a total of 138 Lake Norman properties added to our housing inventory in the past two weeks compared to last April’s 117, 193 in April 2010 and 197 in April 2009. As of this morning the total number of active listings in Lake Norman had increased from our all time low of 752 in January back up to 933 which is still extremely low historically. The reason these low numbers are good news is because keeping our inventory low will help stabilize our own Lake Norman housing market no matter what is happening in other areas or states. That said, we are trending a bit higher this month with new listings.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, jumped up after several very low months. However, compared to the past four April’s they are low with the exception of last April. While challenges continue related to securing financing due to tight restrictions on home loans by lenders, they are improving a bit. Every loan approved warrants a celebration!
- The number of price changes were up compared to 5 of the past 6 months but down substantially from the past 3 April’s. Considering sales are fairly good, this would indicate that prices are stabilizing. There is no doubt that overpriced listings are sitting until they are reduced to the “magic” number that generates offers, even multiple offers.
- Pending home sales are actually the weakest category on this chart. This indicates our closed sales for the next 30 days may not be as strong as they will be further into spring/summer. Pending home sales are contracts that have passed all of their conditions/contingencies/Due Diligence Deadlines and are just sitting ready to close.
- The number of closed sales reported in the past two weeks improved from last month’s and is more in line with our late 2011 numbers. They were also higher than three of the past 4 April’s. So far this entire month 43 closed sales have been reported to our MLS compared to 43 last month, 34 in February, 21 in January, 33 in December, 37 in November, 47 in October, 29 in August, 55 in June, 45 in July, 44 in June, 30 in May, 50 in April, 34 in March and 20 in February 2011. Considering all of these numbers, my best guess is that we will close about 80 single family home sales this month and may end up slightly below April 2011 and April 2010… the first such drop in 2012.
- Our Conditional and Contingent sales are lower than the last 2 month’s but better than the past 4 April’s. As the very most recent properties to go under contract, this number coupled with a bit lower pending sales makes me pause long enough to loose a bit of my confidence that our Lake Norman housing market is on a sustainable path to recovery. Each month will help to support this or undercut this.
Overall this month (not just the past 2 weeks) our conditional sales are very strong but our pending sales are low. This indicates to me that we may not have a strong ending to our April sales but we should pick up again in May/June. So, inventory remains low, sales are at least steady if not improving. Not quite as strong a statement as the past few months.
With our range of the months of supply of active listings at about 11 months using our 83 closed sales in March compared to the national average of 9.4 months and a balanced real estate market of 6-8 months, we clearly have a ways to go. Improving national economic and jobs numbers and improving consumer confidence are needed to support the current healing of our Lake Norman housing market. I continue to encourage my buyers to buy if they find a good home at a good price, especially waterfront homes. While I don’t anticipate prices going up in Lake Norman this year, I also don’t see that many truly exceptional bargains. (Less than 8% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and shortsales). Prices in general are low as are interest rates. In my opinion, 2012 represents a great opportunity for potential Lake Norman home buyers. Is that a light I see at the end of the tunnel? Only time will tell!
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