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.
Lake Norman’s 2013 real estate sales have been strong since January 1st. But, even more importantly, today’s level of activity in our Lake Norman for single family home sales continues to break records for post-recession Lake Norman. We currently have 295 homes under contract in all of Lake Norman which far surpasses any other time since the recession. Buyers are out looking and making offers. Let’s take a look at a snapshot of the past two weeks’ activity:
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 March Hot Sheets for the past 4 years to help put our April 2013 numbers in perspective with the past April’s, not just the past 6 months.
April Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 4 Years
- New listings: Our inventory of active listings in Lake Norman continues to grow as we enter into the historically busy spring months. That said, our inventory is still low, which is a good thing over all. If you add our new listings to the 25 back-on-market we had a total of 137 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks which is just about equal to last April’s and slightly higher than last month’s. At the same time 122 properties went under contract or sold for a net increase of 15 listings. As of this morning the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stood at 928 up from our low of 690 on January 2nd 2013. While buyers are anxious for new homes to come on the market, low inventory is an important part of Lake Norman’s housing recovery. Clearly, as sellers and Realtors gain optimism about our market they will be more likely to list new properties for sale. Higher inventory levels could jeopardize our recovery, especially if they are overpriced.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, actually increased after 6 months of relatively low numbers. These are cancelled purchase contracts. I have observed several new causes for this; from difficulty with loans, particularly appraisals, to buyers being demanding about repairs etc. and sellers being less motivated to negotiate since they feel there are more buyers looking at their homes. Of course, if we look at prior April’s it is clear that likelihood that a home under contract in Lake Norman area closes is fairly stable and significantly better than 2009 and 2010.
- The number of price changes also increased this month when compared to the last 6 months’ Hot Sheets but were quite low when compared to all prior Aprils’. Perhaps overly optimistic sellers and listing agents are lowering prices to ensure that they capitalize on Lake Norman’s strong spring housing market. Prices seem to have stabilized due to low inventory and higher sales and have even inched up slightly in some areas. In general, properties are selling more quickly as well. Please note that it is extremely difficult to determine our REAL average and median price trends here in Lake Norman because of our combination of waterfront, waterview, golf course homes and off-water homes all mixed together in our MLS numbers. One or two $2 million dollar or higher sales will throw our average prices way out of whack.
- Pending home sales (Now called “Under Contract No Showings or UCNS” by our MLS) actually dipped slightly compared to last months’ but remain strong when compared to the 6 prior month’s. It is interesting to see how relatively low they are versus previous Aprils’. April is traditionally one of the better months of the year for Lake Norman home sales and marks the beginning higher closed sales of our strongest selling season. (Pending or “Under Contract No More Showings” are contracts that have passed all of their conditions/contingencies/Due Diligence Deadlines and are just waiting to close. These properties will most likely close by the end of this month or May. Because of the change in categories, it is best to add this number with the Conditional (Under Contract Show UCS) in order to compare apples to apples).
- The number of closed sales reported in the past two weeks was quite an improvement from the last 6 months and all but one previous Aprils’. As of today we have 60 closed sales so far in April. If we add these to our pending sales there is no doubt that we will at least match last April’s 91 total homes sales in all of Lake Norman but will most likely exceed them. After 15 straight months of very strong sales increases we are now coming up against our strong 2012 months so I don’t expect to see as many double digit increases.
- Our “Under Contract but Continue to Show” properties, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS put an exclamation point on Lake Norman’s currently strong housing market. At 46 not only are they the highest April since I started keeping these records, but they are the highest of the past 6 months as well. Clearly the Lake Norman real estate market is very active and if anything seems to be gaining momentum which bodes well for our late spring and summer!
As I said above, our total number of Lake Norman homes currently under contract is a whopping 295. I am pretty confident that we will beat last month’s sales and have the best April since the recession.
So, what am I experiencing right now? The market feels “hot”…maybe even hotter than it actually is overall because when good homes/properties come on the market they sell quickly, sometimes with multiple offers if priced properly. (This is more true of waterfront properties and our lowest price ranges). My buyers are feeling the pressure to act more quickly. However, I am also seeing some sellers and listing agents who are a bit overly confident and therefore less flexible during negotiations. The dynamics of our current Lake Norman housing market are complex and challenging despite strong sales.
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 significantly in Lake Norman in 2013, I also don’t see nor expect to see that many truly exceptional bargains. (Less than 6% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and shortsales). Prices in general are low as are interest rates. In my opinion, 2013 represents a great opportunity for potential Lake Norman home buyers. It is impossible to predict specifics for all of 2013 but all signs point to continued improvement in the national and local Lake Norman housing market.
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