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? After a stunning March, I see mixed messages from the numbers below. Let’s take a closer look:
Lake Norman Real Estate’s April 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. (April 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.
April Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 9 Years
Looking at just the closed sales numbers, you would think that we are on tract for another record breaking month. But a closer look at the Under Contract Show hints at a slight slowdown from last month and last April. That said, we currently have a record breaking 380 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 347, February’s 275, January’s 199, December’s 212, November’s 266, October’s 272, and last year’s end of April 340. So, these numbers certainly support the expectation of more record breaking numbers in the next few months. With 76 closed sales as of today (April 22nd) we are still a ways from last April’s total closed sales of 138. While overall the future looks very strong, I am hesitant to say we will definitely beat 138 sales this month.
- New listings: At 109, our number of new listings added in the past two weeks was down slightly from the past 2 month’s and down as well from last April’s 116. It is a bit concerning that Lake Norman may be heading towards a year of lower inventories of homes for sale which could negatively impact our overall market. As of today we have 889 active listings in all of Lake Norman up from last month’s 851 but still well below last June’s high of 1132.
- Our number of brand NEW “Under Contract but Continue to Show” homes, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales, at 90 is a little disappointing. However, we must keep in mind that these were Easter and Spring Break holiday weeks which may have had an impact on this number.
- Our number of Under Contract No Show/Pending sales, at 48, is very impressive compared to all prior months and the highest April since I started keeping these records in 2009. Since pending contracts indicate more imminent close sales it looks like we will post decent sales in April/May 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 home sales contracts will most likely close by the end of this month or in May.
- Our 67 Hot Sheet Closed Sales are the strongest since last December and the highest April hot sheet since 2009! It will be really interesting to see how many sales we close this month. It sure looks good but we have to close 70 more in just one week! (Keep in mind, as always, that we have had a surge of new construction in the past 2 years so these MLS numbers are actually lower than our total sales because so many new homes are sold directly to buyers rather than through the MLS).
Clearly Lake Norman’s real estate market is HOT. As I predicted last month, the dip in February was definitely short lived. Given our current momentum, I feel that we should maintain very strong sales numbers at least through June. Beyond that it is very hard to predict. Keep in mind that our first six months of 2016 were very mercurial with overall lower sales compared to 2015. I am still seeing quite a variety of trends depending on location, types of properties and price ranges. Multiple offers are not uncommon in the $200,000’s and our lower price ranges are selling much faster than the higher price ranges. In our trade-up price ranges exceptional properties are selling quickly but otherwise this price niche is unpredictable. Inventory is growing but competition is still strong for good new listings.
I am still counseling my buyers to watch the market daily for new listings and price reductions. The average days on market has dropped, especially for “good” new listings. But properties that aren’t perfect or are overpriced are sitting. If buyers are willing to do remodeling, then now is a great opportunity to buy an older waterfront home that needs work, has been on the market for a long time but is in a great location or has great water. The waterfront tear-downs/fixers are still coming on the market but at higher prices than in the early years after the recession. To get a nice waterfront home you really need to be looking at least in the $700,000’s depending on the location.
On the other hand, I am working hard with my sellers to stage their homes to perfection in order to get the highest price possible. Even in the lower price ranges my sellers are painting interiors in popular grey tones, painting kitchens white when appropriate, refinishing or installing hardwoods in dark stains and adding new carpet in light beige/grey tones. Finally, we add pops of color with pillows and other accessories. Sellers, today it is more important than ever to stage your homes in order to maximize your profits!
After the rapid rise of mortgage interest rates after the election they dropped back down until the most recent Fed rate hike. There are still so many unknowns for 2017 and the Feds are expected to raise rates again two more times this year so it is truly impossible to predict where we will be at the end of 2017.
Don’t forget that we have very few distressed sales, (Less than 2% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and short sales), so a bargain today is actually a well priced home that is in a very good location with a good floor plan. My Mantra for 2017 remains: Think location, good floorplans and resale and look for good waterfront opportunities before they are gone. And, if you find a property that suits you, don’t wait too long to act! Sellers: UPDATE and STAGE to perfection for maximum profits!
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