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 the mid-month pulse of our Lake Norman real estate market. So where are we today? The numbers below definitely indicate that our unusually heated pace of sales has slowed down to about the same as last year’s in the past two weeks. That said, we are well on our way to logging another strong month of sales to end the year on a high note. Let’s take a closer look:
Lake Norman Real Estate’s December 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. (December 7th – 21st. As always, I have included the past 6 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective. Below is the December chart using my data since 2009.
December Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 8 Years
When I wrote my November market report for Lake Norman the numbers indicated that the strong momentum we have seen since summer/fall would continue this month but the numbers above also show a slowed pace which could dampen our early 2017 numbers a bit. We currently have 212 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 266, October’s 272, September’s 294, and last year’s end of December’s 176. While we are down significantly from the last few months, overall this month we are still outpacing last December. With 81 closed sales already we are almost definitely going to close at least 2015’s 119 closed sales this month.
- New listings: At only 45, our number of new listings added in the past two weeks dropped significantly compared to last month’s AND is the lowest December hot sheet number since 2009! Our inventory of homes for sale in our Lake Norman area has continued to drop in the past few months to levels now slightly below last year’s very low numbers. As of today we have only 768 active listings in all of Lake Norman down from last month’s 819 and June’s high of 1132.
- Our number of brand NEW “Under Contract but Continue to Show” homes, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales, in our MLS, at only 38, is the lowest compared to the past 6 months AND lower than last year’s but still the second highest December since 2009. It will be quite interesting to watch our numbers over the next few weeks to see if this is indeed a downward trend or just a fluke.
- Our number of Under Contract No Show/Pending sales, at 22, is slightly higher than last month’s but still relatively low compared to the past 6 months. However, they are slightly better than all but one of the past Decembers 2009. With lower new contracts and pending contracts it looks like January/February will post lower sales but keep in mind that they are Lake Norman’s two slowest months of the year 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 January.
- Our 70 Hot Sheet Closed Sales are also down compared to the past 6 months’. 70 is the second only to December 2014 when comparing apples to apples. To put this in context, last December we sold a total of 119 single family homes and in 2014 we had 125 closed sales . With already 70 closed this month, I would expect us to end December above last year but perhaps not above the 125. Keep in mind, as always, that we have had a surge of new construction this year so these MLS numbers are lower than our actual total sales because so many new homes are sold directly to buyers rather than through the MLS.
Clearly, over all, Lake Norman’s real estate market remains active while following our traditional seasonal slowdown. That said, 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 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 have dropped significantly so competition is going to be 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 still 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 past years since 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.
One significant change since last month is the rapid rise of mortgage interest rates which are now at or above 4% and still rising. Add this trend to the recent rate increase by the Feds and it seems that we will be entering new territory in 2017. Lenders are saying refi’s are pretty much done so they are going to be relying on new mortgages. And, higher interest rates, even though historically very low, will impact the affordability of housing going forward as well. So many unknowns heading into 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 2016/2017 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!
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