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.
After a strong 2012 for Lake Norman single family home sales and an impressive January 2013, it is critical to take the pulse of our February numbers to make certain that the optimism about our Lake Norman real estate market is justified. Let’s take a look:
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. (February 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 February Hot Sheets for the past 4 years to help put our February 2013 numbers in perspective with the past February’s, not just the past 6 months.
February Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 4 Years
- New listings: After historic lows in inventory of homes for sale in all of Lake Norman, we are finally getting more new listings on the market. If you add our new listings to the 12 back-on-market we had a total of 124 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks which is 20% more than last February’s and .3% more than last month’s 120. As of this morning the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stood at 798 which is up from our low of 690 on January 2nd. While buyers are anxious for new homes to come on the market, my gut is telling me that our increases in inventory of active listing in Lake Norman may be a direct result of too much optimism on the part of both Realtors and potential home sellers. Higher inventory levels could jeopardize our recovery, especially if they are overpriced.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, remains relatively low when compared to the last 6 months but are significantly lower than prior Februarys’. Clearly sales contracts are much more likely to close today than in past years. This is due to a number of factors including the fact that today’s buyers seem more committed due to low interest rates, lack of options for other good homes and the belief that our Lake Norman housing market has not only bottomed out but is improving while our inventory remains relatively low. Buyers are still experiencing challenges with loan approvals and appraisals but over all the stability of our sales process has improved significantly.
- The number of price changes increased slightly from the last 2 months but were quite low when compared to all of 2012 and all prior Februaries’. Prices seem to have stabilized due to low inventory and higher sales. 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) were identical to the last two months and were equal to or lower than the prior Februarys’. Given that December and January are traditionally the slowest months of the year for Lake Norman, I would think that this number should be higher. Could we be experiencing a minor slowdown in Lake Norman home sales? (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 March. 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 not stellar when compared to prior months and prior Februarys’. Combine this with our pending sales and it looks like we will might exceed last February’s 59 total homes sales in all of Lake Norman but not by much. After 13 straight months of very strong sales I have some concerns that this month’s closed sales will not be as strong as these.
- Our “Under Contract but Continue to Show” properties, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS seem a bit disappointing as well. They are less than last month’s and the past two Februarys’. This is another indication that our market may not be as “hot” as it seems.
If you look at our total number of Lake Norman homes currently under contract, a whopping 249, there is no doubt our market remains strong. However, the slowdown evidenced by our Hot Sheet numbers is significant enough to raise a small warning flag for potential sellers and Realtors. Can our Lake Norman real estate market sustain it’s strong sales trends?
So, what am I experiencing right now? The market feels “hot”…maybe even hotter than it actually is because when good homes/properties come on the market they sell quickly, sometimes with multiple offers IF priced properly. My buyers are feeling the pressure to act more quickly because the best properties on their lists are selling before they have had a chance to write an offer. I even experienced this with lots in The Point last week.
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 7% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and shortsales). Prices in general are low as are interest rates. In my opinion, early 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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