I always get excited to do a Hot Sheet analysis because it provides me with a mid-month pulse of our Lake Norman real estate market. So where are we today? After a sluggish January, it looks like we may have another month of relatively weak closed sales but there are some positive signs for the future. Let’s take a closer look:
Lake Norman Real Estate’s February 2018 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. (February 8th – 22nd). As always, I have included the past 7 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective. Below is the February chart using my data since 2010.
February Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 9 Years
If you focus on just the top chart, it is clear that our sales have slowed significantly compared to our peak months. (Note that I didn’t do hot sheets in December or January). But, looking at the second chart, you can see that we posted some decent numbers, particularly in closed sales, compared to prior Februarys since 2010. Lake Norman’s overall number of single family homes under contract (UCS and UCNS) today is 264 compared to last year’s end of February’s 295. This would indicate that we are not on pace to match 2017 sales for March and even April. If you recall, last February was the only month in all of 2017 when Lake Norman’s home sales didn’t exceed prior years so the good news is that with 62 closed sales so far this month I think we should definitely be able to match last February’s sales very low sales of 70. However, I don’t think we will reach February 2016’s or 2015’s sales. Overall a lackluster start to 2018.
- New listings: At only 82, our number of new listings added in the past two weeks is well below most prior months in 2017 AND the lowest February hot sheet since 2010. Typically our inventory of active listings climb significantly in early spring after hitting an annual low right after the holidays. The fact that we have fewer new listings might translate into lower sales in the next few months. As of today we have only 702 active listings in all of Lake Norman.’s compared to last February’s 786. June 1, 2016’s was our record high of 1132.
- Our number of brand NEW “Under Contract but Continue to Show” homes, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales, at 78, is one of the more positive numbers on this report. While it is well below last February’s, it is the second highest in all other February’s since 2010. Our current market is slowing picking up its pace.
- Our number of Under Contract No Show/Pending sales, at 24, is another sign of our sluggish market as it is low compared to 2017 and the lowest February since 2014. Pending contracts indicate more imminent closed sales. Despite this low number I feel we will exceed the February 2017 very low sales number but overall our market is under performing compared to last 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 March.
- Our 58 Hot Sheet Closed Sales are also low compared to 2017 but are the highest February since 2010. As of today, we have 62 closed sales so far this month. Given our pending contracts I do feel we will reach last February’s 70 closed sales but since last February’s sales were so low, put in perspective with other years, our Lake Norman market is, as I said above, sluggish.
Clearly Lake Norman’s real estate market has slowed after an historic 2017. Is it due to low inventory, rising interest rates or a combination of factors like these? I will watch closely and over the next few months try to give you more answers!
Today, buyers in lower price ranges should be prepared to act quickly when a good, updated property comes on the market and write strong offers with pre-approval letters attached. Waterfront buyers who are willing/able should focus on properties with good water but that need updating due to the lack of inventory.
For sellers, the key is to stage every listing to perfection! That usually means freshly painted interiors (think Agreeable Grey at Sherwyn Williams), painting tired kitchen cabinets white when appropriate, refinishing hardwood floors or installing hardwoods or good laminates in dark tones, new counter tops if needed and professional staging. This makes a HUGE difference and has proven to add to the bottom lines in every listing I have had. Sellers, today it is more important than ever to stage your homes in order to maximize your profits!
Don’t forget that we have very few distressed sales, (Less than 1% 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 2018 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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