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 4th quarter 2013 real estate sales definitely softened after some rather spectacular months but we still ended the year 18.5% higher than 2012. Today’s Hot Sheet numbers give us our first real glimpse into Lake Norman’s 2014 housing market’s health and it is looking good for the next few months after January. The numbers below actually indicate a significant uptick in the NEW Lake Norman home sales contracts opened in the past two weeks. So, while our closed sales for January may not be stellar, our market is definitely picking up rather quickly. We currently have 184 single family homes under contract (sellers have accepted an offer but the sale is not complete) in all of Lake Norman which is up significantly from last month’s Hot Sheet number of 164 and identical to last January’s but still well below the 206 in November, October’s 211, September’s 217, August’s 253, July’s 260, June’s 301 and May’s high of 330. Let’s take a look at a snapshot of the past two weeks’ activity:
Lake Norman Real Estate’s Two-Week Hot Sheet
Lake Norman Real Estate’s January 2014 Hot Sheet Sales Analysis
* 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. (January 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 January Lake Norman Hot Sheets for the past 5 years to help put our January 2014 home sales numbers in perspective with past January’s, not just the past 6 months.
January Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 5 Years
Lake Norman’s snap shot home sales for the past 5 Januarys
- New listings: Our number of new homes for sale in Lake Norman are beginning to rise as is expected at this time of year. If you add our new listings to the 17 back-on-market we had a total of 115 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks which is 80% higher than last month’s. At the same time 100 properties went under contract or sold for a net increase of 15 active listings in the past two weeks. As of today, the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stands at 791 (last month it was 824 but they dropped down and are now increasing) up from our low exactly a year ago of 690 on January 2, 2013. Like in the past few months, I am a bit concerned that our number of homes for sale in Lake Norman is higher than it should be at this time of year. However, with an uptick in sales we may be able to keep them in check. While buyers are anxious for new homes to come on the market, low inventory plays an important role in our Lake Norman’s housing recovery. We are heading for Lake Norman’s traditionally strong spring and summer months and my hope is that we can maintain a balanced market with higher sales matching increasing inventory. The is very important because higher inventory levels could jeopardize home price increases in Lake Norman. An unbalanced supply and demand leaning in favor of buyers will keep Lake Norman home prices flat.
- The number of homes that came back-on-the-market remain stable compared to last month and were about equal to the past 5 January’s. These are primarily cancelled purchase contracts. With the increasing interest rates which are expected to continue in 2014 buyers should be more motivated this spring. This is a great time to buy!
- The number of price changes were up from last month and the prior two January’s. I have noticed a number of sellers considering price changes in anticipation of our strong spring and summer months.
- Our number of “Under Contract but Continue to Show” homes, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS, were truly stellar for this time of year. Not only were the they best two weeks compared to all prior January Hot Sheets since 2009 but they were also the best two weeks for the past 6 month’s Hot Sheets! Given that these are our newest sales, these should translate into strong closed sales in February/March.
- Our number of Under Contract No Show/Pending sales were just the opposite. The lowest in the past 7 months and lower than all previous January’s, it is clear that our relatively weak November/December activity will result in lower closed sales this month. (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 early February.)
- 30 Closed Sales were recorded in the past two weeks which makes this the best mid-January since 2009 but still the lowest in the past 7 months. So far this month we have had 35 closed/recored single family home sales in our Lake Norman communities compared to last month’s 72. Clearly, our closed sales in January are going to be quite low. Last Janaury Lake Norman had 72 homes sold in total and we are less than half way there with just 10 days left in the month. Because our pending home sales are relatively low, I can’t help but wonder if we will fall below last January’s sales for only the second time in two years.
So, what am I experiencing right now? Besides the overall seasonal slowdown, it still really depends on where and what price range. Homes up to $500,000 that are in good condition in good locations/neighborhoods are selling the best. However, some price ranges and areas around Lake Norman are actually quite slow. Not all properties and locations are created equal. Good to perfect properties are selling more quickly and older homes or homes that need work are taking longer to sell. Hint to buyers, there are some great opportunities if you broaden your search to look at older homes or homes that need a bit of work. As always, The dynamics of our current Lake Norman housing market are complex and challenging despite overall solid sales.
I continue to encourage my buyers to buy if they find a good home at a good price, especially waterfront homes and lots or homes in the most popular neighborhoods. (Location, location, location). With interest rates rising and few distressed sales, (Less than 3% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and short sales), Lake Norman home buyers need to strike while the iron is hot when they find a home with potential. Prices in general are still historically low. Now that the Feds have decided to start decreasing their buying of bonds, economists expect home loan rates to continue to rise in 2014. In my opinion, the next few months represents a great opportunity for potential Lake Norman home buyers. It is impossible to predict specifics for the future but all signs point to continued improvement in the national and local Lake Norman housing markets. Remember that our market starts to really heat back up by March!
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