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 2013 real estate sales have been breaking records since January 1st. It appears, however, that our number of monthly home sales may have peaked in May and are now trending down slightly each month. The numbers below further substantiate this. We currently have 260 single family homes under contract in all of Lake Norman which is a drop from last month’s 301 and May’s high of 330 but is still the 5th highest number since I have been keeping these records. Let’s take a look at a snapshot of the past two weeks’ activity:
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. (July 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 July Hot Sheets for the past 4 years to help put our July 2013 numbers in perspective with past July’s, not just the past 6 months.
July Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 5 Years
- New listings: Our number of new homes for sale in Lake Norman has begun to slow down with our total number of active listings remaining just under 1000. If you add our new listings to the 14 back-on-market we had a total of 117 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks which is 10% lower than last month’s but 11% more than our July 2012 Hot Sheet’s. At the same time 133 properties went under contract or sold for a net drop of 16 active listings in the past two weeks. As of today, the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stands at 995 up from our low of 690 on January 2, 2013 and slightly higher than last year at this time. While buyers are anxious for new homes to come on the market, low inventory is an important part of Lake Norman’s housing recovery. Clearly, as sellers and Realtors gain optimism about our market they will be more likely to list new properties for sale. Higher inventory levels could jeopardize our recovery.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market remained low compared to the past few months’ and the lowest July since 2009 when I started keeping these records. These are cancelled purchase contracts. This drop may indicate that sellers and buyers are more committed to their contracts and perhaps even that the loan process is improving. Is the looming threat of higher interest rates a factor?
- The number of price changes also decreased slightly this month when compared to the past 2 months but ticked up slightly when compared to June 2012’s. Fearing that they have missed the peak of Lake Norman’s 2013 home sales, perhaps once overly optimistic sellers and listing agents are reducing prices to ensure that they don’t miss out on this dynamic housing market. Sales prices in Lake Norman have stabilized due to low inventory and higher sales. They have even inched up in some niches. 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.
- Our “Under Contract but Continue to Show” properties, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS, dropped back down to our March 2013 Hot Sheet numbers. That said, at 45, this is the strongest July since I started keeping these records in 2009. Clearly the Lake Norman real estate market remains healthy and I expect we will continue to log higher sales numbers in July and August when compared to prior years back to 2007’s peak.
- Pending home sales (Now called “Under Contract No Showings or UCNS” by our MLS) were actually the weakest category on this chart. Our pending sales are down 38% from last month and were also the lowest of all prior July Hot Sheets. (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 in August. 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, while down from last month’s, were still impressive when compared to prior Julys’. However, given that our pending home sales are down slightly, it could be that we won’t have as impressive last 10 days of July as we did last month. While I feel confident that we will at least match and probably exceed last July’s 116 closed sales, our July 2013 sales will not equal or exceed the past two months’s sales numbers. This further substantiates my feeling that our Lake Norman real estate home sales most likely peaked in May for the year but will remain relatively strong and will most likely continue to out perform 2012.
So, what am I experiencing right now? The market feels strong but not as “hot” as it did in late spring. The lower price ranges continue to lead the recovery but there has been some marked improvement in some higher price ranges like the $800,000’s and over $1million. The dynamics of our current Lake Norman housing market are complex and challenging despite strong sales.
I continue to encourage my buyers to buy if they find a good home at a good price, especially waterfront homes and lots. 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. For example, a great waterfront lot on Lakeview Shores Loop in Mooresville was listed as a foreclosure for $325,000 and it actually closed just over $400,000. Multiple offers are common with distressed properties like this one thus driving the “bargain” priced properties up. (Less than 4% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and shortsales). A year ago I sold several waterfront “teardowns” in the $300,000’s but those are simply gone. Waterfront lots/teardowns with good water in Mooresville are now priced in the $400,000’s and up. Prices in general are still historically low but with the recent jump in interest rates real estate has become slightly less affordable. It looks like the Feds have backed off their plan to cut back on their purchases of bonds in September which bodes well for short-term mortgage rates. In my opinion, 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 markets.
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