If you are new to this blog, every month I do a snapshot analysis of the middle two weeks in each month to get a sense of where our Lake Norman real estate market is at this very moment since our market changes so frequently these days! Things are definitely looking up this month after a very weak January and February but I’m not sure we are going to surpass our Spring 2010 numbers based upon what we see below:
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. (March 7 – 21st). As always, I have included the past 6 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective.
- New listings: Historically we see an increase in new listing after the holidays so these past three months of increases are no surprise. However, these increases are not as dramatic as last year’s 150 which is good news for our Lake Norman housing market. Our overall number of active listings/homes for sale in Lake Norman remain lower than last year’s despite experiencing a slight increase in the past few months. This is very good news as our months of supply of inventory which is hovering around 12-23 months and needs to achieve a balance of 6-8 months. That said, our Lake Norman inventory of active listings is still too high for our current rate of sales.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, were actually fairly modest but stable overall.
- The number of price changes jumped back up again to almost October’s levels. Last March’s Hot Sheet included 148 price changes. I expected this number to jump back up this spring as sellers become more motivated/realistic/anxious. However, they are still lower than I would have expected for this time of year and when compared to our past numbers.
- Pending home sales are trending back up after a very slow couple of months which we expected after seeing the increase last month in new contracts. Pending home sales are contracts that are through all of their conditions/contingencies/Due Diligence Deadlines and just sitting ready to close. Last March in the same two-week period we recorded a whopping 45 pending sales or 40% higher than this March 2011. After a strong 4th quarter, these numbers indicate we may not meet last year’s closed sales for the third month in a row.
- The number of closed sales in the past two weeks also increased. So far this month 34 closed sales have been reported to our MLS compared to 20 last month, 18 in January, 60 in December and 39 in the same period for March 2010. My best guess is that we will close less than the 72 sales of last March’s single family homes in all of Lake Norman. Most likely, we will see about 60 closed sales this month. While the Lake Norman real estate market has experienced some improvement we are certainly not out of the woods yet!
- Some Good News: Our Contingent and Conditional sales and our new category of Actives/Due Diligence, while down slightly from last month and the same period in March 2010, are still quite a bit higher than most of last fall and winter. These represent the most recently accepted offers which means after two or three very slow months our future sales in late April and May may reach our 2010 sales levels.
As with last month, I am cautiously optimistic about the next couple of months but certainly not jumping for joy! Our Lake Norman real estate market remains highly unpredictable and far from being on a steady path upwards. It has been fairly erratic…several relatively strong months followed by several very weak months and then another jump up.
It may be that we will continue to see this stops and starts throughout 2011. At this point there is clearly no consistent trend to help us predict the future. I am showing my buyers mostly distressed properties no matter what the price range. Active listings seem to be increasingly short sales and foreclosures. Most Realtors I talk with agree that the majority of buyers are making almost insultingly low offers and for the most part sellers, both banks and individuals, are doing their best to make them work.
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