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 strong since January 1st. But, even more importantly, today’s level of activity in our Lake Norman for single family home sales is very high. We currently have 271 homes under contract in all of Lake Norman which far surpasses any other time since the recession. Buyers are out looking and making offers. 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. (March 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 March Hot Sheets for the past 4 years to help put our March 2013 numbers in perspective with the past March’s, not just the past 6 months.
March Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 4 Years
- New listings: Our inventory of active listings in Lake Norman continues to grow as we enter into the historically busy spring months. That said, our inventory is still low, which is a good thing over all. If you add our new listings to the 15 back-on-market we had a total of 128 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks which is 12% more than last March and .3% more than last month’s 124. At the same time 110 properties went under contract or sold for a net increase of 18 listings. As of this morning the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stood at 860, up from our low of 690 on January 2nd 2013. 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, especially if they are overpriced.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, remains relatively stable when compared to the last 6 months but are significantly lower than prior Marchs’ in 2009 – 2011 and a bit lower than last March’s. 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 4 months but were quite low when compared to all prior Marchs’. Prices seem to have stabilized due to low inventory and higher sales and have even inched up slightly in some areas. 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 up 56% compared to last month and the highest of the 7 prior months as well. When compared to previous Marchs’ they were only slightly higher and even a bit lower than 2010’s which was when we had the national housing rebates. (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 April. 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 quite an improvement from the last few months and all previous Marchs’. Combine this with our pending sales and it looks like we will at least reach last March’s 91 total homes sales in all of Lake Norman but not by much. After 14 straight months of very strong sales increases we are now coming up against our strong 2012 months so I don’t expect to see as many double digit increases.
- Our “Under Contract but Continue to Show” properties, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS were back up after a dip last month. They are higher than the past 6 months but didn’t quite beat our strong March 2012 number. Clearly our market is very active entering in to our historically good spring/summer seasons.
As I said above, our total number of Lake Norman homes currently under contract is a whopping 271. Whether or not we beat our March 2012 sales numbers there is no doubt we will exceed last spring’s sales given the record number of homes under contract today.
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. (This is more true of waterfront properties and our lowest price ranges). 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 month.
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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