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.
After an unusally cold winter, it seems life and home sales are springing to life in Lake Norman. We currently have 211 single family homes under contract (sellers have accepted an offer but the sale is not complete) in all of Lake Norman compared to last month’s 186. While we are well behind last year’s numbers, the trend is definitely positive!
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 5 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective.
I created this additional chart comparing just the March Lake Norman Hot Sheets for the past 5 years to help put our March 2014 home sales numbers in perspective with past Marches’, not just the past 6 months.
March Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 6 Years
- New listings: Our number of new homes listed for sale in Lake Norman in the past two weeks were the highest in the past 4 months and the highest March since 2010. If you add our new listings to the 17 back-on-market we had a total of 136 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks. At the same time 100 properties went under contract or sold for a net increase of 36 active listings in the past two weeks. As of today, the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stands at 913 (last month it was 837) up from our all time low of 690 on January 2, 2013. Despite our buyers’ desires for new listings to choose from, I am a bit concerned that our number of homes for sale in Lake Norman is higher than it should be given our current rate of sales. Low inventory plays an important role in our Lake Norman’s housing recovery. We are now entering 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 dropped slightly from last month and are about in line with the last two years. These are primarily cancelled purchase contracts. With the increasing interest rates which are expected to continue throughout 2014 buyers should be more motivated this spring. Are the new, stricter loan policies going to impact this trend?
- The number of price changes were up significantly compared to the past 4 months. I believe that sellers of homes that have not sold over the late fall and winter are reducing their prices in order to get noticed and attract more buyers and showings during Lake Norman’s strongest home selling seasons.
- Our number of “Under Contract but Continue to Show” homes, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS, picked up nicely after a disappointing February. Newly signed home sales contracts in the past two weeks were higher than 3 of our past 6 months. They are also higher than all Marches with the exception of last year’s.
- Our number of Under Contract No Show/Pending sales are finally improving and were actually the best in the past 6 months’. That said, they remain weak when compared to past Marches’. (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 April.)
- 32 Closed Sales were recorded in the past two weeks which is a slight improvement over the past several months’ Hot Sheet numbers. And, this number is higher than all but last Marchs’. So far this month we have had 42 closed/recorded single family home sales in our Lake Norman communities compared to last month’s 32 and December’s 72. Clearly, our closed sales in March will be stronger than last month’s but will most likely not meet March 2013’s record 96 closed sales.
So, what am I experiencing right now and what to I hear from my fellow Realtors? It is actually fascinating because with small hot niches one Realtor might tell me it is “hot” based upon their own business while others will tell me it is slow. What I can tell you is that our market is definitely not as strong as last year and that buyers are very picky. Now that we have new construction to compete with, resale homes need to be in move-in condition and have few weaknesses. I am seeing some improvement in the waterfront and higher-end sales after a very slow winter. The dynamics of our current Lake Norman housing market are complex and challenging. There are no concrete trends but rather fluid micro trends.
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 2% 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. Economists expect home loan rates to continue to rise in 2014. It is impossible to predict specifics for the future but right now it appears we will struggle in 2014 to match the post recession record high numbers logged in 2013 both in our Lake Norman housing market and nationally. However, our Lake Norman housing market is now entering our historically strongest months. After an unusually brutal winter it will be great to see what the sunshine and warm temperatures bring in the upcoming months!
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