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 we are at this very moment…an almost live insight into the heartbeat of the Lake Norman housing market.
I always get excited to do this Hot Sheet analysis each month because it provides me with a mid-month pulse of our Lake Norman real estate market. So where are we today? The numbers below actually confirm my thoughts when I wrote my February market report. After a serious dip in February it looks like our housing market is back on track or even better. Let’s take a closer look:
Lake Norman Real Estate’s March 2016 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. 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. Below is the March chart using my data since 2009.
March Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 9 Years
All you have to do is look at the sold columns on both charts to see why I feel that our weak February was an anomaly. We just logged the highest March hot sheet solds since 2009! And, we currently have a record breaking 347 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 275, January’s 199, December’s 212, November’s 266, October’s 272, September’s 294, and last year’s end of March’s 297. So, as I had expected, February will be a short-lived dip in closed sales and we may even be on track for some record breaking numbers in the next few months. Another positive is the number of new listings which should boost future sales. With 82 closed sales as of today (March 22nd) we are not far off of last March’s month end closed sales of 104 so I am confident that we will at least meet that number this month.
- New listings: At 118, our number of new listings added in the past two weeks are up slightly from last month and down just a hair from last March’s hot sheet. We are right in line with seasonal and past trends. As of today we have only 851 active listings in all of Lake Norman up from last month’s 786, but still well below last June’s high of 1132.
- Our number of brand NEW “Under Contract but Continue to Show” homes, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales, at 104 is stunning! They are significantly higher than the past 6 months AND the highest March by far since 2009. This bodes extremely well for closed sales in April/May. I sense some record breaking months ahead!
- Our number of Under Contract No Show/Pending sales, at 36, is slightly higher than last month’s and last March’s but matches March 2015. Our March closed sales in 2015 were a record breaking 136 but I don’t know that we can reach that number this month. Since pending contracts indicate more imminent close sales it looks like we will post decent sales in March but better in April/May. 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 April.
- Our 62 Hot Sheet Closed Sales are the strongest since last December and the highest March hot sheet since 2009! Again, note how close we are to 2015. It will be really interesting to see how many sales we close this month. It sure looks good! (Keep in mind, as always, that we have had a surge of new construction in the past 2 years so these MLS numbers are actually lower than our total sales because so many new homes are sold directly to buyers rather than through the MLS).
Clearly Lake Norman’s real estate market is recovering fast after a radical dip in February. As I predicted last month, the dip will definitely be short lived. And, given our current momentum, I feel that we should maintain very strong sales numbers at least through May. Beyond that it is very hard to predict. Keep in mind that our first six months of 2016 were very mercurial with overall lower sales compared to 2015 so we have some ground to make up in the coming months. I am still seeing quite a variety of trends depending on location, types of properties and price ranges. Multiple offers are not uncommon in the $200,000’s and our lower price ranges are selling faster than the higher price ranges. In our trade-up price ranges exceptional properties are selling quickly but otherwise this price niche is unpredictable. Inventory is growing but competition is still strong for good new listings.
I am still counseling my buyers to watch the market daily for new listings and price reductions. The average days on market has dropped, especially for “good” new listings. But properties that aren’t perfect or are overpriced are sitting. If buyers are willing to do remodeling, then now is a great opportunity to buy an older waterfront home that needs work, has been on the market for a long time but is in a great location or has great water. The waterfront tear-downs/fixers are still coming on the market but at higher prices than in the early years after the recession. To get a nice waterfront home you really need to be looking at least in the $700,000’s depending on the location.
On the other hand, I am working hard with my sellers to stage their homes to perfection in order to get the highest price possible. Even in the lower price ranges my sellers are painting interiors in popular grey tones, painting kitchens white when appropriate, refinishing hardwoods in dark stains and adding new carpet in light beige/grey tones. Finally, we add pops of color with pillows and other accessories. Sellers, today it is more important than ever to stage your homes in order to maximize your profits!
After the rapid rise of mortgage interest rates after the election they dropped back down until the most recent Fed rate hike. There are still so many unknowns for 2017 and the Feds are expected to raise rates again two more times this year so it is truly impossible to predict where we will be at the end of 2017.
Don’t forget that we have very few distressed sales, (Less than 2% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and short sales), so a bargain today is actually a well priced home that is in a very good location with a good floor plan. My Mantra for 2017 remains: Think location, good floorplans and resale and look for good waterfront opportunities before they are gone. And, if you find a property that suits you, don’t wait too long to act! Sellers: UPDATE and STAGE to perfection!
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