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.
Well, last month I became a bit skeptical about the sustainability of the stronger sales numbers in our Lake Norman housing market so far in 2012. But, after a few small hiccups our closing sales in April actually ended up at 90 which matched our previous high April since 2007. And, now our May sales numbers are looking even better:
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. (May 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 May Hot Sheets for the past 3 years to help put our May 2012 numbers in perspective with the past Mays, not just the past 6 months:
May Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 4 Years
- New listings: Our number of new listings seems to have leveled out after our usual spring bump. They are on the lower side of previous May’s as well. If you add our new listings to the 13 back-on-market we had a total of 123 Lake Norman properties added to our housing inventory in the past two weeks compared to last May’s 118, 168 in May 2010 and 178 in May 2009. As of this morning the total number of active listings in Lake Norman had increased from our all time low of 752 in January back up to 975 which is still low historically but definitely trending slightly higher. The reason these low numbers are good news is because keeping our inventory low will help stabilize our own Lake Norman housing market no matter what is happening in other areas or states. Hopefully we will see new listings slow down further now that our typical seasonal uptick has passed.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, dropped significantly from last month and remain low when compared to past months AND past years. This is a very good sign as it indicates that buyers are more committed and better qualified when they write an offer to purchase a home in Lake Norman. That said, home loans are still extremely challenging. Every loan approved warrants a celebration!
- The number of price changes was down significantly after trending higher in early spring. They are also substantially lower than the past Mays’ since 2009. Considering our sales are fairly good, this might be an indication that prices are stabilizing. There is no doubt that overpriced listings are sitting until they are reduced to the “magic” number that generates offers, even multiple offers.
- Pending home sales improved slightly since April but are weaker than previous Mays’. Pending home sales are contracts that have passed all of their conditions/contingencies/Due Diligence Deadlines and are just waiting to close. It is important to note that last June as well as June 2010 we had closed sales in excess of 100. These were historically exceptional months since the recession began; 201o was due to the home credit rebate program.
- The number of closed sales reported in the past two weeks improved from last month’s. When all our numbers were in we actually recorded 90 closed sales in Lake Norman last month which tied us with the best Aprils’s since 2007. Our hot sheet numbers also higher than 2 of the past 3 May’s, again being up against the rebates of 2010. So far this entire month 44 closed sales have been reported to our MLS compared to 43 last month, 43 in March, 34 in February, 21 in January. Considering all of these numbers, my best guess is that we will again close about 90 single family home sales this month and should end up significantly higher than May 2011 and 2009 and about equal to May 201o’s rebate bump. This means that our Lake Norman single family home sales have been higher than last year’s every month in 2012. 5 straight month’s of stronger sales is not only a record since 2007 but it is an indication that the erratic nature of our previous years may finally be stabilizing.
- Our Conditional and Contingent sales improved slightly from last month and are higher than the past 3 May’s. As the very most recent properties to go under contract, this improvement bodes well for the next few months at least. They also serve to boost my confidence that our Lake Norman housing market is on a sustainable path to recovery. Each month will help to support or undercut this.
Overall this month (not just the past 2 weeks) our conditional sales are very strong and our sales pending remain stable. These numbers are very encouraging. If inventory remains low, and our sales are at least steady if not improving each month it would indicate that our Lake Norman housing market has hit bottom.
Our current number months of supply of active listings stands at about 10.8 months using our 90 closed sales in April. A recent article by Refin indicated that their 17- urban counties months of inventory had plummeted to 3.3 months! With a balanced real estate market goal of 6-8 months, Lake Norman clearly has a ways to go. Here in the Charlotte/Lake Norman housing market our downturn hit in spring 2007 which was a bit later than most of the country. It is reasonable to expect that we might not follow national trends as we heal. 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 in Lake Norman this year, I also don’t see that many truly exceptional bargains. (Less than 8% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and shortsales). Prices in general are low as are interest rates. In my opinion, 2012 represents a great opportunity for potential Lake Norman home buyers. Is that a light I see at the end of the tunnel? Only time will tell!
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