After a pretty weak summer for our Lake Norman real estate market, we have recently experienced some unexpected improvements. We opened the month of November with a marked increase in Conditional and Pending home sales indicating that our Lake Norman closed home sales for November and December might exceed our 2009 numbers. As you can see below, our closed sales so far this month are, in fact, second only to last May. And, our newly opened contracts, the Conditional and Contingent sales, remain fairly stable as well. A small glimmer of hope that perhaps this winter will be better than many expected.
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. (Nov. 7 – Nov. 21st). As always, I have included the past 5 months so that you can put these numbers in perspective.
- New listings: The number of new listings remain at their lowest level since I have been doing these two-week mid-month hot sheets. This is actually very good news because our overall number of active listings in Lake Norman continue to drop. This is necessary for our months of supply of inventory to achieve a balance of 6-8 months of inventory. Not such great news for buyers hoping to see new options.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, were also the lowest in years. It appears that homes going under contract are more likely to close today than they were in 2009. Now that lenders have been working with the new RESPA laws and other changes for a while I have noticed that the loan process is much more rigorous up front but once my buyers have been pre-approved there are fewer last minute surprises. Another note, about half of my buyers are paying with all cash thereby avoiding the lending market all together. This may be true in general as well.
- The number of price changes continue to fall as our inventory shrinks.
- Pending home sales are almost identical to last month. These are contracts that are through all of their conditions/contingencies and sitting ready to close. Traditionally this number is lower in November as we enter our slowest season of the year but this number also seems to support a stronger November 2010.
- The number of closed sales in the past two weeks were an impressive 90% higher than last months’ Lake Norman Hot Sheet. So far this month 44 closed sales have been reported to our MLS compared to 21 last month, 32 sales in September, 38 sales in August and 63 sales at the same time in June. My best guess is that we will close about 60- 65 single family home sales by the end of the month which would equal November 2009. The really good news is that in November of 2008 we closed only 46 home sales in Lake Norman so we are clearly going to beat that figure handily!
- Contingent and Conditional sales are up about 11% from last month. These represent the most recently accepted offers. It looks like our Lake Norman real estate market may continue to see a slight increase in sales compared to earlier this fall and fall/winter 2009.
As I wrote last month, my buyers, mostly out-of-state, are paying close attention to our current market trying to time their purchase. I still believe that this winter will be an excellent opportunity to jump off of the fence. While no one expects 2011 to be a banner year, most expect to see some sort of signs of stabilization of our national housing market. Most real estate pundits agree that the national housing market continues to show mixed signals and that:
“Each market will recover at its own rate. Pay less attention to all of the national market metrics but close attention to your local conditions. In the end, that is all that will truly matter…”