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.
There is no doubt that 2012 has been a very strong year for Lake Norman real estate and home sales relative to all years since 2007. As of today the MLS has a total of 120 closed sales for May, 119 sales for June, 115 for July, 120 for August 92 for September and 92 for October; all 6 recording the highest months’ sales since 2007! While the best October since 2007, last month was the second month in a row where our sales failed to reach 100. While still relatively strong, we are seeing a typical seasonal slowdown in our Lake Norman housing market. November, while looking to be is a continuation of this slowdown, may be one of the strongest Novembers since 2005. Will we, for the 11th month in a row, beat the prior year’s sales for the month? Let’s take a look:
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. (November 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 November Hot Sheets for the past 3 years to help put our November 2012 numbers in perspective with the past Novembers’, not just the past 6 months. Unfortunatley, I don’t have 2009 numbers:
November Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 3 Years
- New listings: Our number of new listings remains fairly steady for the past few months and the prior Novembers in 2011 and 2010. If you add our new listings to the 14 back-on-market we had a total of 85 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks compared to last November’s 73 and November 2010’s 94 As of this morning the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stood at 818; above our all time low of 752 in January 2012 but still low historically and trending back down after a high of 985 this summer. While low inventory has helped to stabilize our market, I actually feel that it may be a contributing factor for our trending lower sales because there are so few new homes coming on our market for sale and the existing Lake Norman inventory has been “picked over” by home buyers over the summer.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, remains relatively low. This may be due to a number of factors including the fact that today’s buyers seem more committed due to low interest rates and the belief that our Lake Norman housing market has not only bottomed out but is improving while our inventory is shrinking. Buyers are still experiencing challenges with loan approvals and appraisals but over all properties that are under contract are significantly more likely to close today than in past years.
- The number of price changes decreased slightly from last month and were relatively low for all of 2012. They were also the lowest when compared to prior November’s. Lower inventory and higher sales clearly have had an impact on the number of price reductions but in general properties are selling more quickly as well. This should lead/has led to price stabilization or even increases if we haven’t seen these already. It is extremely difficult to determine our REAL average and median price trends here in Lake Norman because of our combination of waterfront, waterveiw, 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 the best since July of this year and higher than November 2011’s. 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 early December so it looks like our total homes sales in Lake Norman for November will be relatively strong and have a chance of beating even 2007 and 2006 numbers. 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 surprising strong when compared to last month and prior November’s which substantiates my prediction that we have a chance of meeting or exceeding even the 88 closed sales of November 2006 which would be a first since the downturn!
- Our “Under Contract but Continue to Show” properties, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS are the lowest this year and only slightly higher than last November’s. As the very most recent properties to go under contract, this may be an indication that our December/January home sales will trend lower.
So, what am I experiencing right now? Inventory is low as I said above and most of the single family homes currently on the market have been picked over by buyers. When good homes/properties come on the market they sell quickly, sometimes with multiple offers IF priced properly. Our lowest price ranges are very strong as are waterfront homes priced in the $1 million – $1,500,000 range. I just represented a buyer who was the winner of the 4 multiple offers on a gorgeous waterfront home priced at $1.1 million. It sold in less than a week! There are many well qualified buyers ready to buy who are having a hard time finding a good home to purchase. Unfortunately for buyers, there are far fewer distressed sales/bargains. Instead of finding their perfect waterfront home, more and more buyers are considering buying a “tear-down” on a good lot and building. New construction is slowly returning to our Lake Norman communities. I personally have 4 clients who are planning to build waterfront homes after purchasing lots with good water that had small structures on them; some liveable and some torn down.
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 measurably in Lake Norman this year, I also don’t 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, the end of 2012 and early 2013 represents a great opportunity for potential Lake Norman home buyers. It is impossible to predict 2013 but all signs point to continued improvement in the national and local Lake Norman housing market.
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