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.
The past five months pretty much blew our Lake Norman sales trends right out of the water. As of today the MLS has a total of 120 closed sales for May, 119 sales for June, 115 for July, 120 for August and 90 for September of which 4 of the 5 are the highest months’ sales since August of 2007! While the best September since 2007, last month we did begin to see a marked slowdown in our Lake Norman housing market. It appears from our numbers below that October is a continuation of this slowdown which may be a bit more than just the typical Lake Norman seasonal slowdown. Will we, for the 10th 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. (October 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 October Hot Sheets for the past 3 years to help put our October 2012 numbers in perspective with the past Octobers’, not just the past 6 months:
October Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 4 Years
- New listings: Our number of new listings is the lowest since winter and the second lowest October in the past 4 years. If you add our new listings to the 11 back-on-market we had a total of 81 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks compared to last October’s 86, 102 in October 2010 and 138 in October 2009. As of this morning the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stood at 872; above our all time low of 752 in January 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, were the lowest this year and significantly lower when compared to our past 3 Octobers’. Are buyers becoming more committed due to the lack of inventory? 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 are relatively low for 2012 but were actually higher than last October although well below the prior two Octobers. Lower inventory clearly has 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 lower than the 3 previous Octobers’ and one of the lowest in all of 2012. 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 November. 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 quite a bit lower than all of 2012 to date and even less than October of 2011. It is pretty clear that this October will not be a stellar month and may actually be the first month this year when our Lake Norman home sales are less than the same month in 2011. My best guess is that we will only close about 75-85 single family home sales this month compared to 88 last October.
- Our “Under Contract but Continue to Show” properties, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS are the lowest this year but the highest October since 2009. As the very most recent properties to go under contract, this may be an indication that our Lake Norman housing market, while not as strong as the first three quarters of 2012, is still stable and will end the year on a relatively strong note.
So, what am I experiencing right now? Inventory is low and as I said above and most of the current homes 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 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, 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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