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 last four 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, 117 sales for June, 115 for July and 118 for August which are the 4 highest months’ sales since August of 2007! It appears from our numbers below that September will also be a very strong month of housing sales for Lake Norman but there are some signs of a typical seasonal slowdown. Will we match last month’s highs? 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. (September 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 September Hot Sheets for the past 3 years to help put our September 2012 numbers in perspective with the past Septembers’, not just the past 6 months:
September Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 4 Years
- New listings: Our number of new listings were actually up slightly when compared to last month but lower than all prior months this year and two of the past three Septembers’. If you add our new listings to the 13 back-on-market we had a total of 94 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks compared to last September’s 91, 120 in September 2010 and 162 in September 2009. As of this morning the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stood at 901; above our all time low of 752 in January but still low historically and trending back down after a high of 985 this summer. The reason these low numbers are such 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.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market, most likely due to cancelled contracts, were quite low compared to 2012 and our past 3 Septembers’. 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 significantly lower than prior Septembers’. 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 to price stabilization or 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 wack.
- Pending home sales (Now called “Under Contract No Showings or UCNS” by our MLS) dropped compared to previous Septembers’. 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 October. 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 impressive when you consider that we are now in our traditional fall seasonal slow down. Not only were they the second highest in 2012 but also the strongest September since I started keeping these records in 2009. When all of our numbers were in we actually recorded 118 closed home sales in Lake Norman last month, 115 in July, 119 in June and 120 in May which, as I said above, make these the highest months’ sales since August 2007. Considering all of these numbers, my best guess is that we will close close to 100 single family home sales again this month compared to 78 last September. The dip in new contracts indicates a potential future slowdown but this is typical for fall in Lake Norman.
- Unlike last month, our “Under Contract but Continue to Show” properties, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS picked up slightly but are not terribly strong historically. As the very most recent properties to go under contract, this may be an indication that our Lake Norman housing market is beginning to slow down after 9 very strong months in 2012.
This month our closed sales remain strong while our Pending/Under Contract Show AND No Showings when combined seem to indicate a slowdown in the fall months to come. Just as I wrote last month:
Overall, these numbers are very encouraging. If inventory remains low, and our sales are at least steady each month it would indicate that our Lake Norman housing market has hit bottom. Our current number of months of supply of active listings stands at about 7.7 months using our 118 closed sales in August. With a balanced real estate market goal of 6-8 months, Lake Norman has dipped into this territory for the first time since the recession hit!. 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 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!
Learn More About Life in Lake Norman: