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.
Lake Norman’s 2013 real estate sales have been breaking records since January 1st. That said, it appears more likely at each passing month that our number of monthly home sales peaked in May and are now trending downward slightly each month. The numbers below further substantiate this although there is a slight uptick in new contracts. We currently have 217 single family homes under contract in all of Lake Norman which is a pretty significant drop from last month’s Hot Sheet number of 253, July’s 260, June’s 301 and May’s high of 330 but they are just about equal to our end of August number of 218. Are our sales leveling out rather than trending downward? Let’s take a look at a snapshot of the past two weeks’ activity:
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 6th – 20th). 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 August Hot Sheets for the past 4 years to help put our September 2013 numbers in perspective with past September’s, not just the past 6 months.
September Hot Sheet Numbers for the Past 5 Years
- New listings: Our number of new homes for sale in Lake Norman has remained stable while our total number of active listings remains just under 1000. If you add our new listings to the 20 back-on-market we had a total of 114 single family properties added to our Lake Norman housing inventory in the past two weeks which is 6% higher than last month’s but 21% more than our September 2012 Hot Sheet’s. At the same time 131 properties went under contract or sold for a net drop of 17 active listings in the past two weeks. As of today, the total number of active listings in Lake Norman stands at 998 (last month it was 995) up from our low of 690 on January 2, 2013 and slightly higher than last year at this time. Like last month, I am a bit concerned that we had more rather than less new listings when compared to prior Septembers. While buyers are anxious for new homes to come on the market, low inventory is an important part of Lake Norman’s housing recovery. Clearly, as sellers and Realtors gain optimism about our market they will be more likely to list new properties for sale. Higher inventory levels could jeopardize our recovery.
- The number of properties that came back-on-the-market dropped back down after spiking in August’s Hot Sheet. These are primarily cancelled purchase contracts. It is always good to see that so few contracts are failing to close. Are the higher interest rates and the prior looming threat of even higher interest rates a factor? Now that the Feds have decided not to decrease their purchase of bonds it will be interesting to see if mortgage interest rates will drop back down and if that will in turn impact our Lake Norman real estate market.
- The number of price changes was slightly lower that August’s Hot Sheet but about even with prior months. Now that our traditionally strongest selling season is over, we are likely to see more price reductions on properties that have been on the market for quite a while.
- Our “Under Contract but Continue to Show” properties, formally called Conditional and Contingent sales in our MLS, is one of the highlights of this month’s Hot Sheet. After several months of decline it appears our market has picked up in the last few weeks.
- Under Contract No Show/Pending sales were quite a bit lower than most months in 2013 and were even a bit low compared to all prior Septembers. This indicates that our closed sales might be lower this month and October and then begin to pick back up slightly based upon our “Under Contract Show” numbers. (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 in October.)
- 60 closed sales were reported in the past two weeks. While up from last month, this is lower than June’s and July’s of this year. This was by far the highest number of closed sales on our September Hot Sheet reports since I started keeping these records. So far this month we have had 60 recorded single family home sales in our Lake Norman communities. While I feel confident that we will at least match and probably exceed last September’s 92 closed sales, our September 2013 sales will definitely not equal or exceed the past three months’s sales numbers. This further substantiates my feeling that our Lake Norman real estate home sales peaked in May for the year but will remain relatively strong and will most likely continue to out perform 2012 for the rest of the year.
So, what am I experiencing right now? It really depends on where and what price range. Homes up to $500,000 that are in good condition in good locations/neighborhoods are selling very fast. I have multiple buyers looking in popular Mooresville and Huntersville neighborhoods that are having to jump on good properties as soon as they are listed. Good homes on good lots in good locations are truly HOT! However, some price ranges and areas around Lake Norman are only moderately busy. Not all properties and locations are created equal. Good to perfect properties are selling quickly and older homes or homes that need work are taking longer to sell. Hint to buyers, there are some great opportunities if you broaden your search to look at older homes or homes that need a bit of work. As always, The dynamics of our current Lake Norman housing market are complex and challenging despite strong sales.
I continue to encourage my buyers to buy if they find a good home at a good price, especially waterfront homes and lots or homes in the most popular neighborhoods. (Location, location, location). While I don’t anticipate prices going up significantly in Lake Norman in 2013, I also don’t see nor expect to see that many truly exceptional bargains. (Less than 4% of our inventory are distressed properties: foreclosures and shortsales). A year ago I sold several waterfront “teardowns” in the $300,000’s but those are simply gone. Waterfront lots/teardowns with good water in Mooresville are now priced in the mid $400,000’s and up. Prices in general are still historically low but with the recent jump in interest rates real estate had become slightly less affordable. Now that the Feds have decided not to decrease their buying of bonds, most economists are predicting that mortgage rates will come back down. In my opinion, 2013 represents a great opportunity for potential Lake Norman home buyers. It is impossible to predict specifics for the rest of 2013 but all signs point to continued improvement in the national and local Lake Norman housing markets.
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