Lake Norman waterfront homes, Relocating? Life in Lake Norman

Lake Norman Real Estate: What kind of boat is this?

Helicoper on Lake Norman

 On our way to Cornelius one day in our trusty pontoon boat I happened to notice this peculiar looking boat!  Because Lake Norman is so large we have myriad types and sizes of boats from modest fishing dingys to jet skis to Cigarette boats.  Continue reading

Lake Norman Real Estate Market Reports

Lake Norman Real Estate’s August 2009 Homes Sales

If you have been following the national real estate news about pending sales being on an upward trend as well as closed home sales in some states, you might have an overall sense that we have hit bottom and are slowly but consistently improving.  But, we need to keep in mind that we always have a seasonal increase in sales monthly from April through July.  Locally our August numbers took a significant dip.  It will be very interesting to see the national housing numbers for August when they are released.

I have been working with a lot of Lake Norman buyers and I can tell you from first hand experience that most sellers in the Lake Norman area are struggling, prices are dropping and there are some really good bargains in every price level.  It truly is a painful market right now and a challenging one for both buyers and sellers due to the difficulties with appraisals and loans and the drop in prices.

  Lake Norman’s August housing statistics

Lake Norman August 2009 Sales Analysis

  • Active Listings continue to decline which is very good news.  Note the average price of our active listings when compared to those that are under contract.

  • Contingent Sales  also remain about flat for the past few months.  These are the homes that are sold but they are contingent upon the buyer selling their home…very weak contracts that could go on indefinitely

  • Conditional Sales are actually slightly above the 48 in July.

  • Pending Sales are equal to July’s 90 pending sales which indicates to me that our  September numbers may mirror August’s.

  • The number of Closed Sales  dropped 18% compared to July 2008.  The average sales price declined 14% and the average days on market increased 30%.  In my opinion, these are critical numbers as they best tell the story of our Lake Norman housing market.  My guess is that our sales peaked last month (July) for 2009 and will now level off.

 5-Year Comparison of Lake Norman Home Sales By Month

February 40501059888
March 5571151153136
May 6690152182157

* Please note that all of my numbers come from the Charlotte Region Multiple Listing Service and will not include sales that took place outside of our MLS.

**I have made an adjustment of  the totals reflecting the ACTUAL sales  every month in 2009 and the totals in the prior calendar year.


While preparing this report I decided to look at the details of the properties that sold in July and August.  I discovered a major flaw in the MLS data program:

  • The normal MLS search for properties that have sold by date actually include the properties based upon when the listing agent entered the sold data into the MLS, NOT when the property actually sold!
  • I went back and discovered that there are a significant number of home sales that are entered several days or more into the next month so the monthly sales numbers are inaccurate.
  • I spoke to the data person at the Charlotte MLS and he said this is the way that the entire MLS reporting is done but that if I want to know the number of ACTUAL sales in any give month I must do a custom search (which I have since done).  So, be forwarned that the public numbers quoted for Charlotte but our MLS will use the flawed method.  I do not know how the national numbers are calculated.

I have since gone back and corrected every month in 2009 to reflect the actual sales that closed in that month.

To give you an example of how bad those prior numbers were, in today’s report our August sales would be 79 rather than 62.  There are 22 sales in the August 2009 search that actually closed in July and 5 sales that are included in September when they actually closed in August for a net error of 17!


Clearly our Lake Norman home sales peaked last year in the month of July and I would predict that they also peaked this year in July. August sales dropped 31% versus last month. Right now, with 62 sales and 1498 active listing we have 24 months of inventory of Lake Norman homes compared to a balanced market of 6-8 months of supply.  The average sales price declined 14% compared to August 2008.

Inventory is coming  down as are prices so the Lake Norman housing market is moving in the right direction to hit bottom.  We must get our inventory down which means getting our prices down to a point where buyers feel confident to buy.

We are still clearly in a buyers’ market.  I think the advantage will be with buyers through the end of the year but then we may see a shift in the mindset of both buyers and sellers as we enter spring 2010.  If the momentum changes, buyers will start to buy fearing they are missing the bottom and they may be right!


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Lake Norman Real Estate’s 1st Quarter 2009 Sales Analysis


 The news regarding the US housing market has lately seen some positive mixed in with negatives:

  • Sales activity has improved in some areas around the country, due in part by the number of foreclosures.
  • The National Association of REALTORS is projecting a 1% rise in 2009 home sales.
  • By 2010 NAR expects the median price of resale homes to rise 4.1% and sales to increase by 5.8%
  • The just released S&P/Case Shiller Home Price Indices through January 2009 “shows continued broad based declines in the prices of existing single family homes across the US.”  They say prices are back to 2003 levels in many areas of the country.

With so much information gathered by using a variety of sources of information, it can be difficult to know exactly how this news pertains to our local Lake Norman housing market.

Using the data from the Charlotte Regional Multiple Listing Service for the Lake Norman area (13 1-5) as I do every quarter, I have provided you with an overall summary of the 1st quarter of 2009 as well as a detailed breakdown by price range:



  • Active Listings have stabilized compared to last year but are still too high!
  • Contingent Sales are just down slightly
  • Conditional Sales are up 30%!
  • Pending sales dropped 43% versus 2008
  • The number of Lake Norman homes that sold in the first three months of 2009 dropped 44% versus 2008
  • Because our sales volume dropped substantially but our inventory is about the same, the number of months of supply of active listings we have in Lake Norman is up to a whopping 41.8.  If you keep in mind that a balanced market is about 6-8 months of supply we in fact have 7 times the number of homes on the market than we should have given our drop in sales volume.

Lake Norman 1st Quarter Market Report by Price Range

 To read this chart, choose any price range and first note the number of sales compared to the active listings and then look at the % of the total number of listing and sales this price range represents to get an idea of where the strengths and weaknesses are in Lake Norman.

Example #1: The $200,000 – $299,999 price range represents 25.23% of our entire Lake Norman home sales and yet is only 11.83 % of our listings.  This is a very strong price range although with 175 active listings and only 28 sales which is an 18.8 months of supply of active listings there are still about 3 times the number of listings for a balanced market.

Example #2: The $1,000,000 – $1,249,999 price range represents 5.4% of our sales yet only 4.14% of our inventory.  Despite the low sales number and high inventory, this is our hottest price range of home sales above $400,000.

If you are a buyer, look at your price ranges to learn how much inventory there is versus the the number of sales.  This insight will help you better understand the Lake Norman real estate market in your price range and assist you when determining how to write up an offer.

If you are a seller on the cusp of two price ranges, let’s say between the high $300,000s or the low $400,000s you would be well advised to list in the $300,000s where there is slightly less inventory and almost double the number of sales.

It is interesting to note that 61.27% of our Lake Norman homes sales in the first quarter 2009 were under $400,000 and 81.1% under $600,000.  With our conforming loan limits at $417,000, it is clear that those that can get the great interest rates are buying while the difficult jumbo loans have had a negative impact on our higher end homes.

Finally, here is the 5-year comparison by month.  As you can see, March sales were down -41% versus March 2008 and -330% versus March 2007.

5-Year Comparison of Lake Norman Home Sales By Month


* Please note that all of my numbers come from the Charlotte Region Multiple Listing Service and will not include sales that took place outside of our MLS.

**While my totals on this chart for 2008 sales is 870, when I search on our MLS for the entire year they give me a slightly higher number of 916 so I will use that as our official number for the sake of this analysis.

I hope these charts provide you with the knowledge you need whether buying or selling here in Lake Norman.  If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact me!