Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Continued Mid-Summer Activity Points to Solid 2nd Half

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Davidson housing market

Active Late Spring Produces Solid Summer in Davidson
After lagging much of the lake area in early spring, Davidson's housing market saw a solid flurry of activity in June and July. As we forecast in late May, showing activity had picked up, and we anticipated that the summer would see a return to active conditions in the area. The area recently saw its first million dollar home go under contract for the year, a 1.3 million dollar Karl Plattner built home, under contract jointly by I.J.'s Juile Pfeffer and Emily Duke.

Sold activity during the summer has improved, with 13 homes in the 500-999k range closing through mid-August, after seeing only 7 sell in the January to May period. This total, coupled with the 11 homes currently pending, should bring Davidson back in line with last year's solid totals in the luxury price range.

Inventory continues to remain low, actually showing a decrease from 76 to 64 units from May to August, a result of improved sold and contractual activity. Solds in River Run lag last year, but have closed the gap as well in recent months with 4 more pending sales currently.   

Showings in Davidson have trended upward and above last summer over the past 60 days, with the average luxury home seeing at least 1 showing per week in the 500-999k range, while the range over 1 million has been sporadic with the exception of the pending contract mentioned above.     

Price       Actives     Pending      Shows/house   Sold Summer 2012      Sold '11

500-999k       53        10                4/month            13                           12 
1m +             11          1             1 per 60 days        0                              0

            Davidson Wood                      Green Built Village Area             Updated Davidson

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North Iredell

North Iredell Sees First Deals Above 1Million, Range Below Off Slightly

The North Iredell area saw its first two deals in the million dollar plus category this summer, including a near 2 million dollar transaction in Bay Crossing, One of the higher priced home deals on Lake Norman the first half of the year. Sold results in the sub-one million dollar range lagged other areas of the lake as well as last year's sold totals during the summer in this area, as lowered availability of distressed property resulted in less activity. Last summer, this area was coming off an active period in which several of the remaining builder distressed homes from the recession were being sold off.

Inventory in this area nudged upward to 43 listed homes from 37 in the spring, a result of less contractual activity. Showings have also been a bit less active than last summer, with the average home being shown just over twice a month.       

Price       Actives    Pending      Shows/House    Sold Summer 2012     Sold '11   
500k-999k    37         3                   2.5/month             6    ;                   10
1m+             6          0                      1/month0     & nbsp;      2                      

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Lake Norman Waterfront lots

Waterfront Lot Sales Trend Upward, As Lower Housing Inventory and Improved Economic Conditions Tempt People To Build

While Lake Norman is still a long way from the days of people scouring for waterfront lots and paying sums well in excess of one million dollars for lots, the segment is once again showing signs of life. While there remain some 251 active waterfront lots on Lake Norman, 17 lots have sold on the water since May 1, and there are another 17 under contract to close this quarter. Ivester Jackson recentlly had multiple offers on a lot in Bay Crossing, and currently has a premier lot off upper Jetton Road in Cornelius under contract as well, which is listed at 995k. The improved lot activity has dominoed to local builders, many of whom are reporting upticks in activity.

Active WF Lots        Pendings            Sold Since May 1
251                        17                        17

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Activity in The Point

Strong Spring Yields To Slightly Slower Summer at The Point In Some Ranges

Following an extremely active Spring period, activity in The Point trended slightly lower in the June to mid-August window. Early spring had seen pending contracts trend as high as 17 or more homes under contract at one point, with that number now standing at 10 homes under contract. The bulk of that drop coming in the 1-1.5m range, which had been very solid all spring. Pendings edged up slightly in the 500-999k range, while the 2m plus price point saw its first pending contract this summer in several quarters. The range below 1.5 dropped from 9 pendings in May, to 4 mid-August, with solds in that range also trailing last summer.   

Renovations have now begun on the clubhouse at the newly purchased Trump National Golf Club, the completion of which should likely lift interest in the area. Inventory levels remain at very healthy levels relative to past years, with just 48 homes listed above 500k and a slight downturn for 60-75 days can quickly reverse itself, as this quarter in Davidson shows.

Showing activity remains solid in the range under 1 million, while trending lower in the million plus category. The Point was extremely active the first 4 months of the year, and has since seen showing activity cool slightly, trending lower in the range above 1 million compared to both the spring and this time last summer.

Price Range     Actives     Pendings    Shows/house  Sold Summer '12   Sold  '11

500k-999k         21           5               3.25/month        3                  4
1m-2m             17           4                  2/month                           7
2m plus            9             1                  2/month        0                   0

See these Point area homes and others at
              Whaling Ln WF                    Longfellow Estate                   Yacht Rd WF W/Pool

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Strong Activity Across Lake Norman Spurs Sales Increase

Continued Mid-Summer Activity Points to Solid 2nd Half 
Surging activity from the first half of 2012 has extended into the third quarter, with historically low rates, attractively discounted home prices, and slowly improving economic news all combining to spur homebuyers into the market. The MLS index of pending luxury transactions has spent much of the year ahead of last year's pace, and there are currently 89 homes under contract around the Lake Norman and Davidson areas listed over 500,000. In most areas and price segments, home sales are running slightly to well ahead of 2011, with just a few exceptions. The chart to the left indicates that total homes sold for the year in the Lake Norman and Davidson MLS areas in the luxury price points are running 33% ahead of 2011 through mid-August (280 units vs 211).

Great values on the west and north shores of Lake Norman are grabbing solid shares of the luxury market for the first time in several years, and both The Point and The Peninsula are running ahead of last year's pace in unit sales albeit showing some slowing this summer. Overall showing activity on homes has also in most cases remained ahead of last year's pace, a leading indicator that points to continued solid transaction activity through the fall, something we did not see in 2011.    

While distressed inventory continues to hit the market, its being absorbed at an improved pace, leaving the index of distressed luxury homes at 29 units, out of the some 485 luxury homes for sale in the Lake Norman and Davidson areas. This dramatic reduction in foreclosures, short sales, and relo homes, is one of the key factors in the area experiencing some pricing stability. In many areas and price segments, we're starting to see some improvement in sold prices per square foot over last year. For all the talk of foreclosure waves, we just haven't seen one, nor have we seen a large spike in defaults in our area which might signal a problem.
Inventory levels in many of the area's more popular communities also remain at low levels, with both The Point and The Peninsula reporting total on market inventory in the 45-50 unit range. Total luxury inventory in our region peaked at near 1000 units on the market in '09, and currently stands at a fairly healthy 485 total units, with 30-40 being absorbed per month. As we've said before, lower inventory plus low distressed availability equals pricing stability and upward movement.      

The ultra-lux price range above 2 million has continued to lag the balance of our covered areas and price points. At this stage last year, the area had seen 10 transactions over 2 million, this year we went into August with 5, although 4 homes recently went pending including 2 in Cornelius (one over 4 million), 1 in The Point, and another home on the water at Avalon in Sherrills Ford listed at 2.75m.

New to this report is our analysis of what's bubbling in the upper price ranges in Huntersville, as well as a breakdown of the waterfront lot/raw land segment, which is finally showing some signs of life after 3 years of inactivity.

Finally, we've added a new metric to our stable of leading indicators, we're now able to track curbside, sign call, and print ad inquiries by area code and frequency. Why might this number be important? Its telling us whether or not more people are out looking, usually well in advance of them actually turning up as a showing at a home, its also telling us how out of state traffic is trending, and right now, that's been one of the solid indicators that the second half of the year looks to be active. Our total inquiries surged over 20% from May to July, an indicator that there remain a lot of people browsing for homes. We're also encouraged that well over 50% of this inquiry traffic is coming from out of state visitors looking to move to our region.

Our firm is very focused on having the pulse of the market's momentum. Its critical to understand momentum and its impact on negotiating tactics, setting prices, properly anticipating whether activity is improving or declining, etc. Our momentum indicators which include showing activity statistics, online activity, and now drive by/marketing response activity, really help us anticipate coming market conditions in each community and price point, which sometimes can vary significantly. We're typically able to project that if those areas are trending up, so will contracts and thus sold units.     

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