Well the results are in and the Lake Norman Real Estate market is looking up!
On the nation wide scene the annual rate of building permits is up 17.5 percent with over 974,700 homes built as compared with 829,770 in 2012. The overall economy is moving in the right direction as well, with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) up just 1.5 percent annually and the Producer Price Index was up just 1.4 percent over 2012 making it the smallest gain in over 5 years. The lack of inflation will allow the Fed more room to maneuver to help the economy as things continue to improve. In housing, “existing home sales have risen nearly 20% since 2011, with job growth, low mortgage interest rates and a large pent-up demand driving the market, “said NAR cheif economist Lawrence Yun. Mean while, The Conference Board reported last week that its Leading Economic Indicators (LEI) index, a compendium of various key economic metrics, such as employment, real estate, stock market and manufacturing, grew 0.1 percent in December to hit 99.4 (a baseline of 100 was set in 2004)
Here in North Carolina the picture is improving at an even a faster clip, the Center for a Better South reports that we are 4th best in the US for business and 11th in economic growth. The unemployment rate has taken a sharp move downward tack in 2013 dropping from 8.8 percent in June to 7.4 by November! The Observer noted that due to our diverse economy in the Charlotte area we are doing much better than the state as a whole.
The real estate market in the Charlotte area has made a dramatic turn in 2013. According the Charlotte Board of Realtors statistics, buyers closed a whopping 24.6 percent more homes in 2013 than in 2012, finishing at 34,468 for the year! That count is starting to flirt with 2007 levels. Not only was there more demand in 2013, but the product mix of those additional sales also skewed toward higher-priced traditional homes. In 2014, watch for buyers who endured foreclosure become ready to purchase again and also watch for signs of life among move-up buyers and in the upper echelons.
More good news on the local real estate front comes from listings. At 13,918, inventory levels fell throughout the year, finishing 7.5 percent below 2012’s final tally. Sellers regained a lot of ground in 2013, listing 52,052 properties or 12.2 percent more than 2012. We closed 2013 with a 7.5 percent median price increase. In many areas, prices have already retraced most of their decline. Watch for move-up buyers, more sellers activity to meet buyer demands, less foreclosure activity and new construction to have an impact on prices in 2014.