Every year, we see real estate signs popping up along with the daffodils in the springtime, and this year has been no exception. We’ve had a steady increase in real estate listings since March, and are entering summer with a strong market. The number of homes listed on the market usually peaks April through June, and home closings follow suit May – August. Living in a mild climate, we do have real estate activity year round, but spring and summer definitely dominate the market.
In the popular Clover school district (encompassing Lake Wylie, Clover and York addresses near the lake), first quarter home sales were up 13% in comparison to last year, and up a whopping 70% in comparison to two years ago.
However, home inventory (houses listed for sale on the MLS) are actually down significantly. This tightening of the market begins to swing the pendulum from the “buyer” side over to the “seller” side. Indeed, recent stats show the average sales price at about 98% of listing price. Average time on market has fallen from 142 days a year ago to just 88 days, an improvement of almost two months.
Waterfront sales on Lake Wylie continue to improve as well. We had a strong first quarter, with robust increases in both waterfront homes and land sales. Many sales happened rather quickly. Almost a third of homes that went under contract in the first quarter had been on the market for less than a month.
Lake homes generally spend more time on the market than non-waterfront homes. Last year, in the greater Lake Wylie area, non-waterfront homes averaged about 3 months on the market, while waterfront homes averaged almost 6 months. Waterfront buyers generally spend more time looking at properties, and part of that time is simply gaining an understanding of what can be purchased at different price points.
Several factors contribute to pricing for waterfront property. Location, of course, is important, with strong school districts and nearby amenities playing a key role. Location on the lake is also important. Main channel views and big open views command a premium price. Many buyers prefer the quieter coves, but choices are often driven by financial considerations as well.
Looking under $400,000, most of what is available are lake cabins and smaller homes in need of repair. We’ve seen cabin sales pick up significantly in the past couple of years, a positive economic sign as buyers are feeling secure in the purchase of vacation and second home property.
Many of these cabins are on highly desirable lots, and buyers may eventually replace the cabins with permanent homes. Also, buyers not afraid of extensive renovation projects can find properties at these lower price points. The first surge of permanent housing development on Lake Wylie was in the 1970s, and popular television shows such as “Flip or Flop,” “Property Brothers,” and “Fixer Upper,” have inspired buyers to consider some of these older homes with updating potential.
From $400,000-$600,000, two types of lakefront property dominate. Either the lot has qualities such as level topography, a nice view and a desirable location, but a smaller house (under 2,500 square feet) that may needs significant work, or the house is move-in ready and the lot has some challenges.
At this price point, buyers have to reconcile their priorities.
A larger, newer home (under 15-20 years old and 3,000-3,500 square feet) in this price range will generally be located on a cove lot without a big view. A home with a big view in this price range will generally be smaller, older or need some updating and repairs. Still, this is a very popular price point on Lake Wylie and inventory runs very tight. There was a flurry of activity in this price range in late first quarter, with several properties going under contract.
Homes in the $600,000-$800,000 category average around 3,800 square feet, and generally offer higher finish levels and move-in ready condition. The age of lake homes is much higher on average than off-the-lake, so while many of these homes may be more than 20 years old, at this price range, most have been extensively renovated. This segment of the market is currently one of the most active and one of the fastest-selling.
Homes in the $800,000-$1 million segment tend to be newer (less than 15 years old), larger (average 4,500 square feet) and are located in the more popular areas on the lake. Inventory is plentiful at the higher price points, so buyers have more choices.
Homes at this price range are usually move-in-ready and usually have nice docks and outdoor living areas. In this category of homes, the “extras” such as swimming pools, big views, built-in grills and outdoor fireplaces make the difference.
Luxury homes over $1 million have been increasing in sales the past couple of years to 6-8 homes per year. Most of these homes are in excess of 5,000 square feet, offer big views, and are in easily-accessible neighborhood settings with similar properties nearby.
However, the inventory of homes listed runs about three to five times the number of sales, so average time on market for the $1 million plus home can be a few years. However, new listings in this price category sometimes sell very quickly, as buyers have been waiting for a home of this caliber in a particular neighborhood, or with particular features not found in those currently on the market.
Continued development, economic vitality and the beautiful resources in our area bring prosperity and growth to our area. It is an exciting time to live in Lake Wylie!