Real Estate Update By David Coone
hen buyers call and tell me they want to look at waterfront property, many of them have little idea of the variety of properties that we have available on Lake Wylie, particularly when the buyers are
from out of town. Lakes around the country are vastly different and often buyer expectations are formed by their experiences on other lakes. Lake Wylie is unique as it spans two states, three counties and seven towns. Schools, tax rates and lake regulations vary in the different areas, which affect a buyer’s decision. Other con-
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www.LakeWylieToday.com | Fall 2012
siderations, including amenities (golf course, country club, gated access), lot size, neighborhood-versus-rural, commute time to Charlotte and budget, also play a role in the decision. Once we narrow down the parameters, we sometimes find that there are only a handful of properties that might match the buyer’s desires. Every house on the lake is different. Even in a waterfront community where home styles are similar, every lot has a unique view, water depth and shoreline. Buyers find that they have to prioritize their wish list, and evaluate what can be changed to fit their needs, and what cannot. Sometimes buyers who are set on buying a home realize that to get exactly what they want, they need to buy a waterfront lot and build. Waterfront home inventory is down about 25% from two years ago, and waterfront lot inventory is down about 21%. Part of the reduction is due to an increase in sales. Another part is due to “shadow inventory,” which represents the homes and land that have been taken off the market until conditions improve. Shadow inventory also includes foreclosures that haven’t hit the market, which can be a wild card in real estate forecasting. In terms of sales thus far in 2012, we’re seeing recovery with buyer confidence up, more qualified buyers coming to the table, and the foreclosure feeding frenzy beginning to fade. During the first half of 2012, waterfront home sales included just 14% distressed sales, compared to 25-35% in the past two years. Waterfront lot sales, however, continue to run about 50% foreclosures and short sales. As the home market inventory tightens up, we’ll generate more interest in lots when buyers are unable to find a house that suits them. The average price of home sales is on the rise this year compared to last year’s low. Last year we had a higher concentration of sales of smaller homes (under 2,000 square feet), with about 28% of sales compared to 13% this year. We’ve seen a decline in buyer interest in summer cabins, mainly because prices of “regular homes” on the water have dropped enough to make them more attractive than a second home. The decline in distressed sales has improved the average price point as well. Also, we’re seeing an improvement in activity in the $800,000+ category of homes. Signs of recovery are all around us, and that’s good for all of us in Lake Wylie. LW
Lifestyle magazine covering the Lake Wylie community.