The real estate market at Lake Gaston went through many changes in 2023 as did most of the country. The first half of the year, we experienced multiple offers and waterfront homes selling for more than the asking price. The second half of the year, with rising interest rates, we saw buyer activity slow. Increasing home prices and the rise in interest rates saw some buyers priced out of the second home market. We are still in a seller’s market with buyers waiting for new listings, priced at market value and in good condition to become available.
At year-end Lake Gaston Realtors saw 175 waterfront home transactions close, averaging $889,313 each. Totaling $155,629,827 or a decrease of 7.18 percent in dollar sales over 2022 sales. The average selling price was 98.1 percent of the asking price in 2023. In 2022 it was 99.6 percent. Unit sales of waterfront homes were down 15.05 percent from 2022. Resulting from the lack of inventory and rising interest rates. Offshore homes showed a decrease in dollar sales of 27.2 percent over 2022 sales with 104 closed, averaging $221,146 each, totaling $22,365,549. Dollar sales of waterfront lots increased 35.69 percent in 2023. There were 75 sold in 2022 and 77 sold in 2023. Last year’s average selling price of $290,532 each totaled $20,049,750, Offshore lot sales decreased 25.37 percent from 2022 levels averaging $30,392 each. Firms all around the lake closed on 444 total transactions of homes and land (lots) in 2023. In 2022 that figure was 576. Total dollar figure in 2023 was $204,948,225. That is a decrease of 7.21 percent from 2022’s figure of $220,867,574. Sales numbers are from the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and do not include private sales.
The median sales price for waterfront homes in 2023 was $750,000, a 1.19 percent increase in sales price over 2022. The median price for offshore homes was $202,350, an increase of 2.72 percent in sales price over 2022. The median price of waterfront lots increased by 43.33 percent compared to 2022 levels.
The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® increased in November to 102.0, up from a revised 99.1 in October. The Expectations Index—based on consumers’ short-term outlook for income, business, and labor market conditions—rose to 77.8 in November, up from its revised reading of 72.7 in October.
“Consumer confidence increased in November, following three consecutive months of decline,” said Dana Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board. “This improvement reflected a recovery in the Expectations Index. Despite this month’s improvement, the Expectations Index remains below 80 for a third consecutive month—a level that historically signals a recession within the next year. While consumer fears of an impending recession abated slightly—to the lowest levels seen this year—around two-thirds of consumers surveyed in November still perceive a recession to be “somewhat” or “very likely” to occur over the next 12 months. This is consistent with the short and shallow recession we anticipate in the first half of 2024.”
The National Association of REALTORS® reports the Pending Home Sales Index in November were identical to October, staying at 71.6 in November. Year over year, pending transactions were down 5.2 percent. Existing home sales were up by 0.8 percent in November over October to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.82 million, finishing a five-month drop. Existing home sales were down 7.3 percent from one year ago.
"The latest weakness in existing home sales still reflects the buyer bidding process in most of October when mortgage rates were at a two-decade high before the actual closings in November," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "A marked turn can be expected as mortgage rates have plunged in recent weeks."
According to Freddie Mac, the 30-year fixed-rate mortgage, averaged 6.95% as of December 14, falling below 7% for the first time since August 10. That's down from 7.03% the previous week but up from 6.31% one year ago.
Mortgage interest rates remain high, 7.14 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage on a primary home and 7.625 percent for a secondary home. The Fed has also imposed a fee for second home mortgages of 1.25 to 4.0 percent of the loan amount. Interest rates fell slightly in the last half of December but inched back up the first week of January.
What are the Economist and Housing Experts saying? They tell us mortgage rates will decrease slightly. Available inventory will increase slowly, and home prices will rise by lower single digits in 2024. We may not experience any changes this year. Economic and housing data can turn on a dime. Change will come depending on when the Fed lowers interest rates and what the job numbers are.
Have you been thinking about selling your home? Buyers are calling and they want to see homes for sale in the Lake Gaston area. They want to see homes that are priced right and in good condition. The inventory shortage could result in a faster sale at a premium price. “Spruce up” your home and get it listed right away! You need to work with a full-time REALTOR®, who provides written data such as this and pricing your home correctly is essential.