By: Barney Watson – Owner / Broker-In-Charge / REALTOR® - RE/MAX On The Lake

Spring has finally sprung, and Lake Gaston Realtors® are ready for a great selling season! After a crazy winter with up and down temperatures and gray skies, spring brings us sunshine and flowers. It brings opportunities too! The buying season is here, and local Realtors are busy. Showings to possible buyers have increased and inventory levels, in some price ranges, are low. If you are ready to sell, now is the perfect time to get your property listed!

In the first three months of 2018 our total closed sales, land and homes have totaled $18,243,890, down from $24,820,930 the same three months of 2017 or a decrease of 26.5%.  Closed sales on waterfront homes are down 37.4% in dollar sales in the first three months of 2018 over the same period last year. We have closed on 28 this year compared to 43 last year.  Offshore homes sales in dollars have also declined 27.44% this year compared to last with 15 sold this year. Waterfront lot sales in dollars are down 42.24% from last year. Note; closed sales are down because of the lack of inventory in the popular price ranges, not so perfect weather and having a banner sales year in 2017. All sales numbers are from the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS® MLS and do not reflect private sales.

Showings to possible buyers remains steady despite lack of inventory, serious buyers are waiting for the right property to become available.  Serious buyers do not want to spend their time looking at overpriced homes and fixer-uppers. According to NAR, year-over-year housing supply dropped another 8.1% in February of this year, was down 6% in February 2017 and down 4% in February 2016. In the lake area we are seeing a few new listings become available but not enough to keep up with buyer demand in some price ranges.

The Consumer Confidence Index decreased in March, following an increase in February. The Index now stands at 127.7, down from 130.0 in February. “Consumer confidence declined moderately in March after reaching an 18-year high in February,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions declined slightly, with business conditions the primary reason for the moderation. Consumers’ short-term expectations also declined, including their outlook for the stock market, but overall expectations remain quite favorable. Despite the modest retreat in confidence, index levels remain historically high and suggest further strong growth in the months ahead.”

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports Existing Home Sales were up in 3% in February over January.  NAR sites a healthy US economy and strong labor market for the increase in homes sale in 2018. Pending Homes Sales, contracts signed on property but not yet closed, were also up 3.1% in February. NAR also indicates the recent rise in interest rates may hinder the growth in sales over the next few months.

Today, a local lender is quoting 4.125% interest on a 30-year mortgage and 3.625% on a 15-year. In our market, I do not think a slight uptick in interest rates will hurt second-home sales.

We are optimistic 2018 will turn out to be another good year for the real estate market here at Lake Gaston.

Barney Watson is an owner and Broker-in-Charge at RE/MAX On The Lake, 2105 Eaton Ferry Rd, Littleton NC 27850. He is the State Director for the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS®. His cell: 252-532-3274 and web:



Lake Gaston Real Estate Market Year End 2017 Update by: RE/MAX On The Lake Barney Watson


Last year is in the history books, ending a busy year for the real estate market in the Lake Gaston area.  In 2017 we closed 257 waterfront home transactions, average of $431,262 each totaling $110,834,365 or an increase of 23.23% over 2016 sales just in waterfront homes.  Offshore homes showed a steady increase of 12.51over 2016 sales with 122 closed, averaging $115,597 each totaling $13,653,628. Waterfront lot sales showed an improvement with 61 sold, averaging $138,298 each totaling $8,436,200.  Offshore lots sales also improved with an increase of 28.37% from 2016 levels averaging $20,041 each.  Total homes and land (lots) all firms all around the lake closed 480 transactions totaling $133,940,143, an increase of 21.66% above the same period in 2016.   

Sales numbers are from the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and do not include private sales. 

What is the 2018 economic forecast, good question. The economy is improving, Americans ended 2017 feeling good about the future. Consumer confidence is up, fueled by the job market, the stock market, an increase in corporate earnings and the new tax lawsConsumers are starting to spend againHowever; the supply of available homes is a drawback for real estate sales.  Home inventory supply is not keeping up with demand across the United States. Our local market is seeing a slight increase in sales prices as a result.  

A recent article by predicts in 2018 housing supply will increase which will slow the price appreciation seen in 2017.  They also predict mortgage interest rates will rise. 

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index® decreased in December, following a modest improvement in November.  “Consumer confidence retreated in December after reaching a 17-year high in November,” said Lynn Franco, Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “The decline in confidence was fueled by a somewhat less optimistic outlook for business and job prospects in the coming months. Consumers’ assessment of current conditions, however, improved moderately. Despite the decline in confidence, consumers’ expectations remain at historically strong levels, suggesting economic growth will continue well into 2018.” 

National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports pending home sales, contracts signed, but not yet closed, were up slightly in December.  NAR also forecast Existing Home Sales in 2017 to come in at an increase of 1.7% over 2016 numbers with sales prices up 5.8%.  The prices increase is more then double the average wage growth.  Nationally, the current housing supply of 3.4 months is the lowest on record since NAR began tracking in 1999.  

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says contract signings mustered a small gain in November and were up annually for the first time since June. “The housing market is closing the year on a stronger note than earlier this summer, backed by solid job creation and an economy that has kicked into a higher gear,” he said. “However, new buyers coming into the market are finding out quickly that their options are limited, and competition is robust. Realtors® say many would-be buyers from earlier this year, stifled by tight supply and higher prices, are still trying to buy a home.”  

Interest remain at historically low levels, 3.75% for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and 3.125% for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage. 

How will the new tax laws affect our real estate market?  The best part of the new tax law is more workers should see an increase in their wages because of tax decreases.  I do not think the decrease in mortgage interest deduction will make a difference in the Lake Gaston real estate market. In higher-end real estate markets such as New York, Florida, New Jersey, it probably will.  I think the increase in the standard deduction will also be good. 

We feel optimistic about the growth around the lake and our real estate market going forward. 

Have you been thinking about selling your home? There are potential buyers looking for waterfront homes, priced right and in good condition.  Don’t miss a great time to sell. “Spruce up” your home and get it listed right away!  Always, consult a full-time REALTOR who can supply you with written data about the true value of your home.   

Barney Watson is Owner/Partner and Broker-in-Charge for RE/MAX On The Lake and he is 2018 State Director for the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS® His cell is 252-532-3274 and website is 


Barney Watson Name RVLG REALTOR OF The Year 2017

RVLG Realtor of the Year 2017 REMAX Barney Watson

Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS® Installation Banquet and Christmas party was a huge success with record turnout.  The 2017 RVLG REALTOR® of the Year award went to Barney Watson. Barney is an Owner / Partner and Broker-in-charge with RE/MAX On The Lake, here on Lake Gaston. Barney has represented the local Board of REALTORS® in many positions including Director, Secretary and Treasurer, Vice President and President.  He currently serves as our State Association Director.  He also serves the Lake Gaston community as a member of the Warren County Planning Board, member of Lake Gaston Stakeholders Board and active member in the Lake Gaston Association.

Barney has earned several designations from the National Association of REALTORS® which enables him to better serve his clients in buying and selling property. He has consistently been one of the top producing real estate agents in the lake area.  Barney received the RE/Max Hall of Fame Award in 2013. This prestigious award honors successful agents as a lifetime achievement award during their career with RE/MAX. 

Barney also owns Lake Gaston Radon LLC.  He performs radon testing as an added service to buyers and sellers in the lake area. He is a Certified Radon Measurement Specialist, certified by the National Radon Safety Board. Please join us in congratulating Barney Watson as the 2017 RVLG REALTOR® of the Year.



By: Barney Watson – Owner Broker / REALTOR® -  RE/MAX On The Lake - Lake Gaston

Fall picture on Lake GastonLake Gaston says, "Good-bye summer and hello fall!" Finally, this week, we got a taste of cooler weather rolling in making it easier to say good-bye to summer and hello fall. Yesterday I was looking out across the lake and could see the leaves are just beginning to turn. Soon they will become multicolored works of art reflecting on Lake Gaston. How blessed we are to witness this beauty.

Lake Gaston REALTORS® have not slowed down much since saying good-bye to summer. In the first nine months of this year we have closed on 198 Lake Gaston waterfront homes totaling $86.1M, an increase of 35.92% in dollar sales over the same nine months of 2016.  Lake Gaston offshore homes have been selling as well with 95 closed transactions totaling $11.3M, an increase of 24.95% in dollars sales.  Lake Gaston waterfront lots continue to increase as well with 46 sold totaling $6.3M, an increase of 20.31% in dollar sales.

The average Lake Gaston waterfront home has sold for $434,721 this year and offshore homes have averaged $118,903. Waterfront lots have averaged $137,080 in 2017.

Our total market, land and homes in the first nine months of this year have totaled $104.2M verses $79.6M for the same period in 2016, an increase of 30.86%.

On 9/30/2017 there were 248 active residential home listings. That number includes waterfront and offshore properties.  Compare that to 298, for the same period in 2016, equals a decrease of 17% in available home listings in the Lake Gaston area. The average days on market (DOM) for Lake Gaston waterfront homes in 2017 is 199 verses 220 in 2016, a decrease of 9.6%. So, we have an average of 17% fewer  Lake Gaston homes on the market with homes selling in 9.6% fewer days than just one year ago.

Applying the law of supply and demand to this information, you’d think that prices would be increasing, on average they have. Statistics show the average waterfront home sold price is up 9.8% in 2017 over the same nine months of 2016. With sales prices up, buyers are cautious about overpaying.  Remember, second homes / vacation homes are a want not a need and usually when a property goes under contract there is an appraisal involved.  If the property does not appraise for the contract price, the buyer walks away.

All sales statistics are from the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS® Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and do not reflect private sales.

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) reported Existing Home Sales across the United States are down 1.5% from a year ago. NAR also reports pending homes sales, properties under contract and not yet closed are down 2.6%.  They site inventory shortage in most markets are holding back sales.  We are also short quality inventory here at the lake in some price ranges.

The Conference Board Consumer Confidence Index®, which had improved marginally in August, declined slightly in September. The Index now stands at 119.8, down from 120.4 in August.  Despite the slight downtick in confidence, consumers’ assessment of current conditions remains quite favorable and their expectations for the short-term suggest the economy will continue to expand.

I feel certain at the end of 2017 we will say, “It has been another great year for the Lake Gaston real estate market.”

Barney Watson is Owner Broker/ REALTOR® of RE/MAX On The Lake and 2017 MLS President of the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS®. His cell: 252-532-3274 and web: