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Higher-end homes in the Lake Norman area were a hot commodity in an otherwise tepid real estate market in 2018, according to newly released figures.

For homes priced above $1 million, closed sales of lake-area homes rose from 168 in 2017 to 195 in 2018, a hike of 16.1 percent.

“This increase was mainly comprised of a very active market between $1 million and $2 million in list price,” said Reed Jackson, managing partner at the Ivester Jackson Christie’s International Lake Norman office. “The ultra-luxury resale market above $2 million was comparable to 2017's results.”

Sales in the $500,000 to $1 million range also increased, from 533 in 2017 to 580 last year, an 8 percent difference, Jackson added.

But sub-$500,000 closings were a drag on the overall market, Jackson said.

That decline was “due to a number of variables: an uptick in mortgage rates in a more interest-rate-sensitive segment of the market, tighter inventory in some high-demand areas, as well as new construction options,” Jackson explained.

The shrinking supply of available homes in the Lake Norman area follows a trend throughout the 12-county region covered by the Charlotte Regional Realtor Association and its Carolina Multiple Listing Services. Inventory dropped nearly 6 percent in the region in 2018.

Regional sales and the average price both rose nearly 6 percent last year, while the number of available homes plunged more than 19 percent.

As in the Lake Norman area, there appeared to be a correlation between price and the supply of available homes.

In Davidson and Mooresville, which had the highest average sale prices in the general Lake Norman area in 2018, inventory increased. In Denver and Huntersville, where the average prices were lower, the number of available homes fell about 10 percent.

Here is a glance at individual communities:

Davidson

Sales: up 2.8 percent over 2017.

Average sale price: $443,218, up more than 10 percent.

December inventory: up nearly 20 percent.

While Davidson’s percentage surge in available homes bucked the regional trend, the town also started with the smallest inventory among local markets, going from 117 at the end of 2017 to 140 in December 2018.

Denver

Sales: down 12.4 percent

Average price: $378,120, up 0.3 percent.

December inventory: 192, down nearly 10 percent.

Huntersville

Sales: down 3.3 percent

Average sale price: $339,154, up nearly 6 percent over 2017.

December inventory: 253, down 10.3 percent.

Mooresville

Sales: down 0.7 percent.

Average sale price: $391,996, up 5.4 percent.

Available homes: 553, up 1.7 percent.

Looking ahead, Jackson said sales of homes priced at $500,000 and above look strong for the first half of 2019, while he expects closings on entry-priced homes to be down from the same period last year.

“Interest rates have ticked back down and it appears the Federal Reserve may table (rate) increases the first half of the year, which has so far placated the financial markets,” he said.

Jackson added that he expects sales activity north of N.C. 150 to continue on an upward trend.

“Improved amenities and highway access on both sides of the lake make it easier to live further from Charlotte,” he noted.

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