Barney Watson

Barney Watson Lake Gaston Real Estate LLC real estate agent
Lake Gaston Real Estate LLC
1945 NC Hwy 4 Littleton NC 27850
252-532-3274
lakegaston1@gmail.com

In the first three months of 2024 our total closed sales, land and homes have totaled $35,609,904 down from $43,482,390 the same period of 2023 or a decrease of 18.10%. Closed sales on waterfront homes were down 19.39% in dollar sales in the first three months of 2024 over the same period last year. We have closed 32 waterfront homes this year compared to 35 last year. The average sold price of waterfront homes in 2024 is $841,860 down 11.83% over the same period in 2023. The median sold price of waterfront homes sold in 2024 was $775,000, up from $742,890 last year or a 4.32% increase. This year, 19 offshore homes have been sold. The average sold price of these homes in the first three months was $201,162, down 2.30% from the same period last year. Waterfront lot sales are up 79.97% in dollar sales compared to last year with 15 sold in the first quarter of 2024 compared to 10 sold last year.  Looking at the few expensive waterfront lots sold this year, the highest sold for $950,000, which included a luxury boathouse.

All sales numbers are from the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS® MLS and do not reflect private sales.

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) reports existing-home sales surged 9.5% in February over January, the largest monthly increase since February 2023. Sales declined 3.3% from the previous year.

The median existing-home sales price increased 5.7% from February 2023 to $384,500 – the eighth consecutive month of year-over-year price gains.

NAR also reports pending home sales increased 1.6% in February.  Pending home sales is a forward-looking indicator of home sales based on contract signings.  Year over year, pending transactions were down 7.0%. 

Inventory levels down and interest rates up are contributing reasons to the decline in both existing and pending home sales nationally.

Inflation numbers are ticking up from 3.1% in January to 3.5% in March.  We will need to wait and see what the Fed does with interest rates. The Economists predict maybe one rate cut this year and maybe one more rate increase if inflation remains high.  Home buyers are seeing mortgage rates at 7% for a 30-year fixed mortgage for a primary home and 8% for second homes. There are also extra up-front fees involved for buying a second home, ranging from 1.125% to 3.875%.

I’m sure you have heard of the proposed $418 million settlement with the National Association of REALTORS. The courts must approve this proposed settlement. There’s much the media has gotten wrong about the settlement.  Some media outlets have stated that NAR previously set or guided commissions to a standard rate of 6%.  President Joe Biden, in recent remarks, may have misled in suggesting the settlement makes commission negotiable for the first time and that 6% sales commissions will end. This is false; NAR does not set commissions. Commissions have been negotiable for years. I do not feel this settlement changes anything about commissions between brokers and their clients.

The settlement created one new rule. This imposed rule needs brokers to have a written agreement with their buyers outlining the services they will receive and the compensation they will receive for those services. One of the key points in the rule forbids advertising compensation in MLS listings. Compensation will be communicated outside of the MLS. This new rule will help buyers make more informed decisions, and ensure brokers are providing the services they have agreed to.

Overall, not much has changed in the real estate market lately. There are still important points to consider when it comes to buying or selling a property.

Interest rates have a direct impact on the real estate market. Current interest rates are fairly low.  Economists predict maybe one more rate hike in the year, if inflation remains high. If you are thinking about selling your Lake Gaston property, now is the time to act before interest rates increase even more.

There is good news for buyers too. Despite low inventory in the market, there are still buyers eagerly waiting for the right property to become available. If you are considering selling, you most likely will find a buyer quickly.

To attract these buyers, it is important to price your property right the first time. Getting advice from a full-time REALTOR® that provides you with written information on the current market conditions is essential. This will help you understand the competition and set a reasonable price for your property.

As a REALTOR®, I closely watch the market. I am always happy to provide my clients with my professional opinion on the value of their property. Whether you are thinking about selling or just curious about the current market conditions, reach out to me. I am here to help you make informed decisions regarding your property. The real estate market is constantly changing. You must be informed to make the best decisions for your property.

Barney Watson is the owner of Lake Gaston Real Estate LLC and he is Director for the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS®.  His cell is 252-532-3274 and his website is www.lakegastonrealestate.com.

 

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.

Barney Watson is Owner/Broker of Lake Gaston Real Estate LLC and he is 2024 Director for the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS®.  Cell is 252-532-3274, email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  and website is www.lakegastonrealestate.com.

 

REALTORS® around the lake agree that 2023 is a challenging year for real estate.  The shortage of listings continues as buyers wait eagerly to buy lake property.  We have experienced inflated pricing, multiple offers, and waterfront homes selling for over asking prices.  Compared to last year, we see a lack of available waterfront home inventory has slowed sales.  A lack of quality lots for sales caused our sales numbers to drop.

In the first nine months of 2023 we have sold 129 waterfront homes, averaging $840,244 each totaling $114,841,506.  The average price is up 3.89% of the average sale price for the same time in 2022.  The median sold price of waterfront homes in 2023 is $770,000 compared to $750,000 in the same nine months of 2022, totaling an increase of 2.67%. The total dollar sales of waterfront homes are down 14.46% in the first nine months of 2023 compared to the same time in 2022.

Offshore home sales this year total $16,464,649 compared to $24,872,280 in the first nine months of 2022 in dollar sales, a decrease of 33.80%.  The average offshore homes sold for $219,529 compared to $220,809 in 2022 during the same time, a decrease of 0.58%.

Waterfront lot sales are down 17.19% in unit sales with 53 sold in 2023 and up 13.15% in dollars sales compared to 2022 sales for the first nine months.  The average waterfront lot has sold for $275,403 this year.  Offshore lot sales are down 19.73% in dollar sales in the first nine months of 2023 compared to 2022.

Our total market, homes and lot dollar sales in the first nine months of this year total $152,151,205, a decrease 14.65% of the same time in 2022. 

All figures are from the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board or REALTORS Multiple Listing Service and do not reflect private sales.

The major contributor to the decrease in sales of waterfront homes is supply.  In the first nine months of 2023, we had 125 new listings for waterfront homes compared to 259 for the same time in 2020, pre-pandemic.

The rise in interest rates has certainly contributed to the decrease as well.  Currently the mortgage rate for primary homes is just under 8% and second-homes is just under 9%.

Pending home sales across the country decreased 7.1% in August, according to the National Association of REALTORS®.  "Mortgage rates have been rising above 7% since August, which has diminished the pool of home buyers," said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. "Some would-be home buyers are taking a pause and readjusting their expectations about the location and type of home to better fit their budgets."  "Moreover, the government shutdown will disrupt some home sales in the short run due to the lack of flood insurance or delays in government-backed mortgage issuance," said Yun.

“Consumer confidence fell again in September 2023, marking two consecutive months of decline,” said Dana Peterson, Chief Economist at The Conference Board.  Responses showed that consumers continued to be preoccupied with rising prices in general, and for groceries and gasoline in particular. Consumers also expressed concerns about the political situation and higher interest rates. The decline in consumer confidence was evident across all age groups, and notably among consumers with household incomes of $50,000 or more.”  The current situations with the lack of Speaker in the House, the wars in Israel & Ukraine, inflation, rate hikes, labor strikes, etc. are all contributing to the decrease in Consumer Confidence.

Many Economists predict a recession to some degree in 2024, citing higher bond yields and consumers draining their savings accounts because of inflation and rising cost of living as signs.  Bloomberg Economics noted these reasons too, the start back of student loan payments, the increased use of AI and the possibility of a severe commercial real estate crash.

We are seeing the real estate market cooling down slightly here at the lake.  If you have been thinking about putting your Lake Gaston property on the market now is a great time before interest rates increase more and the economy continues to slow.  We have buyers waiting for that right property to come available.  To find a buyer you need to price your property competitively in our currently changing market.  Give me a call or send me an email, I’ll be happy to give you my opinion of the value.

Barney Watson is the Owner of Lake Gaston Real Estate, LLC and Director of the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS. Cell is 252-532-3274, email is This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and website is www.lakegastonrealestate.com.

In the first six months of 2023 our total closed sales, land and homes have totaled $104,077,151 down from $118,656,746 the same period of 2022 or a decrease of 12.29%. Closed sales on waterfront homes were down 10.48% in dollar sales in the first six months of 2023 over the same period last year. We have closed 88 waterfront homes this year compared to 112 last year. The average sold price of waterfront homes in 2023 is $907,620 up 13.94% over the same period in 2022. The median price of waterfront homes sold in 2023 was $762,500, up from $727,500 last year or a 4.81% increase. The increase in the median home’s sales price is from home prices increasing and sales of higher priced homes. Today, we show 25 waterfront homes sold on the lake for $1M or more this year. Compared to the same time period for 2022 when twenty-two sold. Going back to the same time period in 2019 only one waterfront home sold before Covid hit. Covid has been a major contributor to increasing real estate prices everywhere.

This year, 50 offshore homes have sold, and their total dollar sales are down 41.6% this year compared to last year. Waterfront lot sales are up 10.23% in dollar sales compared to last year.

All sales numbers are from the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS® MLS and do not reflect private sales.

Second home prices have surged. Mortgage rates climbed to today’s rate of 7.12% for primary homes and 7.75% for second homes/ investment properties. Since the beginning of 2022, mortgage payments have become increasingly unaffordable. Second-home buyers face those increases plus the federal government increased loan fees for second homes last year. Example, if you buy a median priced home on Lake Gaston with 20% down payment, you’d have a monthly payment of $1,798 over 30 years because of the increased interest rate.

Total existing-home sales transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, rose 0.2% from April to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.30 million in May. Year-over-year, sales dropped 20.4% from May 2022.

"Mortgage rates heavily influence the direction of home sales," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "Relatively steady rates have led to several consecutive months of consistent home sales."

 “The Leading Economic Index provides an early indication of significant turning points in the business cycle and where the economy is heading in the near termThe Conference Board Leading Economic Index® (LEI) for the U.S. declined by 0.7 percent in May 2023 to 106.7, following a decline of 0.6 percent in April. The LEI is down 4.3 percent over the six-month period between November 2022 and May 2023—a steeper rate of decline than its 3.8 percent contraction over the previous six months from May to November 2022The US LEI continues to signal a recession within the next 12 months.”

Our inventory of quality homes in the Lake Gaston market continues to be low. Now is a good time to list your home if you have been thinking of selling. List your home before the market cools off more. Contact a full-time REALTOR® with working knowledge of the Lake Gaston market. Ask them to provide written data on properties sold and listed in the local market.  When listing your property, price it according to comparable ones on the market. Remember, buyers’ frown at time wasted looking at overpriced properties. Overpriced properties sit on the market and become stale. Eventually selling at a lower price because of the wrong listing price at the start.

More people are coming to Lake Gaston and the surrounding locations. We see growth in both residential and commercial development. Lake Gaston REALTORS® love helping people find their dream home or business at the lake!

Barney Watson is the owner of Lake Gaston Real Estate LLC and he is Director for the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS®.  His cell is 252-532-3274 and his website is www.lakegastonrealestate.com.