Barney Watson

Barney Watson Lake Gaston RE/MAX real estate agent
RE/MAX on the Lake
1945 NC Hwy 4 Littleton NC 27850
252-532-3274
lakegaston1@gmail.com

In the first six months of 2022 our total closed sales, land and homes have totaled $115,091,246 down from $119,234,545 the same period of 2021 or a decrease of 3.47%. Closed sales on waterfront homes were down 7.19% in dollar sales in the first six months of 2022 over the same period last year. We have closed 109 waterfront homes this year compared to 140 last year. The average sold price of waterfront homes in 2022 is $790,850 up 19.21% over the same period in 2021. The median price of waterfront homes sold in 2022 was $725,000, up from $574,500 last year or a 26.20% increase. The increase in the median homes sales price here on the lake point to a combination of home prices increasing and sales of higher priced homes. On 7/6/22, we show 22 waterfront homes sold on the lake for a $1M or more this year. Seventeen sold in the same period of 2021 and 3 sold in 2020. The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) reports the median sale price of homes nationally has risen 14.6% over the same time last year.

This year, 69 offshore homes have sold, and their total dollar sales are up 63.64% this year compared to last year. Waterfront lot sales are down 44.91% in dollar sales from last year with about half the number of lots sold in 2021. 

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

Getting “priced out of the market” is a fate that first and second home buyers might face in today’s real estate market. After a pandemic-driven boom in the sector; we see higher home prices and loan increases slowing demand for properties. Second home prices have surged. Mortgage rates climbed to today’s rate of 7.5%. Since the first week of January, when rates averaged a little lower than 3.0%, mortgage payments have become increasingly unaffordable. Second-home buyers face even greater costs than those recent increases. The federal government increased loan fees for second homes on April 1. For a typical buyer that means an about $13,500 added to the cost of buying a $400,000 home.

Existing-home sales are down for the fourth consecutive month in May, according to the National Association of Realtors®.  Total existing-home sales, transactions that include single-family homes, fell 3.4% from April. Year-over-year, sales are down 8.6% according to the National Association of REALTORS (NAR).  "Home sales have essentially returned to the levels seen in 2019 – prior to the pandemic – after two years of gangbuster performance," said NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun. "Also, the market movements of single-family and condominium sales are nearly equal, possibly implying that the preference towards suburban living over city life that had been present over the past two years is fading with a return to pre-pandemic conditions."  "Further sales declines should be expected in the upcoming months given housing affordability challenges from the sharp rise in mortgage rates this year," Yun added. 

The Consumer Confidence Index® decreased in June, following a decline in May. The Index fell to 98.7 down 4.5 points from 103.2 in May—and now stands at its lowest level since February 2021. “Consumer confidence fell for a second consecutive month in June,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. Consumers’ grimmer outlook was driven by increasing concerns about inflation, in particular rising gas and food prices. “Purchasing intentions for cars, homes, and major appliances held relatively steady—but intentions have cooled since the start of the year and this trend is likely to continue as the Fed aggressively raises interest rates to tame inflation. Meanwhile, vacation plans softened further as rising prices took their toll. Looking ahead over the next six months, consumer spending and economic growth are likely to continue facing strong headwinds from further inflation and rate hikes.”

Mortgage rates have increased sharply; a local lender is quoting 7.514% interest on a 30 year second-home mortgage and 5.985% for a primary home. The same time last year that rate was 2.875% interest on a 30-year mortgage. Again, rising prices and increased mortgage rates have forced potential buyers to rethink their need to buy a second home.

The cost of homeowner’s insurance has also increased. First, in June the Department of Insurance approved a rate increase averaging 7.9% in the state of North Carolina. The second cause driving rising premiums is inflation. A homeowner needing to rebuild will incur a much higher cost. The cost of materials and labor are rising and there are supply chain issues. COVID impacted everything.

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 this area.  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 a wrong listing price at the start.

More people are enjoying the Lake Gaston area. 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 website is www.lakegastonrealestate.com.

In the first three months of 2022 our total closed sales, land and homes, have totaled $54,086,316, an increase of 8.36%, compared to the $49,911,478 over the same three months of 2021. This year, our first quarter closed sales on waterfront homes are up 9.22% (in dollar sales), compared to the same period last year. We have closed 52 this year compared to 59 last year.  The average sold price of waterfront homes in 2022 was $804,546, an increase of 23.92% over the same period in 2021. The median sold price of waterfront homes for the first three months was $727,500 compared to $570,000 in 2021, an increase of 27.63%. The median days on market for waterfront homes for the first quarter was 7.  Offshore homes sales (in dollars) have also increased 66.70% this year compared to last year.  The average sold price of offshore homes for the first quarter of 2021 was $243,015. The average sold price of offshore homes for the first quarter of 2022 was $243,015 vs. $178,170 for the same period last year, an increase of 36.4%.  We closed on 33 offshore homes this year. Waterfront lot sales (in dollars) were down 46.59% from last year.  All sales numbers are from the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS® MLS and do not reflect private sales.  

Across the country, The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports “Total existing-home sales, completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, sank 7.2% from January to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 6.02 million in February. Year-over-year, sales decreased 2.4% (6.17 million in February 2021).” 
"Housing affordability continues to be a major challenge, as buyers are getting a double whammy: rising mortgage rates and sustained price increases," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Some who had previously qualified at a 3% mortgage rate are no longer able to buy at the 4% rate.  “Monthly payments have risen by 28% from one year ago – which interestingly is not a part of the consumer price index – and the market remains swift with multiple offers still being recorded on most properties."  The median existing home price for all housing types in February was $357,300, up 15.0% from February 2021 ($310,600).” 

"Pending transactions diminished by 5.4% in February mainly due to the low number of homes for sale," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "Buyer demand is still intense, but it's as simple as ‘one cannot buy what is not for sale.'" 

Our inventory of quality homes in the Lake Gaston market is also at record lows.  A recent blog by the Virginia Association of REALTORS stated available inventory was down 50% from a year ago and 66% from five years ago.  I believe our market is no different. 

Today, a local lender is quoting 5.875% interest on a 30-year mortgage on second homes. Last April that 30-year rate was 2.875%.  It is the first time since February 2011 that thirty-year mortgage rates have reached the 5% mark. Mortgage rates now stand 3 percentage points higher than they were during the popular spring home-buying season in 2021.  

As if the 3-point increase in mortgage rates are not enough: effective April 1, 2022, added up-front fees for mortgage loans on second homes will be between 1.125% and 3.875%.  Fees will vary based on the loan-to-value ratio. For example: A $300,000-second home mortgage with loan-to-value ratio of 65%, acquired by Fannie Mae or Freddie will pay an extra fee of $4,875. A large percentage of loans are Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac. 

The cost of building materials continues to climb.  Building materials prices increased 20.4%, year-over-year, and have risen 31.3% since January 2020. Ready-mix concrete has been volatile since mid-2020 and has climbed 8.2%, year-over-year.  Gypsum (sheet rock) products prices are up 20.7%, year-over-year.  Framing lumber prices have increased 79.5%.  Over the last 12-month period the prices of exterior and interior paint increased 30.3% and 21.2%, respectively.  Appliances to equip new homes are more expensive and sometimes scarce. 

“The annual inflation rate for the United States is 8.5% for the 12 months ended March 2022 — the highest since December 1981 and after rising 7.9% previously, according to U.S. Labor Department”.  Inflation costs the average US household almost $300 more a month.  “The price of gasoline increased 48.0% in the 12 months ended March compared to the 38.0% annual increase in February, according to the most recent inflation data published April 12, 2022, by the U.S. Labor Department’s Bureau of Labor Statistics”. 

Will increased mortgage rates and fees combined with record inflation and gas prices hurt second-home sales here at Lake Gaston?  Great question. 
If you’ve been thinking of selling your Lake Gaston property, wait no longer!  The shortage of inventory has persuaded potential buyers to buy their lake homes sooner. A full-time REALTOR®, who provides written data and gives you a correct value of your home is important.  

Barney Watson is Owner / REALTOR of Lake Gaston Real Estate LLC and a Director for the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS®.  His cell is 252-532-3274 and website is https://lakegastonrealestate.com/

What an unusual year 2021 was.  Waterfront home listings were scarce with prices rising.  Economics 101, supply and demand.  Supply is low and demand is high driving prices higher.

In 2021 Lake Gaston Realtors closed 268 waterfront home transactions, averaging $685,552 each.  Totaling $183,727,816 or an increase of 3.80 percent in dollar sales over 2020 sales.  Our average waterfront home listing price was $680,713 at time of contract.  The average selling price was 100.71 percent of the asking price.  Unit sales of waterfront homes was down 17.79 percent from 2020 because of lack of inventory. Offshore homes showed an increase of 1.23 percent over 2020 sales with 129 closed, averaging $179,904 each, totaling $22,621,597. Waterfront lot sales were also up with 137 sold, compared to 115 last year, averaging $198,027 each, totaling $25,445,850, that’s up 20.90 percent.  Offshore lot sales also improved with an increase of 114.46 percent from 2020 levels averaging $20,518 each.  Total homes and land (lots) all firms all around the lake closed 663 transactions compared to 688 in 2020.  Totaling a record dollar amount of $243,540,808, an increase of 9.09 percent above the same period in 2020.  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 2021 was $605,000 which sold for 101.34 percent of asking price.  This was a 19.92 percent increase in sales price over 2020. The median price for offshore homes was $173,900, selling for 97.21 percent of asking price.  This was a 24.26% increase in sales price over 2020.  The median price of waterfront and offshore lots has remained flat with 2020 levels.

The increase in sales with lack of available inventory also brought an increase in sales prices. Sales of waterfront homes, which closed below $500,000, was down 49.1 percent over 2020 sales.  Sales of waterfront homes, which closed between $501,000 and $800,000, was down 12.6 percent. Sales of waterfront homes, which closed between $801,000 and $1M, was up 18.5% percent.  Waterfront home sales for $1M and up increased 300.0 percent.  The most expensive waterfront home sold on Lake Gaston was $2.9M. Waterfront homes sold over the asking price in 2021 totaled 118. That is 44.0 percent of the total sold, compared to 80 in 2020 which was 24.6 percent of the total sold.

“Consumer confidence declined this month as rising inflation, and the highly-contagious omicron variant of the coronavirus, dinged the optimism of Americans.  The Conference Board said Tuesday that its consumer confidence index — which takes into account consumers’ assessment of current conditions and their outlook for the future — fell to 113.8 in January, from 115.2 in December.  Even with the decline, consumer confidence remains high in the U.S. despite surging prices for just about everything. Earlier this month, the Labor Department reported that inflation rose at its fastest pace in nearly 40 years in December, a 7% spike.”

“Prices rose sharply in 2021 for cars, gas, food and furniture but that has not hindered the U.S. consumer. The proportion of people planning to purchase homes, automobiles, and major appliances over the next six months all increased, the Conference Board said.”

National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports existing-home sales declined in December, snapping a streak of three straight months of gains, with sales falling in each of the four regions of the U.S. Despite the drop in December, year-over-year sales for 2021 were up 8.5%.  NAR also reports pending homes sales are down 2.7% year over year in 2021.  "There was less pending home sales action this time around, which I would ascribe to low housing supply, but also to buyers being hesitant about home prices," said Lawrence Yun, NAR's chief economist. "While I expect neither a price reduction, nor another year of record-pace price gains, the market will see more inventory in 2022 and that will help some consumers with affordability."

The median existing-home price for single-family homes across the country was $364,300, up 16.1 percent from a year ago.  Housing inventory across the country was down 22 percent from a year ago, days on market continues to be low in most areas.

NAR also predicts a strong year in 2022.  “The housing market was doing well at the turn of the year and may normalize, said Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of Realtors.  All markets are seeing strong conditions, and home sales are the best they have been in 15 years, Yun said. The housing sector’s success will continue, but I don’t expect [2022’s] performance to exceed [2021’s].  He said sales may decline this year but predicts that they will exceed pre-pandemic levels. His forecast is based on an expectation of more inventory in the coming months. With more housing inventory to hit the market, the intense multiple offers will start to ease, Yun said. Home prices will continue to rise but at a slower pace.  Yun projects that mortgage rates will increase to 3.7 percent in 2022, pushed up by persistently higher inflation.”

Mortgage interest rates remain at low levels, 3.50 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage and 2.50 percent for a 15-year fixed rate mortgage.  Both rates have increased by just under a full percentage point from a year ago.  Rates are expected to rise slightly through the end of the year.

Available waterfront home inventory remains at an all-time low.  In 2021 we had 262 new waterfront home listings become available as compared to 328 in 2020, a 20.2 percent decline.  But, in 2021 we sold 268 waterfront homes vs. 326 in 2020. 

Have you been thinking about selling your home? There are potential buyers looking for waterfront homes, priced right and in good condition.  Do not miss a great time to sell.  The shortage of inventory has persuaded potential buyers to buy their lake homes sooner.  “Spruce up” your home and get it listed right away!  A full-time REALTOR®, who provides written data and gives you a correct value of your home is important.

Barney Watson is Owner/Broker of Lake Gaston Real Estate LLC and he is 2022 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.

 

By:  Barney Watson – REALTOR / Broker / Owner – Lake Gaston Real Estate, LLC 

REALTORS® around the lake agree that 2021 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.  When compared to last year this time, we see a lack of available waterfront home inventory has slowed sales. Lot sales have increased dramatically with buyers opting to buy vacant lots and build, because they cannot find the waterfront home to fit their needs.  Custom builds around the lake are at record numbers.  We are also starting to see spec homes under construction.  Plus, a couple of developments are on the planning table. 

In the first nine months of 2021 we have sold 200 waterfront homes, averaging $676,119 each totaling $135,612,916.  The average price is up 31.41% of the average sale price for the same time period in 2020.  Resulting from a combination of inflated prices, because of inventory constraints, and the increased sale of larger, more expensive homes.  The median sold price of waterfront homes in 2021 is $600,000 compared to $467,250 in the same nine months of 2020, totaling an increase of 28.42%. The total dollars sales of waterfront homes is up 12.32% in the first nine months of 2021 compared to the same time period of 2020. 

Offshore home sales this year total $17,607,200 compared to $16,036,095 in the first nine months of 2020. Totaling an increase of 9.80%.  The average offshore homes sold for $183,408 compared to $144,469 in 2020 during the same time period. Resulting in an increase of 26.95%. 

Waterfront lot sales are up 52.05% in unit sales with 111 sold in 2021 and up 55.77% in dollars sales compared to 2020 sales for the first nine months.  The average waterfront lot has sold for $185,704 this year.  Unit sales of offshore lots are also up 56.14% of 2020 sales.  

Our total market, homes and lot dollar sales in the first nine months of this year total $176,255,767, an increase 16.53% of the same time period in 2020.   

As I mentioned before, we are starting to see sales slowing because of inventory shortages.  The end of August our dollar sale increase was 25.87%., the end of July up 39.77%., the end of June up 52.92% and the end of May up 77.66%.  I believe the increase is slowing because of the large increases towards the end of 2020 plus the shortage of available waterfront homes on the market. 

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

The 30-year mortgage rate today is 3.35%, up almost a full point since last year this time.  The rates are still low, I hope this will not hinder sales here at the lake. 

The Consumer Confidence Index® declined again in September, following decreases in both July and August. The Index now stands at 109.3, down from 115.2 in August.  

 “Consumer confidence dropped in September as the spread of the Delta variant continued to dampen optimism,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Concerns about the state of the economy and short-term growth prospects deepened, while spending intentions for homes, autos, and major appliances all retreated again. Short-term inflation concerns eased somewhat but remain elevated. Consumer confidence is still high by historical levels—enough to support further growth in the near-term—but the Index has now fallen 19.6 points from the recent peak of 128.9 reached in June. These back-to-back declines suggest consumers have grown more cautious and are likely to curtail spending going forward.” 

The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) reports in August 2021, each of the four major U.S. regions experienced declines in existing home sales on both a month-over-month and a year-over-year perspective, breaking a two-month streak of increases.  Pending home sales rebounded in August, recording significant gains after two prior months of declines, up 8.1%. 

In the first nine months of 2021 we have seen 196 new listings on waterfront homes. Compare that to 259 the same time period of 2020.  Compare that to the 192 waterfront homes that went under contract 2020.  These two numbers also point to our inventory shortage. 

If you have been thinking about putting your Lake Gaston property on the market now is a great time.  We have buyers waiting for that right property to come available.  Keep in mind the importance of pricing your property competitively to find a buyer.  Give me a call or send me an email, I’ll be happy to give you my opinion of value. 

Barney Watson is the Owner of Lake Gaston Real Estate, LLC and State 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. 

By: Barney Watson - REALTOR® - Lake Gaston Real Estate, LLC - Owner

In the first six months of 2021 our total closed sales, land and homes have totaled $117,586,545 up from $76,896,814 the same period of 2020 or an increase of 52.91%.  Closed sales on waterfront homes are up 49.26% in dollar sales in the first six months of 2021 over the same period last year. We have closed 138 this year compared to 120 last year.  The average sold price of waterfront homes in 2021 is $665,255 up 29.81% over the same period in 2020.  The median price of waterfront homes sold in 2021 was $577,500, up from $470,000 last year or a 22.37% increase.  These numbers point out waterfront homes are selling for a premium; prices have increased 15% or more.  The increase in the median homes sales price here on the lake point to a combination of home prices increasing and sales of higher priced homes increasing. 

55 offshore homes have sold, and their dollar sales are up 11.16% this year compared to last year. Waterfront lot dollar sales are up 141.30% from last year.  Waterfront lots sold this year are more than double the number sold in 2020.  I believe the shortage in waterfront home inventory has driven up sales of waterfront lots.  The National Association of REALTORS (NAR) reports the median sale price of homes nationally has risen 23.6%.

When I checked this morning; 19 waterfront homes priced at or above $1M have sold in our area. All sales numbers are from the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS® MLS and do not reflect private sales.

“Vacation home sales have been surging during the pandemic, according to NAR rising by 16.4%, outpacing the 5.6% growth in total existing-home sales. Vacation home sales have continued to pick up during January-April 2021, rising by 57.2% year-over-year, more than twice the 20% growth in total existing-home sales during the same period.  The surge in the demand for vacation homes has occurred during the pandemic when people are able to work from home, students are schooled virtually, people are taking safety precautions and staying away from crowded areas, and with urban-based recreation limited by social distancing regulations.”

The Consumer Confidence Index® improved further in June, following gains in each of the previous four months. The Index now stands at 127.3, up from 120.0 in May.  “Consumer confidence increased in June and is currently at its highest level since the onset of the pandemic’s first surge in March 2020,” said Lynn Franco, Senior Director of Economic Indicators at The Conference Board. “Consumers’ assessment of current conditions improved again, suggesting economic growth has strengthened further in Q2. Consumers’ short-term optimism rebounded, buoyed by expectations that business conditions and their own financial prospects will continue improving in the months ahead. While short-term inflation expectations increased, this had little impact on consumers’ confidence or purchasing intentions. In fact, the proportion of consumers planning to purchase homes, automobiles, and major appliances all rose—a sign that consumer spending will continue to support economic growth in the short-term. Vacation intentions also rose, reflecting a continued increase in spending on services.”

Mortgage rates remain low; a local lender is quoting 2.875% interest on a 30-year mortgage and 2.375% on a 15-year.  The NAR reports vacation home buyers are more likely to pay all-cash. During January-April 2021, all-cash sales rose to 53% of all vacation home buys, a higher share compared to the less than 50% seen in past years. In comparison, 22% of all existing-home sales in January-April 2021 were cash sales.  According to our Multiple Listing Service (MLS), 26.8% of the waterfront homes sales on Lake Gaston in 2021 were cash transactions compared to 19.6% in 2020.  With interest rates at historically low levels, we are seeing most buyers finance a portion of their vacation home purchase.

Our inventory of quality homes in the Lake Gaston market continues to be low.  That makes now a great time to list your home if you’ve been thinking of selling.  Contact a full-time, REALTOR® with working knowledge of the Lake Gaston market.  Ask them to provide written facts and figures on properties sold and listed in this area.  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 a wrong listing price at the start.

More people are enjoying the Lake Gaston area. 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 2021 State Director for the Roanoke Valley Lake Gaston Board of REALTORS®.  His cell is 252-532-3274 and website is www.lakegastonrealestate.com.