This polar bear may (or may not) have been spotted at Lake Hartwell trying to avoid the frigid water temperatures, but on February 23rd, you can see some humans with slightly less sense taking to the water for the 23rd Annual Polar Bear Plunge at Hartwell Marina. Costumes are encouraged, and there will be a costume contest. Festivities begin at 11am and include a chili cook-off. The plunge is at 12:30.
Photo credit for above: Michael Isom, Hartwell Sun
Last week, we reported the Q4 2018 Lake Hartwell market update. The report showed a reduced inventory of homes, signaling a shift towards a seller's market. I wanted you to know that the prediction now has some hard data to accompany it in just the first month of the year. Our team has 10 new properties under contract since January 1st. 7 of those properties are our listings. 3 of the 7 had multiple offers. In 2018, we only had 2 listings with multiple offers all year long. I acknowledge that January could be a blip on the radar, and things could go back to the way they were this month, but I don't think so. I haven't seen this type of shift in the 16 years that I have been practicing real estate at the lake, and I want the people in our network to be the people with the best, most current, information about our market. If you are a buyer considering Lake Hartwell, I encourage you to look hard at what is currently available. If you are thinking of selling, this is the best possible time to list your property with us.
The Lake Hartwell market finished the year strong. Home sales were up 11% over Q4 2017, but the big story is that lot sales were up 237% over Q4 2017 and that was also the second most number of lots sold in any quarter over the last 10 years. The average lot price of $122k was up 3% over last quarter. 83 homes were sold with an average price of $360k, with the average price up 12% over last quarter. The number of available lots is down 11% from last quarter and the available home inventory is down 24%. The absorption rate is the number of months that it would take to sell the existing inventory at the existing rate of sales. While the absorption rate for lots is still high (plenty of inventory), the absorption rate for homes is at 7 months, which is very near a balanced market (6 months). With sales sure to pick up as warmer temperatures approach, there couldn't be a better time to let us help you find your spot on the lake.