The NH Real Estate Market Report
The New Hampshire Association of REALTORS publishes a Market Trend Report and the latest report validates what many NH REALTORS are reporting- Activity is up but Prices are down! You can read the full report, which is reprinted with permission by NHAR immediately following this short video.
Monika McGillicuddy Video Real Estate Market Update
First half 2012 home sales
Sales up 20 percent over last year,
but prices still not rising quite yet
By Peter Francese
The Wall Street Journal for July 11 confirmed on a national basis what we have all observed here in New Hampshire: “The housing market has turned — at last.”
It’s turned all right, but in a very strange way. For the first half of 2012, the number of residential homes sold increased by double digits over 2011 in every county in the state (Please see data Table 1 below). But the median selling price for those homes statewide was 3 percent below the same period last year, and median selling price for those homes were below the first half of last year in seven of 10 NH counties.
New Hampshire REALTORS must be working harder than ever, because despite a median selling price for the first six months of only $198,000 ($7,000 below last year) total sales volume rose 16 percent, to $1.4 billion. Chart 1 shows the striking difference between change in median residential home selling price and total selling volume.
With unit sales and sales volume rising by double digits almost everywhere, it would seem to be only a matter of time before selling prices start rising as well. But there are a few things holding unit prices down. Obviously, there’s a lot of inventory, and that inventory of unsold homes may remain high for some time.
One reason: Home foreclosures are averaging about 340 per month so far this year and are only 3 percent below the pace of last year. They will be a drag on home prices until foreclosures return to a more normal level of somewhere below 150 a month.
But most importantly, young “millennials” (households under age 35) are not as numerous in New Hampshire as in other states due to past out-migration, and fewer of them are able to buy a home. Their lack of ability to buy a home can be traced to a nasty combination of much higher student debt and lower real wages than in the past. And tighter lending standards have driven that ability even lower.
As if that were not enough, about one in four New Hampshire homeowners — about 90,000 — are at or near retirement age. If even a reasonable number of them want to sell their home in the near future to downsize or move somewhere else, there may not be enough millennials ready and able to buy their home.
However, U.S. economic conditions matter, and there are many other factors in our state’s favor. At 5 percent, New Hampshire has the lowest unemployment rate in the region and sixth lowest in the nation. And while numerous business surveys rank our state high on the business-friendly scale, we always rank first in quality of life.
Also, NNEREN produces data every quarter in its buyer origin report showing that more than one-fifth of home sales statewide are to someone from another state. That speaks very well to the desirability of our state for home ownership, whether it be for a primary home or a second home.
In any case, first-half median residential home selling prices rose in only three NH counties (Carroll, Cheshire and Sullivan). Those counties accounted for just 16 percent of first half home sales statewide, but almost one in four out-of-state buyers. It looks like home buyers from other states are pushing up selling prices whenever they’re a large fraction of buyers. In Carroll County, for example, at least 45 percent of first-half 2012 home buyers were from out of state, and many of them were for second homes.
Perhaps the best thing that can be done to increase the number of home buyers is to promote the state for what it is: a family-friendly, safe place to own either a primary home or a vacation home. Fostering that image should be top of mind for all of us.
Fortunately, there is a fine organization called Stay Work Play New Hampshire, which does exactly that, and it deserves our support. (www.stayworkplay.org)
Table I: NH residential home sales & median selling price
in first half 2012
NH residential home sales & median selling price in first half 2012
County Units Sold in first half of 2012 % Change 2011/2012 Median Selling Price in 2012 % change 2011-2012
32% $169,000 -9%
17% $179,000 5%
43% $155,750 4%
14% $75,000 -2%
32% $169,500 -3%
25% $209,900 -3%
19% $179,900 -3%
10% $250,000 -2%
16% $177750 -7%
17% $140,000 2%
20% $198,000 -3%