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New Hampshire Home Sales Rise in January

From the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS®

New Hampshire January home sales highest since 2007

January residential unit sales in New Hampshire were ahead of the prior January for the third consecutive year, as 656 single family homes were sold in the Granite State last month.

According to MLS data released this week by the New Hampshire Association of Realtors (NHAR), that number represented a 20 percent increase over the 549 homes sold in January 2011.

The median price of those homes, meanwhile, continued to lag slightly behind, having dropped 4 percent, from $207,000 in January 2011 to $198,500 in January 2012.

“Although it’s human nature to look for that one defining month that signals to everyone that the recovery in the housing market is afoot, that’s just not the nature of this economy,” said NHAR President John Rice, a 40-year veteran of the real estate industry and an agent with Tate & Foss Sotheby’s International in Portsmouth. “As we continue to hear from economists, we’re probably in the early stages of a slow upward climb.”

Rice said he was encouraged by the fact that the 656 January sales were the most since 2007, but he pointed out that this mild winter, particularly compared to last year’s frigid and snow-caked January, has likely played a role in the uptick.

“We’re happy to report positive news in terms of the market, but we also need to be clear about the context,” Rice said, “and right now the context is that we’ve had positive conditions compared to last year.”

The drop in median price continues to be influenced by the foreclosure market. The New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority reported 368 foreclosure deeds recorded in December 2011, the highest December number since NHHFA began its reporting in 2005.

In terms of local markets, eight of the state’s 10 counties saw New Hampshire home sales increases in January compared to a year ago, including a 108 percent jump in Sullivan County, 45 percent in Belknap County and 36 percent in both Cheshire and Rockingham counties.

The state’s largest county, Hillsborough, witnessed a 14 percent sales increase.

Year to date (YTD) condo sales in Rockingham County are 51 compared to 38 for the same time period in 2011; that’s a 34.2% increase in year over year numbers. The YTD median sales price is $180,000 versus $176,250 in 2011. That’s a modest 2.1% increase.

Residential properties are showing a 36.3% increase over 2011 with 2012 YTD sales numbers of 154 compared to 113 in 2011. The median Rockingham County prices is also up 2.5% YTD in 2012, $256,250 so far versus $249,900 in 2011.

With inventory still relatively high, interest rates low and prices competitive, NHAR President Rice said he would not be surprised to see an excellent spring in terms of sales.

“No predictions, but the New Hampshire home sales are certainly ripe for a continued increase in activity,” he said. “Those looking to buy a home have excellent opportunities right now.”

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And your New Hampshire & southern Maine Seacoast real estate experts are Ann Cummings & Jim Lee. We’re as close and accessible as your computer or your phone. 603-431-111, extension 3839 for Ann and 3801 for Jim. Give us a call with any questions or any of your Seacoast real estate needs. We live on the Seacoast and know it as only residents can.

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