In the current issue of New Hampshire Business Review, Kathleen Callahan writes:
October was a banner month for New Hampshire home sales, with continued gains in unit sales and the biggest year-over-year monthly median price increase in nearly five years.
According to the New Hampshire Association of Realtors, the median sale price of a single-family residence in New Hampshire was $212,000 — an 11.6 percent increase over the October 2011 median price of $190,000. That was the single largest median price jump since January 2008, the association said.
It was also a big jump from September, when the statewide median sale price was $199,900.
An increase in median sales price is a good sign for sellers in what has long been seen as a buyer’s market. For the first 10 months of 2012, the median sale price was $202,500 — down 1.2 percent from the $205,000 it was through the first 10 months of 2011.
“We’re about 1 percent behind where prices were at this time last year,” said NHAR President John Rice. “Considering that prices were 5 percent behind after the first quarter, we’ve definitely seen a comeback.”
Condo prices, on the other hand, continue to lag behind last year. The median statewide condo price in October was $159,000, down 5.9 percent from the median price of $169,000 in October 2011. For the year through October, the median price in 2012 is $150,000, off 3.2 percent from the same period in 2011, when it was $155,000.
Condos sales are increasing, though, rising 21.4 percent from the 210 sold in October 2011 to 255 in October 2012. Year to date, 18.2 percent more condos have sold in 2012 than in the same period of 2011.
Houses are also continuing to sell well, with October marking the 10th straight month that monthly sales have increased from the same month the previous year. There were 1,191 home sales in October in New Hampshire, a 27 percent increase over the 938 sold in the previous October.
Rice was hesitant to declare that prices have bottomed out in New Hampshire, but did acknowledge the possibility.
“It’s not our business to predict the future,” he said, “but on the other hand, it wouldn’t surprise me if we look back in two years and this was the turning point on median price.”
While every New Hampshire county saw an increase in unit sales in October, not every county saw a median price increase in the month. Only five of New Hampshire’s 10 counties saw an increase in median price over the same month last year, the largest — 19 percent — occurring in Rockingham County, where the median price was $231,000 in October 2011 and $275,000 in October 2012.
The other counties that saw a gain in residential median price in October were Belknap, 3.4 percent; Grafton, 15.5 percent; Hillsborough, 7.3 percent; and Merrimack, 15.7 percent.
The counties that saw a drop in median price in October from the same month last year were Carroll, -10.2 percent; Cheshire, -4.8 percent; Coos, -9.7 percent; Stafford, -5.3 percent; and Sullivan, -5.1 percent. – KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW