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July 09. 2013 4:50PM

New Hampshire Business Newsreel

NH rental survey shows tight market

BEDFORD — Renters are still navigating a tight market, despite the addition of new rental housing in the southern portion of the state, according to New Hampshire Housing's annual Residential Rental Cost Survey.

Rents for two-bedroom apartments — the majority of apartments in the state — have remained relatively steady from last year, but when looking at median gross rents for all types of units, rents have still increased over the last several years, said the report, which was released Tuesday.

Since 2006, rents for all types of units have increased by 9.7 percent, and rents for two-bedroom apartments have increased by 7.3 percent. The gross median rent for the state is $1,018 per month, including utilities; however. Coos County has the lowest gross median rent at $652 per month, and Rockingham County has the highest at $1,099.

Overall vacancy rates remain below 4 percent, indicating a property owner's market.

"While it's good to see signs of construction activity, demand for affordable rental units remains high," said Dean Christon, executive director of New Hampshire Housing, in a prepared statement. "In addition, relatively high foreclosure rates and low sales activity over the past several years have created increased pressure on the rental market."

The survey is conducted each April by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center and New Hampshire Housing. The 2013 survey compares information on 33,367 market rate rental units across the state. Gross rents, which are used to standardize rental costs, are calculated by adding the dollar amount of utilities that tenants are expected to pay to the contract rent amount.

The report is available at nhhfa.org.

Program boosts small business lending

WASHINGTON — The U.S. Department of the Treasury released a report Tuesday showing that participants receiving capital through the Small Business Lending Fund boosted small business lending nationwide by $9 billion over baseline levels since the depths of the recession.

New Hampshire-based participants increased their small business lending by nearly $191 million, also over baseline levels, including a $17.4 million increase in the first quarter of 2013, the report said.

Bedford-based Centrix Bank & Trust was the best performer among New Hampshire lenders, increasing 40.6 percent over the baseline.

Last month, the Treasury released the First Annual SBLF Lending Survey, which estimated that participants have increased small business lending by an estimated 38,000 additional loans through the end of 2012, across all industries and in every region of the country.

"The program has supported increases in small business lending by Main Street banks to Main Street small businesses, helping to power the economic recovery in communities across America," said Deputy Secretary of the Treasury Neal Wolin in a press release.

Community banks participating in program have increased total business lending by 41.5 percent, versus a 5.5 percent median increase for a representative peer group of similar banks across median measures of size, geography, loan type, and financial condition, the report said.


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