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August 28. 2013 12:36AM

July home sales up 23%, prices up 11% over 2012



Residential home sales in New Hampshire saw a year-over-year increase for the 20th consecutive month in July, outpacing July 2012 by 23 percent, while the price of those homes was up by 11 percent for the month as well, according to data released Tuesday by the New Hampshire Association of Realtors.

There were 1,637 residential sales in July, compared with 1,331 from a year ago, marking the most sales in a single month since August 2005. With a median price of $230,000 (compared with $207,900 in July 2012), it added up to a 37 percent increase in overall July sales volume, meaning the total dollars exchanged in those transactions.

"I read somewhere that it won't be long before the 'housing recovery' is simply referred to as 'housing,'" said 2013 NHAR President Bill Weidacher in a prepared statement. "We no longer have to qualify the recovery as a hypothetical or as something that we're forecasting or dreaming about. It's here."

Year to date numbers in 2013 continue to be on the upswing as well. For the first seven months combined, compared to 2012, closed sales are up 12 percent, median price is ahead by 10 percent, and sales volume saw a 17 percent increase.

The average days on the market for sold homes, meanwhile, dropped by 18 percent in July, from 107 days in 2012 to 88 days this year. The year to date comparison is a 13 percent decline, from an average of 118 days on the market over the first seven months of 2012 to 103 in 2013.

Pending sales increased by 23 percent in July and has risen 12 percent year to date.

And months' supply, which measures the number of months it would take to sell off the current inventory of homes at the current pace of sales, dropped from nearly 15 months in July 2012 to 11 in July 2013.

"We've been in a buyers' market for so long, some of those relatively new to the business are seeing things lean back toward the sellers for the first time," Weidacher said. "There's certainly more balance in the market than we've seen in years."

Condominium sales in New Hampshire, meanwhile, trended similarly in July, ahead by 25 percent in closed sales, 14 percent in median price, and 35 percent in sales volume. Year to date, those numbers are 15 percent, 7 percent and 22 percent, respectively.

Locally, nine of the 10 New Hampshire counties saw residential unit sales increases in July, with Sullivan County the only exception, and nine of 10 witnessed July median price increases as well, with only Coos seeing a decline.

U.S. home prices rose in June, extending a multi-month rebound, though the pace of gains cooled, suggesting higher mortgage rates may end up slowing momentum as the year winds down.

Home prices nationally rose 0.9 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis, according to the S&P/Case Shiller composite index of 20 metropolitan areas. Economists had expected them to match May's 1 percent gain.

Mortgage rates have climbed more than a percentage point since late May, largely on expectations that the Federal Reserve will soon start withdrawing its support for the economy by purchasing fewer bonds. Those monthly bond buys had kept long-term interest rates low.

Reuters contributed to this report.



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