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May 19. 2014 6:15PM

Pending sales of condos in NH are up significantly

The market for condominiums is getting hotter in New Hampshire.

Fresh numbers from the New Hampshire Association of Realtors show a 7.9 percent hike in pending sales for condos in April compared to April 2013.

Going in the opposite direction were single-family homes, which experienced a 4.8 percent decline in pending sales.The median sales price for condos rose 4.7 percent to $161,000 last month over a year earlier, compared to a 3 percent hike for single-family homes to $212,250.

Condo “numbers (showed) a big difference” last month, said Alan DeStefano, the association’s president, who also owns three real estate offices in the Newfound Lake area.

DeStefano cited more young people getting into the market as well as more interest in vacation homes, two factors helping to fuel interest in condos.

As for the overall residential market, DeStefano doesn’t foresee a big year.

“We’re not expecting 2014 is going to have any significant gains,” he said. “It’s going to stay the course through the end of this year.”

For sales that closed during April, sales were off 7.9 percent for single-family homes and 8.1 percent for condos when compared to April 2013.

For the first four months of 2014, sales of single-family homes were down 9 percent while condominiums were 6.5 percent lower compared to the January-through-April 2013 period.

Meanwhile, RE/MAX released its monthly housing report for New England showing the fourth straight month of year-over-year sales declines in 2014. Pending sales rose 15.4 percent in April over a year earlier while median prices rose in every state, except in Connecticut and Vermont.

RE/MAX reported sales of New Hampshire housing units dropped by 7.9 percent in April while the median price rose 2.6 percent over last year to $200,000. Pending sales were up 5.3 percent.

DeStafano said buyers getting loans “still is an arduous task, and that isn’t going to change anytime soon.”

The winter weather also kept potential buyers and sellers on the sidelines.

“The appetite for purchasing certainly was much lower, but once the weather changed, it’s absolutely exploded,” he said. “It’s a little bit of pent-up demand and mostly just the attitude of the buyer out there. They just need to see some green on the trees and some snow on the ground.”

The median prices for single-family homes and condos are increasing because there is less inventory offered, he said. The foreclosure market also is slowing, allowing for a rise in the median price, the point at which half the properties sell for above that amount and the remaining half below it.

Dennis Delay, an economist with the New Hampshire Center for Public Policy Studies in Concord, said the state netted 10,000 jobs in the year ending April 2014.

But stronger lending requirements and shifting demographics don’t translate that gain into a surge for housing.

He said potential twenty- and thirty-something buyers are waiting longer to cement long-term relationships, start families and purchase homes.

“They’re more likely to rent and less likely to buy a home,” Delay said.

And older workers might worry about the security of their jobs. Some homeowners also owe more on their house than they could hope to recoup from a possible sale, he said.

“I think there’s a lot of cases where people would have liked to have moved, to either trade up or trade down in the case of baby boomers, but probably can’t do it because of the current (economic) environment,” Delay said.


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