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NH homes spiked 5.7% in first two months of 2018, may be harbinger of record year ahead

By MICHAEL COUSINEAU
New Hampshire Union Leader

March 19. 2018 2:53PM
Phil Smart of Allison James Estates & Homes talks about the real estate market while giving a tour of a new 3,200-square-foot estate-style home at Carriage Hill Estates in Hooksett in April 2017. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER FILE)



MANCHESTER — Home sale prices rose 5.7 percent during the first two months of 2018 compared to the same time last year and could foreshadow a record year for prices.

The median price for single-family homes sold in January and February stood at $259,900 versus $245,950 in early 2017, according to the New Hampshire Realtors.

Grafton County saw the biggest percentage price gain, 20.4 percent, this year, while Sullivan County has experienced the biggest drop, at minus 17.8 percent.

Hillsborough County, which includes Manchester and Nashua, rose 2 percent through February, to $271,000.

“2018 has started with a bang,” said Rachel Eames, a past president of the New Hampshire Realtors who operates Eames Realty Services in Concord and Newmarket.

The median price for single-family homes statewide for all of last year came in at $266,000, only $4,000 short of the 2005 record.

“I’m feeling we’re going to have as good a year if not better,” she said Friday. “I would not be surprised if we encroached that $270,000 mark.”

January and February are typically the year’s slowest months, but Eames said she has booked the equivalent of 40 percent of her entire 2017 gross sales during the first 2½ months of 2018.

Moe Archambault, owner and real estate broker at Moe Marketing Realty Group in Bedford, said he expects prices to climb this year.

“I think we’ll have about the same appreciation value as we did in 2017,” he said.

The median price statewide rose 6.5 percent last year over 2016.

Archambault said buyers are pouncing on new housing options.

“They are unable to find what they’re looking for in a resale home and even if they find something in a resale home, by the time they’re done renovating and make it to their home, they’re almost better off to build new,” said Archambault, the official marketing representative for new home developments in Dunbarton and Hooksett.

Meanwhile, a housing market report from the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority released last week said sellers have the advantage over buyers.

“It’s a seller’s market in New Hampshire: Home buying is extremely competitive due to low inventory,” the report said. “First-time homebuyers and empty-nesters who want to downsize are competing for the same types of homes.”

Statewide median gross rent, including utilities, for a two-bedroom unit has risen nearly 14 percent in the past five years.

In 2017, the median price ranged from $818 in Coos County to $1,409 in Rockingham County. Hillsborough County saw $1,384.


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