Condominium prices hit a monthly record high in October.
The $219,900 statewide median figure bested May’s record of $214,450, according to the New Hampshire Realtors. The September figure stood at $195,000.
“My sense is what I’ve been told by folks anecdotally is the availability of condos within the $250 (thousand) and less range is increasingly tight, and that just tends to push prices up,” said Dean Christon, executive director and CEO of the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority
Meanwhile, sales of closed deals for single-family homes fell 5.8 percent in October compared to a year earlier. The median price stood at $277,500 last month, 4.7 percent higher than the $265,000 mark in October 2017.
Real estate watchers point to an 11.7 decline on the number of homes for sales last month versus a year earlier.
“I had people who would love to buy, but there is nothing out there enticing them to buy, so they’re staying put,” said Moe Archambault, owner and broker at Moe Marketing Realty Group in Bedford.
As for condo prices rising, he said: “You may have people getting out of renting but unable to purchase that single-family home and opt to purchase a condominium.”
There were 16.4 percent fewer condos for sale in October than a year earlier, according to the Realtors association.
The housing authority this week put out its housing market report, which gets issued three times a year.
“I think it continues to show we have a pretty tight housing market,” he said. “It continues to demonstrate a pretty strong economy, and that supports strong housing demand.”
Buying a condo at times could be cheaper than renting when factoring in tax considerations, Archambault said.
A townhouse condo on the market for $159,900 in Manchester with a 4.75 percent, 30-year, fixed mortgage would produce a monthly payment of $1,188 a month when factoring in principal, interest, taxes and mortgage insurance, he said.
With a monthly $265 condo fee, the monthly bill would total $1,453, he said.
The median rent for a two-bedroom apartment was $1,368 in Hillsborough County, according to the housing finance report. Archambault said Manchester rents are close to that mark.
Considering federal tax benefits, it would probably be cheaper to buy “than throwing away your money on rent,” Archambault said.
The rates for a 30-year fixed mortgage hit a U.S. weekly average of 4.81 percent as of Nov. 21, according to Freddie Mac, a company that guarantees mortgages by buying and repackaging them to investors. It was 4.94 percent the previous week.
The housing finance report indicated that someone with a $250,000 mortgage at 4.63 percent would pay $1,029 a month for principal and interest compared to $1,136 at 5.5 percent — $107 more a month.
Christon said earlier projections of future rate hikes “might have encouraged people to buy sooner.”
“When you start getting over 5 percent, people start thinking twice about it,” he said.
In another measure, the rate of mortgage foreclosures was down 37 percent for the first nine months of this year compared to the same timeframe in 2017.