Year-over-year sales are down by double-digit percentages for both condos and single-family homes in New Hampshire over the past two months.
But real estate agents aren’t necessarily panicking.
Realtor Rachel Eames listed a four-bedroom home on Deerfield Road in Allenstown on Wednesday afternoon for $259,000.
Within the first 48 hours, she already had two offers in hand. Four families already toured the home and seven others are scheduled by Monday.
And Eames expects to sell it above asking price.
“It’s not a downturn in the economy,” said Eames, past president of New Hampshire Realtors who currently operates Eames Realty Services in Concord and Newmarket. “That is an issue with what we have for inventory.”
According to New Hampshire Realtors, sales of single-family homes in January were off 13.9 percent from January 2018. In December, sales were 10.7 percent less than in December 2017.
Condo sales showed a sharper drop off of 20.9 percent year-over-year in January and down 22.7 percent in December.
Dave Cummings, director of communications for the New Hampshire Realtors, cautioned about focusing on a single month.
“Don’t go crazy over the 13.9 percent drop, but don’t crazy that we had another 9 percent increase in the median sales price,” Cummings said. “If you look at months supply and inventory, there’s so little on the market. That also speaks to fewer sales.”
January figures showed there were 484 fewer single-family homes on the market than in January 2018. January’s median sales price of $283,750 was a 9.1 percent jump over a year earlier.
In Hillsborough County, which includes Manchester and Nashua, finalized home deals were down 19.1 percent in January compared to a year earlier. Such sales in Rockingham County, which includes Portsmouth, were off only 1.1 percent.
Eames said people are looking to buy.
“What happens to the other 11 to 15 people who don’t get that house (in Allenstown)? They’re still out there looking for a house,” she said.
Eames said “mortgage rates have risen a smidge, and that’s a small effect” on sales.
Rates for a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage hit a U.S. weekly average of 4.94 percent in November, according to Freddie Mac, a company that guarantees mortgages by buying and repackaging them to investors. Rates have since fallen to 4.35 percent as of Thursday.
Moe Archambault, owner and broker at Moe Marketing Realty Group in Bedford, is running into inventory limitations as well.
This week, he listed 14 Doris Drive in Hooksett for $299,900. He has nine scheduled showings plus a Saturday open house.
“I can’t imagine that it will last the weekend,” he said.
“As far as closing and pending sales, my spring market started January 2 of this year,” he said. “It’s been very brisk for me.”
Last month’s 792 finalized home sales was the worst January showing in recent years. In January 2016, there were 926 such closings, 874 in January 2017 and 920 in January 2018.
Eames encouraged people to put their homes up for sale earlier than the traditional late March-April timeframe. For buyers, it’s sometimes a waiting game.
“You can’t see anything if it’s not on the market,” she said. “If you can’t shop, you can’t spend.”