As state’s real estate market shows more signs of strain, most NH homeowners gain in equity wealth

While state ranks 13th in the nation on ‘equity-rich’ list, home sales dove 26 percent in October

New data shows that New Hampshire residential property owners are among the most “equity-rich” in the nation, although the overall trend shows the state’s real estate market is on track to erode at least some of those gains.

According to ATTOM, a curator of real estate data nationwide, in the third quarter 55.1 percent of homeowners in the Granite State were considered “equity-rich,” meaning the combined estimated amount of their loan balances is no more than 50 percent of the property’s estimated market value. That puts the state 13th in the nation.October 22 Re Stats

In the second quarter the state ranked 15th, with 54 percent of homeowners deemed equity-rich.

Meanwhile, ATTOM’s third-quarter 2022 U.S. Home Equity percent Underwater Report shows that 48.5 percent of mortgaged residential properties in the United States were considered equity-rich, an increase from 48.1 percent in the second quarter and from 39.5 percent the third quarter of 2021. ATTOM data specific to New Hampshire shows there are 285,336 total outstanding mortgages. Of those, 3,408 or 1.2 percent are seriously underwater.

Among the 10 counties, Carroll had the highest percentage of equity-rich homeowners, while Hillsborough had the smallest percentage of homeowners who are underwater.

By county, here are the percentages of homes seriously underwater and equity rich:

  • Belknap, 1.4 percent, 63.5 percent
  • Carroll, 1.0 percent, 69.5 percent
  • Cheshire, 1.7 percent, 52.2 percent
  • Coos, 2.3 percent, 62.2 percent
  • Grafton, 1.7 percent, 59.5 percent
  • Hillsborough, 0.9 percent, 51.9 percent
  • Merrimack, 1.3 percent, 52.7 percent
  • Rockingham, 1.0 percent, 54.8 percent
  • Strafford, 1.5 percent, 51.7 percent
  • Sullivan, 1.5 percent, 57.2 percent

October sales data

There are market forces – rising interest rates, in particular – that threaten home equity and are cooling New Hampshire’s long-running red hot real estate market. That is evident in the most recent sales data from the New Hampshire Association of Realtors.

There were 1,290 closed single-family home sales in the state in October, according to the NHAR report, down 26 percent compared to the 1,744 sales a year earlier and 20 percent lower than the 1,608 sales recorded in September. There were 377 residential condominium sales, down from 478 in September and 467 in August.

Sales volume was also down in October, falling 11.1 percent from last year to $705.9 million for single-family homes and by 6.3 percent to $155.9 million for condos.

Another indicator of a slowing market is that properties are staying on the market longer – 27 days for a single-family and 22 for a condo in October, compared to 23 and 17 respectively in September.

And there is more inventory on the market – up almost 31 percent for single-families and up about 18 percent for condos.

“The US housing market is undergoing a major shift, and affordability continues to be an obstacle for buyers and sellers,” the Realtors write in their report. “Mortgage rates have doubled since March, and home prices remain elevated due to a limited supply of homes, although price gains are slowing at a quickening pace. As a result, many homeowners are waiting until market conditions improve to sell their home, while other sellers are increasingly cutting prices and offering concessions to attract a greater number of buyers.”

Among the state’s 10 counties, Rockingham continues to be the priciest, despite a slower pace in sales. Its October median price of $600,000 is almost $100,000 more than October 2021, and it far outpaces any other county. Its closest rival in October was Belknap County, which had a median home price of $494,950.

The county with the highest condo median sales price in October was Coos at $537,000, according to the Realtors’ data.

The state’s hottest submarket – the Seacoast – saw October sales of single-family homes fall to the lowest October level since 2011, according to statistics released by the Seacoast Board of Realtors.

Data show only 68 single-family properties sold in October, versus 93 in September and 109 in August. The monthly median price for a single-family home reached $732,000, highest for the year since June’s record $750,000 and up 32.4 percent from last year, according to the board. Condominium sales on the Seacoast showed 54 transactions, the fewest since 2013, compared to 67 in September and 68 in August. The monthly median of $553,732 is second highest behind June’s record $615,000.

The board draws its data from 13 sample communities: Exeter, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, North Hampton, Newmarket, Portsmouth, Rye, Seabrook, and Stratham.

“It seems clear that interest rates and sales prices are having an impact on the Seacoast real estate market,” said Jessica Ritchie of Great Island Realty in Portsmouth, president of the Seacoast Board of Realtors. “It’s hard to ignore a 5 percent mortgage interest rate rise over the last 12 months along with a 10.6 percent increase in median sales prices.”

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