In May, home sales up, median price down

Home sales continued to post strong year-over-year gains in May, though median price continues to lag behind last year’s figures, according to two new reports. Two May housing reports — one by RE/MAX of New England, the other by the New Hampshire Association of Realtors — both found that home sales were up in May from the same month the previous year, but that median price fell year over year.The NHAR report found that there were 1,221 residential home sales in the state in May, a 27.7 percent increase from the 956 last May and the fifth consecutive month of increased unit sales. Through May, there have been 4,440 residential home sales in the state, a 21 percent jump from the 3,670 residential home sales at the same time last year, it said.”I think it’s fair to say that we’re actually feeling this shift in activity, rather than just seeing it on a data sheet,” said John Rice, president of NHAR.The median sales price of those homes was $205,000, a 2.4 percent decrease from the median price of $210,000 last May, it said.On the bright side, six of New Hampshire’s 10 counties witnessed a median price increase in May: Cheshire County saw a month-over-month gain of 26 percent; Coos, 21 percent; Carroll, 11 percent; Sullivan, 10 percent; Grafton, 7 percent; and Rockingham, 2 percent.The counties that saw a decrease in median price in May were Belknap, where median price saw a month-over-month drop of -17 percent; Merrimack, -8.2 percent; Strafford, -6.3 percent; and Hillsborough, -3.4 percent.Each of New Hampshire’s counties saw unit sales increases in May, it found.On the other hand, condo sales are up both the number of units sold as well as median price. In May, 297 condo units were sold, a 21.7 percent increase from the 244 sold last May. The median price for condos in May was $159,000, up 11 percent from the median price of $143,000 in May 2011.The RE/MAX report, which uses MLS data, noted a similar trend in housing units, though with slightly different figures. According to that report, home sales in New Hampshire jumped 26.7 percent in May from the same month the previous year, from 1,198 units sold in May 2011 to 1,518 units in May 2012. Homes sold in May 2012 sat on the market an average of 125 days, three days longer than they did in May 2011.It found that median price fell just 1.2 percent year-over-year, from $194,900 in May 2011 to $192,500 in May 2012.Pending home sales increased 30.6 percent year-to-year – from 1,371 in May 2011 to 1,791 in May 2012 – which it said points to strong home sales throughout the summer. –KATHLEEN CALLAHAN/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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