N.H. home sales fall again in June

There was yet another year-over-over decline in home sales and prices in June — the last decline that can be blamed on the sales peak fueled by last year’s stimulus tax break, according to the New Hampshire Association of Realtors.Home sales declined 13.6 percent statewide and prices fell by 4.3 percent to $220,000 compared to June 2010, the last month it was possible for first-time homebuyers to close a deal in order to earn an $8,000 tax credit. Indeed, as if to underline that point, prices declined by $9,850, slightly more than the tax break.The story is similar for the first half of the year, during which the median sale price was $205,000, a 5.5 percent drop, and sales were 9.6 percent lower than the first half of 2010.”This comes as no surprise,” said NHAR President Tom Riley. “As we’ve been saying right along, it’s hard to draw a fair comparison when last year there was an $8,000 incentive to buy.”The number of sales in 2011 was up 6.4 percent from 2009. Though the housing market was in a slump then, the two-year trend indicates “a period of slow stabilization rather than a spike in the middle,” said Riley.The steepest decline in home sales in June was in Cheshire County, where only 35 homes were sold — a 62.4 percent decline — and that’s with a median price drop of 6.3 percent.The steepest price drops for the month were Sullivan County’s 20 percent decline to a median sales price of $141,000 and Carroll County’s 19 percent drop to $168,000.Coos County has experienced the biggest price drop year to date. The average price there was $76,746, a 15.7 percent decline.Sales were most sluggish in Grafton County during the first half — only 293 sales, or an 18.6 percent decline.Only Belknap County saw a slight appreciation in median price for the month and the first half of the year: 9.6 percent and 3.7 percent.The number of sales in Carroll County rose 4.2 percent for the month and 2.5 percent for the half. — BOB SANDERS