N.H. home sales plummet in November

It was not a good November for the New Hampshire housing market. According to statistics from the New Hampshire Association of Realtors, sales fell 29 percent compared to November 2009, and prices dropped about 3 percent. Condos suffered even a greater setback a 35 percent decline in sale and a 5.6 percent decline in prices. In reporting the numbers, the association emphasized that they should be viewed in comparison to sales that were reported a year earlier, when homeowners expected the $8,000 tax credit would expire. But it was extended until closings as late as September. “Just as we didn’t get overly excited last November, when unit sales were drastically ahead of where they had been a year earlier, we’re not overly discouraged by the fact that this November unit sales are 27 down from that 2009 level,” said NHAR President Monika McGillicuddy, a 25-year veteran of the real estate industry and an agent with Prudential Verani in Londonderry. There were actually 28 more sales reported in November 2010 — 838 — than in October, though the median price dropped by $3,000 to $202,000. Last November, the price was $208,000. Year to date, the data is more of a wash, with the average price increasing, but only by 1.4 percent, and the number of homes sold falling by 3.1 percent. The biggest bounce-back over the year, has been the 14.5 percent price hike in Coos County, though with its median home price of $84,250 still lagged far behind the rest of the state. Year over year, Carroll county lead the pack with a 15.5 percent increase to $207,500. Second-home sales has picked up a bit, “but it’s surprising there isn’t more activity,” said Jim Lyon, a Conway Realtor. Buyers, he said, “are still in the driver’s seat, even in highly desirable properties, with a view or waterfront.” In terms of homes sold, Hillsborough — the state’s largest county — suffered the most, with a 9.7 percent drop year to date and a 33.2 percent drop year over year. Nancy Philbrick of Prudential Verani’s Manchester office, said she was hoping for more buyer interest in light of the low interest rates and the bargain prices. “I’ve been in the business for 26 years, and I’ve never seen a market like this,” said Philbrick. She called the market “extraordinary,” adding that buyers save more today than when the tax credit — which she called “the kickback” was in effect. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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