N.H. home sales rise, prices fall in Feb.

The number of homes sold in New Hampshire continued to increase in February, and the median sale price continued to fall, according to two monthly reports released by the New Hampshire Association of Realtors and RE/MAX of New England.Both reports are based on Multiple Listing Service data, though the numbers are slightly different.RE/MAX, which included both condo and residential sales in its data, said that the number of units sold in February rose 11.3 percent and the median price dropped by 3.1 percent, to $170,500.That’s a similar pattern to most of New England, although the change on both ends is smaller in the Granite State.Single-family home sales in February rose 13 percent, according to the Realtors’ data, while the median prices fell 2.8 percent to $179,900.Year-to-date, the trend is more pronounced, with sales up 16.4 percent and prices down 6 percent to $187,650 compared to the first two months in 2011.Sullivan County saw the biggest boost, with sales doubling year to date and almost doubling in February. Sales in Carroll County fell year to date — by 4.3 percent — and Grafton County saw a 7.7 percent decline in sales compared to last February.In terms of prices, Belknap experienced the biggest drop both year-to-date and in February, with prices declining 18.3 percent, to $145,000, and 29.9 percent, to $127,500, respectively.The median price in Coos County rose by 24.6 percent year-to-date, while Sullivan County prices shot up the most in February, by 69.6 percent, to $106,000.As for the state’s biggest county, Hillsborough, prices rose 5 percent, to $200,000 in February.When it comes to condo sales, they rose 7.1 percent year to date and 7.7 percent in February, while the price dropped 5.5 percent year-to-date and 8 percent in February.Both organizations put a positive spin on the data. RE/MAX noted the number of building permits for single-family homes and apartments nationally rose by 5 percent in February — the biggest increase since October 2008.”The housing market is strengthening and prices will eventually adjust accordingly,” said RE/Max New England’s executive vice president, Jay Hummer.The Realtors Association noted that February was the third consecutive month with an increase in sales, with the most homes sold since 2007.”As sales increase and inventory decreases, we’ll gradually move out of this decidedly buyer-friendly market. We’re still in the early stages of that process,” said John Rice, the association’s president. Rice is an agent with Tate & Foss Sotheby’s International Realty in Rye. — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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