Outgoing Realtors Association president urges NH lawmakers to stay focused on affordability
‘There is movement, but it’s not happening fast enough,’ says Adam Gaudet
As he looks back on 2022, Adam Gaudet, outgoing president of the NH Association of Realtors, sees what he describes as a “mixed bag” in the state’s residential real estate market, depending on whether you were a seller or a buyer.
“Many sellers received top dollar offers with little to no contingencies for much of 2022,” said Gaudet, owner/broker of 603 Birch Realty in Concord. “Demand continues to outpace the supply, making it a tough year for buyers. Buyers competed heavily in the spring market, many of those who weren’t successful are still looking, but are now facing much higher interest rates and can’t afford the same price point they could a year ago.”
Those conditions are likely to hold over into 2023, as indicated by the data trends in the latest monthly report from the NHAR, which showed that median sales prices in November were up over a year ago..
“Housing affordability continues to be a major roadblock for market participants, with mortgage rates more than double compared to this time last year,” said the report. “Buyers are delaying home purchases in hopes rates will drop, while many sellers are holding off on listing their homes due to weakening buyer demand, unwilling to trade in their current lower rates for significantly higher borrowing costs on their next property. As a result, existing home and pending home sales have continued to slow as we move into winter.”
Nationwide, the combined factors of higher interest rates and still-high home prices has significantly slowed the pace of new mortgage loans.
Residential property mortgages in the third quarter of 2022 dropped 19 percent from the second quarter of 2022 – the sixth quarterly decrease in a row – and down 47 percent from the third quarter of 2021 – the biggest annual drop in 21 years, according to ATTOM, curator of real estate data nationwide.
According to Realtor.com, soaring borrowing costs have caused monthly payments to increase significantly, with the average homebuyer paying 77 percent more on their loan per month compared to the same period a year ago.
The high price of residential real estate has been a concern in New Hampshire, in particular when it comes to affordable workforce housing. It was one of the issues Gaudet made a priority during his 2022 tenure as NHAR president.
Asked if there was forward movement in that respect, Gaudet said: “There is movement, but it’s not happening fast enough. We hear from every corner in New Hampshire that affordable housing is a major concern from residents and employers. We need our lawmakers to stay focused on this important issue, their constituents are begging for it.”
Gaudet is being succeeded as president by Ben Cushing, regional manager at the Hanover office of Four Seasons Sotheby’s International Realty.
Cushing was elected as the NHAR’s 70th president during Cushing’s installation ceremony at the Bank of New Hampshire Stage in Concord earlier in December. The Realtors Association is the state’s largest trade association with 7,500 members statewide.
He said his primary objective will be to continue the fight for housing availability amid the growing inventory and affordability crisis.
“A cornerstone of the American dream is homeownership, and sadly that has become increasingly unrealistic for many over the past several years,” Cushing said at the installation. “As available inventory has shrunk to alarming levels, NHAR has worked hard to encourage responsible development while fighting against impediments to it, and we will continue those efforts throughout 2023 and beyond.”