UNH/BIA poll: Most Granite Staters pessimistic about buying a house
Survey shows that optimism about market is fading as prices remain high
Sixty-two percent of Granite Staters surveyed believe that it is a bad time to buy a house in New Hampshire, according to a new survey from the University of New Hampshire and the Business and Industry Association. And about 46 percent of state residents are spending more than 30 percent of their income toward housing.
The survey is the latest indication that a pandemic-fueled housing price frenzy has dampened optimism for many, and that homeowners and renters are feeling squeezed.
About half of the state – 52 percent – say that affordable housing is a “very serious” problem, while an additional 33 percent call it “somewhat serious.” Democrats and independent voters are more likely to be concerned about affordable housing than Republican voters are, the survey found.
The survey findings, part of the BIA’s Report on Consumer Confidence, come as the state’s housing prices have stayed high despite a spate of interest rate increases by the Federal Reserve designed to cool down the economy.
According to the NH Association of Realtors, the median sales price in January 2023 was $415,000, up 4 percent from January 2022. But while prices are high, sales have taken a hit.
There were just 626 closed sales across the state in January – a 28.5 percent drop from the previous January, the association reported. And the volume of sales is down 22.1 percent in the last 12 months; in January it was $330 million. New listings have also dropped, from 945 single-family homes in the month of January 2021 to 643 in January 2023.
Housing advocates and analysts in the state say the decrease in housing availability has driven up both rents and sales prices, and has forced many families to continue renting until they can find a reasonably priced home.
That dynamic appears to be hurting lower-income families especially. Ninety-one percent of New Hampshire households making less than $45,000 a year reported spending more than 30 percent of their income on housing, the UNH survey found; and 69 percent of households making between $45,000 and $75,000 reported the same.
Personal finance experts say 30 percent is the maximum of income that should ideally be spent toward housing.
While respondents were downbeat on the prospect of buying a house in New Hampshire, many – 43 percent – believe it is a good time to sell a house, the survey found.
But that belief depends on personal experience. Fifty-eight percent of renters believe it is currently a great selling environment, but only 41 percent of actual homeowners share that view.
The survey involved 863 New Hampshire residents and was conducted online, according to UNH.
This story was originally produced by the New Hampshire Bulletin, an independent local newsroom that allows NH Business Review and other outlets to republish its reporting.