Yet another brokerage set to move

Another well-known Nashua real-estate office is closing.

Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, 337 Amherst St., will close Jan. 30 and consolidate its operations with the Amherst office 5 miles down the road.

“It’s just a prudent business decision,” said Richard Burbine, regional vice president for New Hampshire and Maine.

Burbine said the Nashua lease had expired, but stopped short of saying the declining real-estate market was the reason behind the closure.

“Any business decision made today in real estate can be a reflection of the market, of course,” he said.

The real-estate market in Greater Nashua took its biggest hit in at least a decade in 2008 amid a recession and a historic U.S. financial crisis brought on by record numbers of home foreclosures.

No jobs will be lost in the consolidation. Burbine said all of the roughly 25 agents in Nashua will work out of the Amherst office at 103 Ponemah Road No. 6.

This is at least the third Nashua real-estate office to close in less than a year.

In August, The Masiello Group office at 216 Daniel Webster Highway closed and consolidated its operations to the company’s offices in Hollis, Amherst and 436 Amherst St. in Nashua.

No agents were laid off, but one staff position was eliminated.

The economy and industry changes – including buyers turning to the Internet to shop for property – were blamed for the closure. Chris Masiello said the company no longer needed two large offices to serve Nashua properly.

In May, Re/Max Properties closed its office at 230 Amherst St. and moved all of its agents the company’s 169 Daniel Webster Highway office.

The company laid off two staff members, but no agents. The economy was also cited as a factor in the decision.

In 2008, the average sale price of homes in Hillsborough County fell more than 10 percent to $249,300 and the number of units sold dropped 12.9 percent, falling below 3,000 for the first time in at least 10 years.

Statewide, the average sale price fell nearly 10 percent to $235,000 and the number of units sold dropped 15 percent to 10,169, according to New Hampshire Association of Realtors data.

That’s down from a peak of 17,050 in 2004.

Experts predict recovery – here and across the nation – is unlikely in the first half of this year.

Foreclosures in Hillsborough County reached a record 990 through November alone – an increase of 368 over all of 2007. Statewide, foreclosures increased by more than 1,000 to 3,233.

Greater Nashua’s commercial real-estate market also suffered in 2008, although the declines weren’t as dramatic as the residential side. About 22 percent of Nashua’s office buildings were vacant by year’s end – an increase of 3 percent from 2007.