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Home sales are getting stronger in the Lakes Region...

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Posted 04-15-2010 at 01:10 PM by Roy Sanborn


It is great to finally start reporting increases in the number of residential homes sold in the Lakes Region. Scary, isn’t it? It is hard to get used to and I hope I am not jinxing anything by speaking positively, but things do seem to be improving a little as we head into spring and summer selling seasons. In March 2010 there were 59 homes that changed hands. That is a 31% increase over the 44 posted for March 2009! The average price for the homes sold in March 2010 came in at $272,539 compared to $218,530 last March. There was a little shift in the price range of homes that are selling; last March 41% of the homes that sold were over $200,000 while this March that category increased to 56% of the total sales.

For the first quarter of 2010 there was a 22% increase in sales over the same period last year; from 112 sales up to 137. The average sales price came in at $308,062 for the first quarter of this year compared to $237,480 last year which is almost a 30% increase. As I have stated previously, the increases in the average sales price for homes in the area is reflective of what is selling and should not be misconstrued to mean that home prices themselves are going up. So far this year, 50% of the sales have been over $200,000 and 27% has been over the $300,000 mark. In the first 3 months of 2009, only 39% of the sales were over $200,000 and only 18% of the sales were over $300,000. An increase in sales of the mid to higher priced homes would be very welcome.

On a rolling 12 month basis (for the year ending March 31, 2010) total sales were up about 12% compared to the 12 month period ending March 31, 2009. The average price was down slightly at $302,071 compared to $329,120 for the prior year, but that will improve if the upward trend in sales of higher priced homes over the past several months continues. We hope.
There appeared to be some pretty good deals last month. For example, a 1910 vintage 7 room, 3 bedroom, 1˝ bath, cape style home on 1.74 acres at 6 Singing Eagle Lane in Center Harbor was offered at $99,900 and sold above the asking price for $116,000. That was still only 49% of the assessed value of $237,200! Another great buy was found at 210 White Oaks Road in Laconia. This home has 2,162 square feet of living space, 3 bedrooms, 1˝ baths, hardwood floors, a brick fireplace and lots of 1950’s character. It was offered at $139,900 and sold for only $115,000 which was 52% of assessed value. There were some good buys on waterfront property as well. A year round cottage at 115 Kimball Drive in Moultonborough with 33 feet of frontage in Hermit Cove on Winnipesaukeewas offered at $349,900 and sold for $300,500 (or 66% of the town’s current tax assessment). It just goes to show that great affordability and value can be found on the big lake.

There were no sales over $1 million this month which is a little unusual, so the honors for the largest sale this month go to the waterfront property at 69 Sawmill Brook Rd in Alton. This very nice 1,875 square foot year round, 3 bedroom lake home built in 2006 on a level half acre lot with 100 feet of frontage, sandy beach, and U shaped dock. The home features floor to ceiling living room windows with 180 degree views of the lake, gas fireplace, bamboo flooring throughout, state of the art kitchen, and a 2 car garage. It was offered at $849,000 and sold for $790,000. Unlike the homes above, this home sold at well above its tax assessment of $614,000. That doesn’t mean that this buyer paid too much for the property or that he didn’t get a good deal. Many fine properties sell for over their assessed value and they can still be a great deal (as I suspect this home was).

Condition, location, functionality, amenities, and even some intangible qualities all play a role in whether a property provides the value that a buyer is looking for and makes that special property a good deal for him.

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