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Lakes Region Real Estate Report - 1st Half 2010

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Posted 07-16-2010 at 02:34 PM by Roy Sanborn

We are half way through another year and you have to ask: “Are we having fun yet?”. In the communities covered by this Lakes Region of NH report, home sales have improved nicely but it certainly doesn’t feel like we are at the Six Flags Amusement Park. Every sale now seems to be fraught with unending complications and issues as a result of increased regulations and scrutiny of the lenders and underwriters. It feels more like Chevy Chase gone mad at Wally World. Despite these difficulties, there were 88 residential home sales for the month of June which is an 18% increase over last June’s total of 75 homes. Once again most of the sales, 52% of them to be exact, were below $200,000. There were four sales in the $1 million plus bracket and the average sales price came in at $292,566 compared to $262,119 last June.

For the first six months of the year, there were a total of 364 residential home sales compared to 306 for the first half of 2009. That’s a solid 19% increase. The average sales price so far this year came in at $298,945 compared to $254,071 for the first half on 2009. We are still pretty far below the $363,753 average sales price for the first six months of 2008, but we are certainly headed in the right direction on the number units sold and average price. There were sixteen homes over $1 million so far this year compared to just six in the first half of 2009. That seems to indicate that, at least in some quarters, there’s a positive outlook about investing in high end real estate. There also was an increase on sales below the $200,000 mark: there were 195 in the first half of 2010, 170 in 2009, and only 119 in 2008. There was a slight bump up in the $200-300,000 price range from 67 sales during the first half last year to 79 sales so far this year.

On a rolling 12 month basis there were 779 sales at an average sales price of $308,917 this past year ending 6/30/10 compared to 667 sales at an average $298,862 for the prior twelve month period. That’s a 17% increase in total sales over the past year which is really a very good sign. Actually, I think it is a great sign!

We seem to be posting small gains every month now. It is kind of like putting spare change away every night and pretty soon you can afford a night out on the town. The real estate market did not deteriorate overnight even though it might have felt that way, so it is going to take a while to get back to normal or to whatever the new “normal” will be. Buyers, sellers, and everyone else involved in the real estate world will adapt to that new market level. Hopefully the financial safeguards and lending guidelines that have been put in place will prevent another meltdown and also, hopefully, not choke the public’s ability to buy homes. The market has changed dramatically but with interest rates at unheard of lows, a huge inventory of homes to choose from, and incredible values to be found it is the perfect time for those with the desire and ability to purchase a home.

The desire for homeownership is solidly ingrained in our culture, so it is obvious that “ability” is the real stumbling block to a complete turn-round in the housing market and that hinges on a resurgent economy and job creation…

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