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New Hampshire not immune from slowdown.

Despite having the lowest unemployment rate in New England and the fourth best in the nation at 5.4%, the Granite State wasn’t immune from a slowdown in home sales this past year.

Condominiums faired the worst in the sales cycle, down -5.7% over 2009 with average prices remaining flat. Multifamily homes showed slightly lower declines of -4.2% over last year, while prices rose 6.2%. Single-family homes were also down, posting -3.0% drops this year but also experienced a 4.6% price increase.

Paul Hamblett, Broker/Owner of RE/MAX Coast to Coast Properties in Portsmouth, found the year to be steady. “2010 was reasonable and even after the tax credit expired we were still seeing first time buyers in this market.”

According to Hamblett, lower-priced homes continue to sell well, while homes in the $500,000 to $700,000 range are stalled. “Where we missed the boat at least in the first half of the year was with the move-up buyer.”

Despite a lack of move-up buyers, Hamblett’s business fared better this year than in 2009. His overall transactions were up 6% at 519 for the year with an average sales price of $286,000, higher than the state’s average of approximately $255,000.

Even with low unemployment numbers and a relatively high consumer confidence level, foreclosure filings were up 11% in October from the previous month, and up 7% from October of 2009, according to the latest RealtyTrac® U.S. Foreclosure Market Re-port. New Hampshire ranked 38th in the nation in total foreclosures reported in October.

Hamblett maintains that although short sales and foreclosures are about 15% of his overall business, it’s going to be an increasingly important aspect in 2011 as experts anticipate a continued rise in foreclosure rates attributed to lower-than-average home values.

According to the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS®, residential home sales experienced several months of decreases from July 2010 through November 2010.

In June, according to NNEREN, the average single-family home price was $229,425; by November, that number fell by more than 10% to $204,450.   However, issues with tightened lending practices have not impacted loans in the Seacoast area according to Hamblett who has been able to facilitate loans for all of his customers in 2010. “Lenders just want you to have a job, history of paying your bills and money to put down.”


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