Originally published by: fosters.com on September 24, 2017 at 3:15AM
Author: Paul Briand
PORTSMOUTH — What spark July lacked in the region’s residential real estate market was more than made up with a bonfire of sales in August.
Single-family home sales in August eclipsed the volume in July as well as August 2017 by more than $30 million in the 17 communities tracked by Seacoast Media Group.
The Portsmouth-based Seacoast Board of Realtors said home sales “rallied from a sleepy July” to beat multiple records in the 13 communities it tracks.
“I think this strong August reflects positively, not only on the quality product we are selling, but also a steady, unfaltering demand for Seacoast real estate,” said Todd Hudson, association president and founder/broker of Red Post Realty in Portsmouth. “The shortage of available inventory only intensifies that demand and continues to push sales prices up.”
The association tracks 13 communities in its monthly trends report – Exeter, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, North Hampton, Newmarket, Portsmouth, Rye, Seabrook and Stratham.
According to its data, total available inventory is off by 23.6 percent, yet single-family sales recorded the strongest August in at least five years. Low inventory and high demand normally produce higher prices, which was the cast for home prices in the region. The association reported the August monthly median single-family sales price reached a new all-time high of $473,750, up $53,750 from a year ago.
Total residential real sales totaled $132.7 million versus $101.4 million this August over last August, according to an analysis of Rockingham County Registry of Deeds data tracked by Seacoast Media Group in 17 sample communities – Brentwood, East Kingston, Epping, Exeter, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, Kensington, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, Newmarket, North Hampton, Portsmouth, Rye, Seabrook and Stratham.
The 30.8 percent jump in volume was the greatest month-over-month increase since May 2016 when it was 54.6 percent.
Single-family home sales led the way in the region. According to the data, 197 houses sold for a total of $105.1 million in August 2017 compared to 163 houses totaling $72.6 million in August 2016, a 44.7 percent difference. The average price of a house was $623,255 in the SMG sample communities versus $536,141 last year.
Residential condominium sales saw a decrease of 4.3 percent during the period – from $28.8 million on 70 sales last year to $27.5 million on 81 sales this year. The average price also dropped – from $343,321 to $305,732.
In Portsmouth, sales reflected the regional trend – home sales were up, condo sales were down, only that home sales were way, way up in the city.
The city recorded 31 home sales totaling $18 million compared to 19 home sales last year totaling $8.8 million, a difference of 104 percent. Three homes sold for more than $1 million – on Currier’s Cove for $1.3 million, on Middle Street for $1.03 million, and on Marcy Street for $1.3 million.
There were 17 condo sales worth $9.1 million, down from the 21 units that sold for $13.7 million last year.
The town of Hampton experienced slight gains in houses and condos – 8.2 and 2.2 percent respectively. In Exeter, home sales dipped 53 percent while condo sales climbed 128.5 percent.
In Rockingham County as a whole, single-family sales were up 18.1 percent, while condo sales were up 14.7 percent, according to the August trends report from the New Hampshire Association of Realtors (NHAR).
Like the Seacoast, like the county, the trending issue statewide is lack of inventory, as it has been for several months.
“Competition is expected to remain fierce for available listings,” the association said.
That competition is reflected in the days on market statistic provided by the NHAR. The days on market average for this August was 40 compared to 50 last year for houses. It was 52 versus 64 for condos.
The inventory issue was underscored by the New Hampshire Housing Finance Agency, which said in a September 2017 report that “inventory of homes for sale has decreased and in active markets the lack of inventory likely is slowing the pace of sales. While interest rates are still low, it is likely that they will slowly increase over the next year.”
The NHHFA added: “Potential entry-level homebuyers are contending with a low inventory of homes near employment opportunities. Their efforts to buy a home may be challenged by high student debt, stagnant wages, and stricter lending requirements for mortgages. And, young professionals and older individuals who are downsizing their households often are competing for similarly sized, priced and located houses and rental units.”