Analysis of sales over $2,000,000 on Lake Winnipesaukee vs entire state of NH

By Chris Roche, Realtor, GRI, CBR.

I have recently compiled a number of graphs tracking the sales activity on Lake Winnipesaukee as compared to the activity in the entire state of NH. I went back to 2005 and tracked every year up to year to date for 2014 as of 8/31. I broke the sales activity into 4 different categories with color codings.

Blue – $2,000,000 to $3,000,000

Red – $3,000,000 to $4,000,000

Green – $4,000,000 to $5,000,000

Yellow – $5,000,000+



The data was pulled from the Northern New England Real Estate Network, for waterfront sales on Lake Winnipesaukee over $2,000,000 and in NH I searched all residential sales over $2,000,000. Keep in mind that these sales do not include non MLS transactions, direct sales or new construction build outs.

The sales activity shown, included the years in which we experienced a peak in the market in NH and on Lake Winnipesaukee. The activity also showed how the market reacted after the downturn in 2008, when Lehman Brothers, Bear Sterns and Capital AIG rocked the markets and the housing market had a major decline. The first thing drawn from the analysis is that Lake Winnipesaukee and NH in general caps out on the high end in the $5,000,000+ range. You can see from the charts that there are only 13 sales over $5,000,000 in the state of NH from 2005 to 2014 YTD.

There were a total of 13 sales that fell within the $5,000,000+ category over a 10 year period in NH. Of that total, 6 or 46% of the state wide total occurred on the shores of Lake Winnipesaukee.

When you drop the bar down to $4,000,000 to $5,000,000 there were only 12 sales in the entire state of NH during the same 10 year period. Of that total, 50% of the total sales were on Winnipesaukee.

When you get to the $3,000,000 to $4,000,000 range, there were 52 sales in the entire state of NH for the 10 year period. Whereas on Lake Winnipesaukee there were 31 sales in the same $3,000,000 range. Which at 60% of the statewide total, is considerably higher than the 46% to 50% ratio’s in the above two categories.

For the lowest tier of $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 price range, there were a total of 187 sales in the state of NH over the 10 year period. For Lake Winnipesaukee, there were a total of 70 sales in this price range. 37% of the statewide sales in this price point occurred on Winnipesaukee.

If you summarize for all  sales over the $2,000,000 price point, there were a total of 264 sales in the entire state of NH that sold over a 10 year period from 2005 to 2014 YTD. On Lake Winnipesaukee, for the same time period there were 113 sales.  Lake Winnipesaukee represents 43% of the entire state of NH sales above $2,000,000 over a 10 year period. This is an impressive statistic when you consider there are other major lakes in the Lakes Region, such as Squam Lake, which have recorded sales over $2,000,000.

The other interesting statistic that seems to pop up is that on the upper high end, the sales are pretty consistent year to year, even during the high end and down turns of the market.  The greatest amount of fluctuations in sales occurred in the $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 price point. It is obvious when you compare 2006 and 2007 in NH and on Lake Winnipesaukee to the year 2009 there was a dramatic shift downward in that price category and it literally froze the market for a period of time. Looking at the charts, we are seeing a trend of recovery. 2014 YTD in NH is showing a considerably recovery. Sales in the $2,000,000 to $3,000,000 category are already close to what it was in 2006 and 2007. Whereas on Lake Winnipesaukee we still have not jumped as quickly as the entire state of NH for that category.

If you look at the number of waterfront homes that are presently available for sale on Lake Winnipesaukee above $2,000,000, there are approximately 62 homes. During the year of 2013 there were 8 homes that sold on Winnipesaukee over $2,000,000. The above two numbers translate to a 7.75 year supply of inventory on Lake Winnipesaukee, in the $2,000,000+ price range.  This absorption of 7.75 years is well above the inventory level seen in a healthy market. It appears that the sales activity is starting to stabilize and bounce back to normal levels on Lake Winnipesaukee. However, that does not tell the whole story. What the historic sales activity does not show is all the homes that were built during the past 10 years.  There were a huge number of custom Adirondack homes built, where the owners either tore down an existing property or purchased a buildable lot on the lake. Not all of the construction contracts and sales activity for these newly built homes were reflected through the MLS system. If these higher priced homes were reflected in the numbers above, the sales volumes would be much higher.  It also appears that many of the individuals who purchase homes in these price categories were looking for new construction with many custom touches and built to their exact specifications.  Even though there were many fine resale properties available, and there still are, many of the buyers continue to build their dream home.

We have to realize that we are not in Vail, Beaver Creek (Colorado), San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, or Naples / Miami Florida, where higher end sales are much more prevailing because they attract international buyers, as well as more people from diverse states throughout the country. Based on historic sales unit volume, it will take some time to absorb the amount of inventory on Lake Winnipesaukee above the $2,000,000 price range. For sales below $2,000,000 however, there is a very strong market and the absorption period moves forward to healthy market conditions. The good news is that Lake Winnipesaukee has continually been a power house for high end sales in the entire state of NH and has consistently shown that it controls the majority of sales. We will see this trend continue.  With 71 square miles of water and a total shoreline of approximately 240 miles, there are a lot of waterfront properties on this gorgeous and desirable lake. Our demographics are strong. We are within an 8 hour drive in excess of 60 million people and Boston is less than a 2 hour drive.

Data and analysis compiled by Chris Roche, Realtor®, GRI, CBR. Chris is an agent at Roche Realty Group and can be reached via email at or by phone at (603) 520-7480 (cell) or (603) 279-7046 (office). 

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