Buy Land in New Hampshire — They’re Not Making it Anymore

Land for sale

The science is in and the more trees a state has, the happier and less stressed the residents are. Forested land is essential to our survival. So when searching for a great state to move to find the greenest state is a great place to start—a place we can self-reflect and appreciate the beauty of mother nature. According to the Department of Agriculture, the state with the second highest forest area is New Hampshire, with 81.9% covered. The only other state with a higher percentage is our neighbor Maine at 88.8%.

New Hampshire’s forests are a big attraction and as Mark Twain stated, “buy land, they’re not making it anymore.” Well, it looks like Twain’s often-quoted expression has been given careful attention in New Hampshire.

I’ve researched land sales in New Hampshire for the last six years and have found a steady dose of activity. However, during the COVID19 Pandemic, I found a staggering increase in sales activity. From 2019-2021 individual land sales increased by 83.1% to 3,166 sales. Total land sales volume increased 136.4% during this same period to $244,245,720! Yes, Covid19 certainly expanded the boundaries of our personal space. During the pandemic, people figured if they were going to be cooped up for the duration of this thing, they might as well have a little more space and a yard. Well, it looks like many people heeded Twain’s advice and purchased a plot of earth to call their own. New Hampshire was one of the states that experienced this sudden increase.

Here’s a breakdown of the statewide land sales:

2017: 1,711 sales, 134 median days on the market, highest sales price $2,800,000, the median sales price was $55,400, the average acreage was 12.4 acres, total sales volume was $169,769,283. The highest sale involved a 12.4-acre waterfront lot on Squam Lake with 1,420′ of shorefront, which sold at $2,800,000.

2018: 1,690 sales, 112 median days on the market, highest sales price $2,350,000, the median sales price was $60,000, the average acreage was 14.9 acres, total sales volume was $175,493,352. The highest sale involved another waterfront lot on Squam Lake with 12 acres and 320′ of shorefront, which sold at $2,350,000.

2019: 1,729 sales, 113 median days on the market, highest sales price $1,800,000, the median sales price was $60,000, the average acreage was 14.2 acres, total sales volume was $179,030,672. The highest sale involved a 2.37-acre building lot just off the shoreline of Little Harbor in the Seaside coveted neighborhood of New Castle, which sold at $1,800,000.

2020: 2,717 sales, 111 median days on the market, highest sales price $2,700,000, the median sales price was $65,000, the average acreage was 13.3 acres, total sales volume was $296,146,326. The highest sale involved 80 acres in Brookfield with 1,000′ of frontage on spring-fed Kingswood Lake and included a 3,320sf house, which sold at $2,700,000.

2021: 3,166 sales, 55 median days on the market, highest sales price of $4,280,000, the median sales price was $79,900, the average acreage was 15.6 acres, total sales volume was $423,276,392. The highest sale involved a 6.75-acre site in Tilton approved for a self-storage facility, including 67,050 sf, which sold at $4,280,000. The second highest sale included 3,146 acres in Hebron with a 5,000 sf steel garage included, which sold at $3,400,000

2022: 2,302 sales, 34 median days on the market, highest sales price of $6,000,000, the median sales price was $98,000, the average acreage was 15.6 acres, total sales volume was $366,019,319. The highest sale involved a 12.4-acre waterfront lot on Squam Lake with 1,420′ of shorefront. This is the same lot that sold in 2017 for $2,800,000, only this time, in 2022, it sold for $6,000,000. That’s a huge bounce of appreciation in land value!

2023: To date, there have been 104 land sales, 66 median days on the market, highest sales price of $7,200,000, the median sales price was $90,750, total sales volume so far is $23,812,701. The highest sale so far this year included 7,965 acres in Pittsburg! Featuring 4 scenic ponds, a stream frontage, miles of snowmobile trails, and ATV roads sold at $7,200,000.

In 2023 there are 242 pending land sales, with the highest list price at $5,000,000. There are presently 976 active land listings for sale, with the highest list price at $6,000,000.

You can see from the above that there was plenty of land sales activity over the past 6 years. The days on the market took a big drop during the pandemic, especially in 2021 and 2022, because of the huge demand to get out of dense urban areas. From the Seacoast to our lakes, mountains, and rivers, New Hampshire offers something for everyone looking to escape and enjoy the splendor and rural quality of life the state is known for.

This article was written by Frank Roche. Frank is president of Roche Realty Group with offices in Meredith and Laconia, NH, and can be reached at (603) 279-7046. A NEREN search on land listing compiled sales data; due to NEREN guidelines, land parcels may include structures but be listed under land. Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market.

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