Some studies place moving to a new location as one of the top ten most stressful situations in a person’s life. Whether it makes the top ten list or not, no one would question that moving to a new state, city, or town is stressful. Books and other sources give a myriad of advice on how to lower the stress factor of a life-changing move. One piece of advice that ranks high, if not first, on the advice scale is researching before you relocate. The “Lifestyle Finder” (City/Town Comparison) can make the research process easier. This innovative program is available free on the Roche Realty Group website, www.rocherealty.com. It gives a vast amount of information on cities and towns, including average and median sales prices and the number of properties sold over the three most recent years. It also provides information on everything from population demographics, schools, ect. If you are moving to or from the Lakes Region, this tool is invaluable. It is located on the first page of rocherealty.com; scroll down and click on the box that says City/Town Comparisons.
Let’s say you are planning a move to Florida. You are considering several cities, including Fort Lauderdale, Miami, Sarasota, Stuart, and Daytona. Within seconds you can have information on each place to help in the decision process: population, average income, average age, gender ratio, number of households, the percentage with children, property ownership and rental percentage, education levels, crime rate, age breakdown, annual precipitation, analysis of employment fields, cost index of goods and services, details on the school systems including information on all the public and private schools, enrollment, demographics, and most importantly average home prices sold with detailed statistics over three years. The “Lifestyle Finder” (City/Town Comparison) will also give you information on some of the businesses in and around the town or city. If a local hospital, golf course, or your favorite store is a must in the criteria for relocation, the program will give you a good start on some of these details. Information on parks, sports facilities, medical services, hotels, transportation, places of worship, restaurants, and shopping is embedded in the program.
The “Lifestyle Finder” (City/Town Comparison) also allows you to make a comparison of communities. As an example, in seconds, you can compare the statistics for Miami and Stuart with regard to population, average income, average age, gender, education, employment, weather, average home value, housing inventory, and other factors. The data provided under buying power alerts you to the fact that goods and services in Miami are 26% less expensive than in Stuart. On the other hand, the 2020 average home value in Stuart is $321,848 as compared to $382,572 in Miami. It also shows the population for Miami at 1,771,058 versus Stuart at 66,010, and the average income in Stuart is $82,933, were in Miami, it’s $71,537.
If you are moving into the Lakes Region, you can use the “Lifestyle Finder” (City/Town Comparison) to compare the different towns of interest. For instance, if you know you want to live near Lake Winnipesaukee but you are not sure what side of the lake you want to be on, you could compare the towns of Meredith and Wolfeboro. When you put these two towns into the “Lifestyle Finder” (City/Town Comparison), you will see they are similar in many considerations, including population size, where Wolfeboro has only 294 more residents, and average income where Meredith has an average of $83,853 versus Wolfeboro at $80,119. Wolfeboro is slightly larger at 60 square miles versus Meredith’s 49 square miles. The average home value in Meredith is $488,469, and in Wolfeboro, it is $382,177. According to the cost index, goods and services are 2% more expensive in Wolfeboro. Based on these factors, a person relocating to the area can focus on other parameters to determine which town he or she prefers.
One of the most valuable features of this tool is the search mode on home sale prices. It is important to have some idea of what your dollar can buy in prospective relocation areas. “Lifestyle Finder” (City/Town Comparison) will provide you with profiles on recent home sales and price trends specific to the city or town you are searching for. In seconds, you can find average sale prices in the US ranging anywhere from the most to least expensive. You might think that the famous 90210 (Beverly Hills) has the highest sale prices for homes. This year’s average sale price certainly was high at $5,731,236; however, the averaging income was $242,369 but even higher was Atherton, California at $8,925,442, and their average income is $303,325. On the other end of the spectrum, the average sale price of a home in Flint, Michigan was $50,464 in 2020, with an average income of $46,782.
If you pull up Gilford, NH, you will see the average selling price for 2020 was $374,982, and the average income is $98,723. Let’s compare Gilford to San Francisco, CA. In San Francisco, the average selling price is $1,599,291, and the average income is $103,613. So you can see from the above comparison of Gilford to San Francisco there is not much difference with regard to the average income. However, the cost of purchasing a home is substantially higher than Gilford. The staggering cost of acquiring a home in the “Bay Area” is obviously the reason why there are so many couples and families moving out of San Fransico to outlying suburbs or different states with more affordable housing. Major cities throughout the country are experiencing similar “out-migration” trends due to the cost of living, property values, taxes, traffic congestion, and basic quality of life. Just like we have seen “out-migration” trends from Massachusetts into New Hampshire, metro areas like New York City, New Jersey, Hartford, Connecticut, Seattle, Chicago, and Los Angeles are seeing similar trends. These trends are not all due to the Coronavirus pandemic alone; it’s also because of the factors noted above. In the long run, I feel the Lakes Region of New Hampshire will always be a “go-to” location for the northeast because of our quality of life and abundant natural resources. Additionally, New Hampshire is very fortunate was named the “most livable state in the nation.”
The “Lifestyle Finder” (City/Town Comparison) instantly and easily takes you from uncertainty to a place of knowing – a perspective that helps eliminate the stress of relocating. To access the “Lifestyle Finder” (City/Town Comparison), please visit our website, www.rocherealty.com, click the buyer tab, select compare USA towns and cities and you are on your way to exploring thousands of cities and towns!
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 Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market.