The 17,000 resident “City on the Lakes” is nestled on the shores of three of New Hampshire’s largest lakes: Winnipesaukee, Winnisquam, and Opechee. With the picturesque Winnipesaukee River running alongside its downtown area, Laconia is a beautiful place to live and work. It is the largest city in the Lakes Region, with advantages that smaller towns often lack. Laconia contains three main villages, Downton Laconia, Lakeport, and Weirs Beach. By landmass, the city has a total area of 26.1 square miles, of which 19.8 square miles are land, and 6.3 square miles are water, comprising 23.93% of the city. Laconia is blessed with miles and miles of shorefront along Paugus Bay and Lake Winnipesaukee, New Hampshire’s largest lake, plus Lake Opechee’s entire shoreline and a long stretch of shoreline along Lake Winnisquam, New Hampshire’s 3rd largest lake.
The history of Laconia goes way back in time. A large Abenaki Indian Settlement called Aquadocton Village was located in the Weirs Beach area. In 1652, the Endicott Surveying Party visited this area, and this event is commemorated by Endicott Rock, a local landmark in Weirs Beach. Settlement occurred in 1761; however, for many years, it remained a part of Meredith and Gilford called Meredith Bridge. In 1765 lumber and grist mills and taverns were established. Laconia’s beautiful courthouse was built in 1822, followed by the historic Belknap Mill in 1823. The mill is the oldest unaltered brick textile mill in the country. During those early years, the Laconia Car Company was the city’s largest employer that built rail trolley, and subway cars. In 1839 the railroad brought freight and a large number of tourists to Weirs Beach. The Boston, Concord, and Montreal Railroad ran through Laconia’s historic Railroad Station, through Lakeport, and along Paugus Bay to Weirs Beach and Meredith. The railroad was later purchased by the state of New Hampshire in 1975, and the tracks are still used for freight purposes and a tourist train service by the Plymouth and Lincoln Railroad. Laconia was later established as a city in 1893.
The Laconia Municipal Airport is located just east of the city limit in Gilford. The airport includes 448 acres and is a regional general aviation facility. The airport sees frequent private jet travel.
Laconia is proud of its recreational trail called the W.O.W Trail, which runs 4.25 miles from Lakeport to Downtown and then to the Belmont town line and Winnisquams Scenic Trail.
Laconia, like so many once-vibrant New Hamshire Downtown’s, has propelled forward and has taken charge of its future. Like the green plant that grows in the crevice of a rock, Laconia has gained exciting new life. A new master plan set its course in 2017, followed by “Celebrate Laconia,” to celebrate the city’s 125th anniversary. A strategic investment in the community was then implemented by City leaders to build new opportunities in the city. Laconia can be proud today to look at the beautifully restored colonial theatre of Laconia that features live events and concerts in a venue like going back in time. Built in 1914, the $14.4 million renovations have received “wow” reviews to a wide range of performances in the 750 seat theatre, host to music, theatre, comedy, and civic events. The Colonial catalyst has transferred to other downtown shops, cafes, and the Cake Theatre in downtown, a performing arts theatre created by Recycled Percussion amplified to the thrill of a Las Vegas-style experience.
The New Hampshire Pumpkin Festival is another example of Laconia’s versatility in hosting unique cultural events… a huge event every fall in downtown; however, each June, for nine days, the city hosts Laconia Motorcycle Week, aka Bike Week, one of the country’s largest rallies celebrating 99 years of riding. The city also hosts the Laconia World Championship Sled Dog Derby, a well-attended fun event, and the Ironman 70.3 timberman triathlon that draws a large crowd of competitors and spectators.
Laconia’s growth has expanded to lakeport’s renaissance led by Scott Everett, a local product who wanted to “give back to the community he grew up in.” Scott’s vision for Lakeport was right on with the amazing renovation of the Lakeport Opera House, first opened in 1882. This venue is staging amazing performances for Lakes Region Residents. Scott’s newest project, a 29,500 square foot mixed-use commercial/residential complex, is a stunning addition to Lakeport.
The Laconia Country Club, established in 1922, is a private member-owned course. The championship layout 6,813-yard par 72 course is beautiful and in superb condition.
New Hampshire’s cruise ship, the MS Mount Washington, which holds 1250 passengers, is a proud tradition since 1872 is hard at work planning for 2022, its 150th year of cruising on Lake Winnipesaukee.
In Laconia, a city of approximately 17,000 residents, about 25% of its housing stock involves second homes or seasonal properties. There are approximately 8,554 housing units.
Laconia’s public school system is run by the Laconia School District. There is one high school, one middle school, and three elementary schools. Private schools include Holy Trinity school and Laconia Christian. Lakes Region Community College offers 28 degree and 37 certificate programs as well as numerous non-credit options.
Concord Hospital – Laconia is a community and regional acute care facility with a licensed bed capacity of 137 beds offering a wide range of medical services.
Laconia’s property tax rate is $18.86 per $1,000, which is 4.3% lower than the previous year.
Laconia offers a diverse system of 20 parks, playgrounds, and beaches, including Weirs Beach, Bartlett Beach, Opechee Cove, Opechee Point, and Bond Beach.
The city has a number of neighborhoods that offer deeded private beach rights on area lakes. There’s a wide selection of housing types, from planned communities like South Down Shores & Long Bay and Meredith Bay to numerous condominium communities, residential homes, and waterfront homes. For winter activities, Gunstock Mountain Resort is just up the road, and there’s plenty of snowmobile trails, cross country trails, ice skating, and skiing opportunities. The summer months explore with unlimited opportunities with the many marinas, yacht clubs, arcades, boardwalk at the weirs, and the world’s largest arcade at Funspot. A multitude of fine restaurants, pubs, cafes, and coffee shops can be found in Laconia, along with a multitude of cultural events.
Here’s a look at how the real estate market in Laconia has been performing over the past two years:
- In 2021 there were 239 single-family home sales. The median sales price was $308,000. The average sales price was $420,350. The lowest sales price was $51,724. The highest sales price was $4,900,000. Median days on the market was 7. Total sales volume was $100,463,694.
- In 2021 there were 187 condo sales. The median sales price was $251,000. The average sales price was $303,674. The lowest sales price was $67,000. The highest sales price was $1,100,000. Median days on the market was 6. Total sales volume was $56,787,188.
- In 2020 there were 275 single-family home sales. The median sales price was $279,900. The average sales price was $375,745. The lowest sales price was $68,000. The highest sales price was $1,875,000. Median days on the market was 18. Total sales volume was $103,329,955.
- In 2020 there were 187 condo sales. The median sales price was $236,000. The average sales price was $273,410. The lowest sales price was $74,000. The highest sales price was $867,900. Median days on the market was 12. Total sales volume was $51,127,759.
- At the present time, there are 21 single-family homes under contract where the median listing price was $369,000.
- At the present time, there are 26 condos under contract where the median listing price was $579,000.
- At the present time, there are only 12 single-family homes for sale. The median list price is $375,000. The average list price is $483,550. The lowest listing price is $119,000. The highest listing price is $1,425,000. Median days on the market is 76.
- At the present time, there are only 5 condos for sale. The median list price is $499,900. The average list price is $502,780. The lowest listing price is $239,000. The highest listing price is $730,000. Median days on the market is 5.
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. Town data was compiled by a NEREN search on 2/14/2022 at 11:00 am EST and is subject to change. Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market.