Memorial Day Weekend Arrives in the Lakes Region!

Memorial Day — rows of gravestones with flags in military cemetery

The long-anticipated Memorial Day weekend has arrived after a long winter, and the Lakes Region is bustling with activity. At the end of May, we all have summer barbecues and parties with family and friends on the brain. The Lakes Region weather predictions look very favorable, with sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-70s to low-80s. Yes, it’s the unofficial beginning of summer for a relaxing three-day weekend. 

Let’s take a look at the true meaning of Memorial Day. We observe this special day in remembrance of those who fought and died for our freedom. Memorial Day was formerly referred to as Decoration Day after the Civil War in 1868 to commemorate the sacrifices of the Civil War soldiers. It then became an official federal holiday in 1971. 

Around the Lakes Region this sunny weekend, you will see a myriad of families enjoying their extended weekend with wishes of Happy Memorial Day extended. This phrase should come from the heart, from a place of grateful joy for the life we live today in our beautiful Lakes Region that was provided to all of us by the major sacrifices of generations before. Let us all reflect on the men and women who gave their lives for all of us and for the freedom of our wonderful country. 

Here are a few events you might want to attend: 

A short parade and a brief ceremony on South Main Street and dockside in Wolfeboro will be held Monday at 9 am. 

The 31st Annual Memorial Day Weekend Craft Festival will be held at Mill Falls Marketplace. 

In Center Harbor, a parade will start at noon on Monday to celebrate Memorial Day.

Veterans ride free on Monday at the Winnipesaukee Scenic Railroad in Meredith.

Belmont will host a Memorial Day parade and ceremonies on Monday at 1 pm.

Literally, there are hundreds of Memorial Day observations throughout our Granite State, so take one in if you’re going through our towns and cities. 

Memorial Day weekend also signals the cusp of the summer real estate season when home buyer and seller activities continue to swell in the Lakes Region. This year, in particular, on-the-fence sellers would be wise to get their homes listed in time for the next wave of summer home hunters. The real estate inventory of available properties in the Lakes Region is extremely low, and on a statewide level, there are only 1,100 single-family homes currently for sale. This is a compelling time to be on the market because of limited competition coupled with the surge of buyer activity. 

It’s the time of year where the kids are still in school, and the region is blooming with vivid flowers, lime-green tree canopies, and lush lawns. This is the season when a property shows at its best, and it’s just before families take off on vacations and get committed to so many fun summer activities in our region. 

Historically, we have found that many home buyers have been hitting open houses and viewing properties this time of year instead of hitting the beach. It’s generally a busier time of year compared to July 4th weekend and Labor Day weekend. 

What I have learned in my 46-year real estate career is that the real estate market has experienced various cycles, and all of them are different. In the late 1970s, inflation took its toll, and in the “go-go” 1980s, we saw unprecedented growth in the Lakes Region when 45 new condominium developments started popping up like dandelions in the spring. The 1980s real estate miracle, however, was built on frail earth, and the real estate boom was followed by a crash caused by several events…the tax reform act of 1986, the Black Monday stock market crash on 10/19/1987, and New Hampshire’s banking crisis where 5 of New Hampshire’s banked closed. Rampant foreclosures followed, and the speed and tenacity of the auction process led to a quick deacceleration of real estate values that ultimately took a decade to rebalance. Many of us remember the big drop in New Hampshire home prices in 2008 and 2009 when the New Hampshire residential housing market had its sharpest decline in more than a decade because the economy was going through a major recession. Cheap credit, subprime mortgages, and lax lending standards had fueled a housing bubble, leading to a credit crash in the global banking system. Trauma at Bear Stearns, Lehman Brothers, AIG, and other firms played a prominent role in the 2007-2009 financial crisis. 

So like everything in life, we have to be cautious. So many new real estate professionals today think this time is different, but who really knows? You have to keep open eyes on the horizon and look at what’s going on around us. First Republic Bank, Signature Bank, and Silicon Valley Bank are chilling stories of recent bank failures, and PacWest Bank shares have tumbled and faltered amid recent bank failures. The US has hit the debt ceiling again, and time is running out for Congress to raise the nation’s debt limit. Will the government curb inflation? What direction will the Federal Reserve lean towards? How will the Ukraine War end? China and Taiwan relations? $31.4 trillion national debt? Are threats mounting to the dollar’s role as the world currency?

All of the above issues are topics we have to consider when we discuss real estate cycles. Yes, the real estate market has shown an upward trajectory at epic levels over the past several years. Ever since the great recession, so much stimulus and record low-interest rates have been flooding our real estate and stock market like helium in a room. It’s no wonder that prices are at stratospheric levels. So is the current market sustainable? In my opinion, based on some of the real estate cycles of the past, if you want to get the highest price for your home, aim to sell the home at a time of economic exuberance. Are we at that level right now? Nobody can predict the future; however, there is still a massive shortage of homes for sale in the Lakes Region, and demand is still going strong…that’s when you want your property on the market. For those of you who are still on the fence with regard to listing your property for sale, the timing looks very good, in my opinion. 

Wishing all of you a happy and safe Memorial Day Weekend. 

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

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