The nor’easter that just hammered New Hampshire damaged or destroyed numerous homes and cottages across the state, from Allenstown to Bartlett, Dover, Epping, Gilford, Thornton and Warren.
While the local property losses are costly and heartbreaking, the good news is that the Granite State has fared far better than other parts of the country.
For example, when Hurricane Harvey hit Houston in August, it damaged more than a quarter of a million homes and completely destroyed more than 15,500.
In September, Hurricane Irma invaded the Florida Keys, damaging 90 percent of homes there, and demolishing one in four. Overall, about 675 residential and commercial structures were lost.
In October, Hurricane Maria pummeled Puerto Rico with 155 mile per hour winds, resulting in the destruction of hundreds of properties. Also last month, wildfires charred northern California, incinerating more than 8,400 homes and other buildings.
While recent storm damage in New Hampshire was small by comparison, natural disasters elsewhere can directly impact the real estate market here in the Lakes Region.
Nationwide recovery will elevate new construction costs
Massive efforts are currently underway to repair the cumulative property damage in Texas, Florida, Puerto Rico and California.
The simultaneous repair and reconstruction of hundreds of thousands of homes and buildings will require massive amounts of lumber, shingles, sheetrock, copper, plumbing, plywood, concrete and other building materials.
Further, skilled construction workers are attracted by work opportunities like moths are attracted to flame. Many will relocate—at least temporarily—to storm-struck areas.
The spike in demand for building materials, combined with the potential shortage of skilled workers, will likely cause new construction costs to rise nationwide, including in New Hampshire, just as costs rose in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
For many home buyers, the likelihood of rising new construction costs will make existing properties an affordable, attractive alternative.
I asked my principal broker, Frank Roche, who played a critical role in the original development of Lakes Region communities including South Down Shores, Long Bay, Grouse Point Club, Samoset Condominiums, and Broadview Condominiums what his thoughts were.
Frank said, “There’s no question that the best home values out there right now are on resale product. There is a wide variety of existing home choices ranging from planned communities to condominium developments to water access communities. And think about it… many of these communities were developed during the go-go years in the 1980s. Land and construction costs back then were much, much more reasonable.”
“So many people today think new is better,” he added. “But if you’re looking for value, look for quality existing communities and focus your attention on upgrading some of the functionality of the home.
“New kitchen updates, bathroom upgrades and flooring choices can make something used look new. But most importantly, you can buy into the communities that are considered prime locations because they were built at a time when there were many more choices, and they were much more affordable for developers.”
He noted that while some of the newer condominium developments around the Lakes Region have been selling for up to $318 per square foot, buyers who are open to older, existing properties can find more favorable costs.
For example, I have a single-family, four-bed, two-bath home listed at 39 Old Hubbard Road in Meredith that is valued at about $257 per square foot. Because the home was built in 1968, it offers an incredible value at Winnipesaukee Beach Colony Club, one of most sought-after water access communities in the Lakes Region.
The home features a beautiful post and beam living room with a cathedral ceiling that is just as majestic today as it was nearly 50 years ago when the property was first constructed.
To further illustrate the value of existing homes, for less than the cost of new construction, this property includes a deeded 24’ dock, and access to the small community’s large, private, sandy beach and 600 feet of shorefront, which are just a few hundred feet away from the front door.
While recovery from natural disasters will likely cause new construction costs to rise spike, the inventory of existing homes like this one in Meredith continue to offer affordable, attractive alternative for home buyers.
Feel free to contact me with questions about buying or selling residential real estate in the Lakes Region. Your questions may be the subject of a future article.
Brent Metzger is a sales associate at Roche Realty Group in Meredith, NH.
Brent can be reached on his cell phone at (603) 229-8322, at the office at (603) 279-7046, or by e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market.