Real Estate Market Trends to Follow

Market Trends

I’ve been pulling up some current research on the real estate market on a national, statewide, and Lakes Region level. Here are some of the trend lines to follow:

  • USA home sales have posted the 12th straight monthly decline as house price inflation cools slowly.
  • In January, USA existing home sales dropped to the lowest level in more than 12 years. This is the longest stretch since 1999. The good news is that the price of decline is slowing.
  • Home resales in the USA, which accounts for the biggest share of US housing sales, plunged 36.9% year-over-year in January.
  • In New Hampshire, there currently are only 887 single-family homes for sale. Keep in mind that there are approximately 6,571 Realtors® in the state, and inventory levels are extremely low. The lowest-priced home (cottage camp) is $30,000 for a 605 square foot camp on leased land with Judd Pond in its backyard in Clarksville, New Hampshire. The highest-priced home at $19,395,000 includes 14,524 square feet with 45 acres, a matching guest house, and multiple barns, including the historic Renny Mede Farm in North Hampton. I remember the farm’s dairy products in my early years when I spent summers in North Hampton.
  • In the Lakes Region (comprising 25 towns and cities), there are only 159 single-family homes for sale, and there are approximately 950 Realtors® in the Lakes Region. The lowest-priced property is $60,000 in Franklin, consisting of a 3 bedroom, 1 bath, 1,400 square-foot home on 0.04 acres. The highest price is $14,900,000, which includes 8 bedrooms, 8 baths, and 6,789 square feet on 1.76 acres with 320’ of shorefront on Lake Winnipesaukee in Wolfeboro.
  • The median listing price for a single-family home in the Lakes Region today is $640,000. This number is skewed higher because waterfront homes are included.
  • In New Hampshire, since 1998, the largest number of homes sold was in 2020, at 18,474 homes sold. The lowest number was in 2008, with 10,208 sold. There were 14,456 homes sold in 2022. In 1998 the median sales price was $127,500, and in 2022 the median sales price was $440,000. Unit sales went down during the last 3 years; however, the selling prices increased 11.7% in 2020, 17.9% in 2021, and 11.4% in 2022.
  • In Belknap County since 1998, the largest number of homes sold was in 2004, with 1,537 sold. The lowest was in 2008, with 597 sold. There were 944 homes sold in 2022. In 1998 the median sales price was only $97,000, and in 2022 the median sales price increased to $425,000. Hard to believe, but even worse if I told you what the median sales price was in 1976 when I started in real estate. During 2021 and 2022, unit sales went down; however, the selling prices increased 15.25% in 2020, 21% in 2021, and 14.7% in 2022. Are these increases sustainable at these levels? Of course not.
  • In Belknap County in January, there were 28 single-family closed sales compared to 64 in January of 2022, a 56.3% decrease. The median sales price for January was $320,000 compared to $368,500 in January 2022, a 13.2% decrease. Sales volume was down 54.5%, and days on the market increased 100%. However, pending sales increased 12.5%.
  • Mortgage rates have resumed their upward trend over worries that the Federal Reserve will maintain its interest rate hiking campaign throughout the summer. As a result, residential investments have dropped for 7 straight quarters, the longest stretch since 2009.
  • According to Mortage News Daily on Wednesday, 2/22/2023, the current average interest rate for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage nationally was 6.88%, an increase of 24 basis points over last week compared to 3.69% last year. It appears, unfortunately, that mortgage rates are slowly increasing back to 7% because of the higher 10-year and 2-year treasury yields this week and a scorching January jobs report.
  • Instead of a housing bust like in 2000 or 2008, what seems to be developing is a standoff, according to HousingWire. They indicated that sellers are under no pressure to move because they have affordable mortgages and lots of equity. Unlike in 2008, people have more savings and jobs and much less vulnerable mortgage loans, with 85% of homeowners presently carrying mortgages under a 5% interest rate.
  • Inventory is tight in New Hampshire, with only 887 single-family homes for sale and only 159 in the Lakes Region. This factor has kept the prices firm, sometimes even moving them higher. The difference between today vs. 2008 or 1992 price drops is that the market isn’t flooded with homes which drove prices down. There is very little foreclosure activity (less than 1/10 of what we saw after 2008.) Today, very few homeowners owe more on their mortgage than the house is worth. According to Fannie Mae, today’s delinquency rates are very low, less than 0.7% of mortgages. Also, the unemployment rate is the lowest in 54 years. As a result, the National Association of Realtors affordability index is still in line with that of the late 1980s and early 1990s.
  • Supply will stay tight and buyers will start to realize that 3% rates are not coming back soon. The average home price is down 6% since the home peak (nationally), according to the S+P Case Shiller Index and hot markets like San Francisco and Phoenix are down 12% and 8%, respectively.

There is one thing for certain…you can’t have 15-20% a year price increases for years. It’s simply not sustainable. We have gone through an unusual real estate cycle, and buyers are beginning to have better negotiating power.

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. Sales data was compiled by a NEREN search on 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.

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