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Real estate

Q&A: What’s the word on the real estate market?

Inside perspective: Two Realtors share how sales are so far this year

In the years since the recession hit, the real estate market has been a concern just about everywhere, both in terms of sales and median home prices. But two local Realtors say they’re beginning to see a turnaround this year.

But first, some background.

According to the N.H. Association of Realtors, the median home price for single-family homes in Cheshire County in 1998 was $95,000; that climbed to a high of $208,500 in 2008. By 2013, that number had dipped to $159,000.

In Hillsborough County, the median home price was $131,500 in 1998; it was up to $285,000 in 2006 and back down to $230,000 in 2013.

Compare that with the statewide numbers: In 1998, it was $127,500; in 2006, $265,000; and by 2013, $220,000.

Referring to the state overall, a N.H. Association of Realtors’ statement about the market reads, “Most recently, we have seen the stabilization in the housing market, with less dramatic median price decreases in 2010 and 2011 and, in 2012, a 21 percent increase in unit sales from 2011. In 2013, we began talking less about ‘recovery’ and more about a normalized market — with the most residential unit sales since 2005 and a $220,000 median price for the year, 9 percent higher than 2012 and the highest since 2008.”

Also of interest is the change in number of single-family homes sold during the 16-year time period. In 1998, 213 units sold in Cheshire County, reaching a high of 971 by 2004, and dipping to 583 in 2010, before climbing back to 736 in 2013.

The year 1998 saw 4,340 units sold in Hillsborough County and by 2006 that number had declined to 3,503, reaching a low point of 2,722 in 2011 before bouncing back to just over 2006’s tally, with 3,608 units sold in 2013.

In the 16 towns the Ledger-Transcript covers in the Monadnock region alone, 496 homes, condos and mobile homes were sold in 2011, according to information provided by the Contoocook Valley Board of Realtors. That number jumped to 509 in 2012 and fell to 482 in 2013.

To get an understanding of where we are now and where we’re headed in 2014 here in the Monadnock region, we turned to Hancock’s Ken Moller and Peterborough’s Cathy Cambal-Hayward. What they had to say offers some hope for 2014 and beyond. Both observe sales are up and ahead of last year.

Ken Moller, president, The Mollers, Inc., Hancock

Q. How are sales this summer? What’s selling, and what’s not?

A. Sales have been great over the last three months. Sales have been all over the spectrum from $129,000 to $1,250,000. Lakefront property is very popular. Houses in the $200,000 to $400,000 [range] are the most popular.

Q. What new trends are you seeing in real estate? Any surprises?

A. Trend is lots of out-of-state retirees coming to buy, because they sold their big houses and are looking for a country home.

Q. What do you anticipate for the market going into late summer and early fall?

A. Market should stay hot through October.

Q. How does this year compare with last year and years past?

A. We are at least 20 percent ahead of last year. Recessions traditionally last five years (2008 to 2013) and we are now in year six, so we are coming out. However, prices have not risen yet, which will be the next marker to show the market has gained strength to recovery.

Cathy Cambal-Hayward, director of sales, Better Homes & Gardens/The Masiello Group, Peterborough

Q. How are sales this summer? What’s selling, and what’s not?

A. We have seen positive momentum throughout the first half of this year — both in terms of the number of homes sold — and growth in the median price. Single-family homes and condos are trending ahead of last year.

Q. What new trends are you seeing in real estate? Any surprises?

A. Happily, no surprises — we are experiencing slow and steady growth. And with supply and demand starting to equalize, we are seeing recovery signs in our market area. Prices haven’t yet started to recover but with the increased number of home sales, we will start to see the beginning of a more balanced market of buyers and sellers.

Q. What do you anticipate for the market going into late summer and early fall?

A. More homes are coming on the market everyday — across all price ranges — and our buyer activity remains strong — especially in the first-time home buyer and the mid-range of the market. We are beginning to get more activity on the higher end of the market, as there is more stability in the stock market and other positive economic indicators. Our local job market remains a concern and impacts our overall recovery.

Q. How does this year compare with last year and years past?

A. Just taking a snapshot of June — 2013 vs. 2014 — and looking at Peterborough, Hancock and Dublin, the number of homes on the market are virtually the same at 181. But these towns had eight properties under contract last year and 20 under contract this year — and the number of closed sales is up by nearly 30 percent for June year over year. This is particularly promising given the challenges we have all had in our market.

Priscilla Morrill can be reach at pmorrill@ledgertranscript.com or 924-7172 ext. 225.

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