Business Quarterly: Real estate market shows no signs of slowing

  • Sadie Halliday Staff photo by Ben Conant—

For the Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/12/2021 5:00:45 PM

How fortunate are we to live in this beautiful part of the Granite State? As a real estate professional, I am met with questions daily relative to the state of the market, the challenges facing both buyers and sellers, and how to navigate a market that is unlike any other seen before. It is similar to asking your Belletetes sales representative when lumber prices will come down, or when certain products will be back in stock. How many people do you know who decided to install a backyard pool only to find out the wait is at least a year, or possibly even longer?

The pandemic brought an influx of buyers to the Monadnock Region. Coupled with low interest rates and many buyers paying cash, the demand has outweighed the supply and continues to do so. We can liken the current market to the post 9/11 exodus of people wanting a different setting to call home. In speaking with a client from New York City, his comment was that we did not realize how fortunate we were to be able to open our front door and go for a walk, even in the middle of the pandemic.

There had been a trend toward smaller homes, and I am quickly seeing that trend reversed. For many of us, our homes quickly became our office, our gym, our children’s classroom, or all of the above. Flexible spaces in a home became incredibly important. Outside space also became equally as important; waterfront properties, larger tracts of land, guest houses and space for animals. Summer homes and second homes that were going to be listed for sale quickly became occupied with children and grandchildren from out of state, or family members needing to quarantine.

Anecdotally, I have not seen any signs of a slowdown in our local market. Buyers may be fatigued, but they are still actively looking. I’ll share a story about a home I recently listed in Peterborough. I listed it on a Thursday, and showings began on a Saturday. I assumed that I would be inundated with showing requests based on the location and condition of the home. It was silent, not a single showing all weekend. I thought to myself, is this is the beginning of a downturn in the market? On Monday morning I fielded multiple calls from buyer agents inquiring about the property, resulting in many showings. By Tuesday we had three offers in hand, all with competitive terms and conditions, and over asking price. We were under contract later that day. In speaking with many of the buyer agents, I was curious why they waited until Monday to reach out. Their buyers were tired, all three who ultimately made an offer had already lost out on multiple homes and needed a weekend off from the frenzied search process. This doesn’t mean that they are stopping or slowing their search, they are very much engaged in the search process, but they are trying to make it less frenetic.

When there is fear relative to market downturns, it is important to consider other factors that were present in previous downturns. In 2007-2008, many of the home loans made were 100% of the value of the property. Buyers were overextending themselves, and financial institutions were allowing them to. In today’s market, I see many buyers putting down a minimum of 20% and oftentimes even more than that. Buyers are in a stronger financial position in this market than they have been in the past, and lenders have greatly increased their scrutiny as well. Sellers remain in an incredibly strong position in this market. I’ve had many clients with intentions of waiting longer to list but have decided to move forward based on the strength of the sale prices we are seeing. Prices are up; in some cases, many thousands of dollars over what we would have seen even a year ago. Lakefront properties continue to do very well in this market, as do homes with acreage, views, or larger estates. There is a shortage of inventory at all price points, from starter homes through to the luxury market. We have seen an uptick in new construction starts recently.

I’ve had the opportunity to represent some fabulous local projects, one of them being a 10-unit condominium building. The foundation was in the ground, but framing had not begun, yet all 10 of the units were already spoken for and under contract. There are other fantastic new construction homes that have also generated significant interest and are selling quickly.

If you are contemplating making a purchase, be sure to work with an agent who has experience in navigating the intricacies of a sellers’ market. Buyers are waiving inspections, appraisals, and other contingencies to present competitive offers. Be aware of what you are conceding should you choose to go that route; and work with someone who can help you understand those risks as well as represent your best interests every step of the way.

The real estate market in the Monadnock Region is stronger than ever and I don’t see any signs of that slowing down in the near future. If you are contemplating selling, now is an excellent time to do so. We are seeing people move here from out of the area; people who want the same quality of life that we are privileged to enjoy. I’m honored to represent beautiful homes for sale, as well as welcome people who purchase those homes and work with them as they acclimate to a new life here.

Some of you may remember the old cartoon with the farmers and the pitchfork, captioned “Welcome to New Hampshire, now go home.” My motto is “Welcome to New Hampshire, we are excited you are here!” We attract an eclectic group of people who are ready and willing to share their gifts with our community. I’m honored and proud to be able to share the Monadnock Region with others.

Sadie Halliday is a Realtor with Bean Group in Peterborough.


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