EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

June 25, 2013

N.H. housing sales on upswing

Sales, prices up

By John Toole

---- — New Hampshire’s housing market recovery continued with a strong May that put sales of single-family homes at an eight-year high.

Sales for the month were up 11.1 percent statewide, year over year, the New Hampshire Association of Realtors reported.

Rockingham County sales surged 24.4 percent year over year, the second best performance by a county, topped only by a 77.8 percent spike in Sullivan County.

Year to date numbers had sales up 9.5 percent statewide, 16.1 percent in the county.

Sales prices also climbed.

Statewide, the median sales price grew 5.3 percent year over year to $215,900.

Rockingham County ranked in the middle of the 10-county pack, with a 7.7 percent gain to $274,950.

Year to date numbers put the statewide number up 5.2 percent at $203,000, with the county up 6.5 percent to $260,750.

“This is as active as many of us have seen the market in years,” association president Bill Weidacher said. “I continue to believe that it is only responsible to remain guarded in our optimism, but it’s very fair to say that the market is consistently heading in a positive direction.”

Southern New Hampshire sales professionals agree market trends are positive locally.

“There’s some positive movement,” said Barry Mazzaglia, owner-broker with Century 21 HBS Realty in Londonderry. “We are seeing a boost in sales in the lower prices.”

His agency has seen some sales recently above the sales price.

“But it’s still very much a buyer’s market,” with prices low and an excess inventory, Mazzaglia said.

“If a home is priced within the market value, it is going to sell quickly,” said Cindy Ronning of SunLite Realty in Pelham.

There have been instances where Ronning’s agency has seen multiple bids on properties.

“People are feeling better; the stock market is up,” she said. “But it’s not 100 percent. We still have foreclosures and we still have short sales.”

“We’re still climbing back, but we’ve got a long way to go,” Mazzaglia said.

Prices at the lower end of the market have probably rebounded only 25 to 35 percent against their highs of six or seven years ago, he said.

Home sellers aren’t going to be happy until prices return to those levels, he said.

But as inventory dwindles, prices will continue their recovery, Mazzaglia said.

“Then there will be more of a fairer market,” he said.