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Housing in 2011In a recent blogpost RE/MAX of New England takes a comprehensive look at the real estate market for the new year. Their report is very detailed and includes the entirety of New England, not just New Hampshire.

RE/MAX starts by first examining the sales figures for 2010, which performed well within the first two quarters. This was largely due to seasonal buying and the federal tax credit extension. Single-family homes faired the best, with many first time homebuyers taking advantage of the extension and a flooded market, which kept home prices low.

The second half of 2010 performed comparatively poorly, even with low mortgage rates. This shows us that the tax credit program had run its course and the buying was largely driven by the deadline at the end of the previous two quarters.

Units sold in NH

"Despite having the lowest unemployment rate in New England and the fourth best in the nation at 5.4%, the Granite State wasn't immune from a slowdown in home sales this past year" RE/MAX states in their report. If we compare the number of units sold in 2009 to 2010 we notice a clear, if slight decrease in the number of units sold.

"Condominiums faired the worst in the sales cycle, down -5.7% over 2009 with average prices remaining flat. Multifamily homes showed slightly lower declines of 4.2% over last year, while prices rose 6.2%. Single-family homes were also down, posting -3.0% drops this year, but also experienced a 4.6% price increase."

Home prices in NH

According to NNEREN (the Northern New England Real Estate Network), the average single-family home was approximately $229,000 in June of 2010. That number fell to approximately $204,000 by this past November.

There is a bright side, however. According to interviewed professionals, this decline has not impacted the ability of homebuyers to qualify for loans. Lenders are still looking for qualified clients in the state, regardless of temporary market conditions.

The forecast for the coming year is that investing in 2011 will play a critical role in market recovery. The earliest turnaround? ". . . we won't see a turnaround until at least 2013. That's why it is so critical that investors ramp up activity now." It's definitely going to remain buyer's market for much of 2011 and likely much of 2012.