PORTSMOUTH — Seacoast residential real estate volume in November, which is not generally known as an active month for sales, had its biggest year-over-year gain in single-family home sales since 2012.
After a slow start to the fall season in September, sales of single-family homes and residential condominiums ticked up in October then took off in November, according to the Portsmouth-based Seacoast Board of Realtors.
“It was nice to see single-family sales surpassing last year for a second month in a row,” said Kathy Ahlin, the new president of the Seacoast Board of Realtors and owner/broker of Exit Realty Great Beginnings in Concord. “That didn’t happen for the first six months of this year. Consumers seem to be taking advantage of moderating sales prices.”
The board takes its data from sales in 13 sample Seacoast communities: Exeter, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, North Hampton, Newmarket, Portsmouth, Rye, Seabrook and Stratham.
There were 93 single-family sales in November, according to the data, compared to 86 in November 2017. It was the best November in terms of number of sales since 2012 when 102 were tallied. Single-family sales peaked in August with the sale of 135 homes.
November was not kind, however, to residential condo sales with 43 transactions, off 18 from last year and the slowest the slowest November since 2016. Condo sales topped out in June with 71 transactions.
The shrunken inventory of available properties has made the available properties more expensive – the economic principle of supply and demand at work. But higher prices also limited sales. As prices have come down, according to the board, sales have gone up.
The board said the median price of a single-family home fell to $417,000 in November, off 9.7 percent from last year and tied with March for the yearly low. The $315,000 median sales price for a condo was also the lowest since March.
Most of the homes that sold in the Seacoast (34) were in the $400,000 to $700,000 range, according to the data. Most of the condos (17) were in the $300,000 to $600,000 range.
In Rockingham County, the number of single-family home sales fell in November – 317 compared to 328 last November, even though total sales volume increased by 1.3 percent to $136.8 million. That means higher median prices in the county – up to $369,000 versus $361,950.
Compare that to Strafford County. The median price of a home there stood at $255,000 – the same as recorded in November 2017.
That data from the monthly trends report from the New Hampshire Association of Realtors also shows more condo sales – 122 in November 2018 versus 117 in November 2017 – and a higher median price $282,500 versus $260,000. Total volume was up 16 percent to $39.1 million.
In Strafford County, the median price of a condo was $187,500, versus to $176,900 a year ago, according to NHAR data.
One indicator of the volatility is how long a property is on the market before it sells, called the days on market. A single-family house in Rockingham County was on the market 53 days in November versus 61 last year. A condo’s days on market was 59 versus 54.
The state as a whole also has positive trends in its November real estate sales, according to the NHAR.
While the number of sales dropped 1.1 percent, sales volume of single-family homes increased by 3.8 percent and the median price rose by 7.1 percent to $287,000.
The number of condo sales statewide was down a mere 0.3 percent, while volume increased 8.7 percent and the median price increased 11.1 percent to $220,000.
In terms of inventory, the supply of homes was down statewide 13.2 percent, while the supply of condos was down 19.2 percent.
The NHAR is keeping its eye on the national economy and how it affects local sales.
“The Bureau of Labor Statistics recently reported that the national unemployment rate was at 3.7 percent. Low unemployment has helped the housing industry during this extensive period of U.S. economic prosperity,” the NHAR stated. “Home buying and selling activity relies on gainful employment. It also relies on demand, and builders are showing caution by breaking ground on fewer single-family home construction projects in the face of rising mortgage rates and fewer showings.”