DOVER — Sales in November of single-family homes in Strafford County experienced their largest percent gain since April.
That’s a sign buyers have confidence they’re getting good deals on the property they’re buying, according to Nathan Dickey, president of the Stafford County Board of Realtors
“It’s super active,” said Dickey, owner/broker of Keller Williams Coast Realty in Portsmouth. “I think we have a few things driving the activity. It’s the lack of inventory, still, and the fact that rates are still good and people are afraid that the rates are going to go up, which I don’t think they really are.”
A monthly trends report from the New Hampshire Association of Realtors shows November’s single-family home sales in Strafford County were up 35.4 percent to $43.2 million, the highest year-over-year percentage increase since April when it was 54.6 percent.
Residential condominium sales increased by 33.3 percent to $5.6 million over the $31.9 million in volume recorded in November 2017.
November isn’t typically a month that sees a lot of activity in the real estate market, but Dickey said he seeing what he describes as “a lot of leftover buyers from the summer” – people who still active in the market despite colder weather and holiday commitments.
“We’re still dealing with multiple offers on a regular basis,” Dickey said. “There are a tremendous amount of buyers looking. I think the higher end stuff is slowing down a bit, but the homes in the medium sales price ranges are just on fire.”
The median price of a home in Strafford County stood at $255,000 – the same median price recorded in November 2017. The median price of a condo was $187,500, versus to $176,900 a year ago, according to NHAR data.
Compare that to Rockingham County. In November, the median price of a home rose to $369,000 versus $361,950 last November. The median price of a condo was $282,500 versus $260,000.
Higher-end homes in Rockingham, especially in the Seacoast, aren’t moving as quickly as they used to, according to Dickey, so people looking for more affordable properties are coming up the Spaulding Turnpike looking for something that’s more affordable.
“The higher-end homes are sitting on the market longer, and that’s a new phenomenon. We hadn’t seen that before,” Dickey said. “So now, pricing accurately is going to become the most important thing over the next six to 10 months.”
As a measure of volatility, one data point in the NHAR report is called “days on market” – the average number of days a property is on the market before it sells.
In Strafford County for a house, the days on market was 52 in November compared to 44 last November, so property isn’t moving as quickly as it was a year ago. Days on market for a condo was 48 versus 25.
The state as a whole also has positive trends in its November real estate sales, according to the NHAR.
While the actual number of sales sagged 1.1 percent, sales volume of single-family homes increased by 3.8 percent and the median price rose to $287,000, a 7.1 percent increase.
The number of condo sales statewide was down slightly to 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.
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,” NHAR state. “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.”