PORTSMOUTH — December sales of single-family homes and condominium units in the 13 sample Seacoast towns hit significant lows, according to statistics released Tuesday by the Seacoast Board of Realtors.
The sample towns are Exeter, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, North Hampton, Newmarket, Portsmouth, Rye, Seabrook and Stratham.
Against a back ground of dramatic stock market losses, December sales of single-family homes tumbled to the lowest December level in at least eight years. It was the slowest month since February. The situation was further aggravated by available inventory units (223) being at the fewest number since 2010. The December median price of a single-family home at $454,450 also fell 3.3 percent from last year.
While condo inventory did not suffer the same dramatic decline, there were only 28 condo sales in the month, the worst month since February 2014. It was also the worst December since 2012 when there were 23 sales. Median prices slipped $2,500 from last year to $295,000.
For the year, there were 1,030 total sales, some 8 percent behind 2017, but the 12-month median sale price of $459,950 was 3 percent ahead of last year. At 638 total transactions, condo sales fell 4.9 percent for the year, but, like single-family median prices, the cumulative median sale price of $315,950 was up 5.3 percent.
“In the light of all the negative economic news, I think consumer confidence took a hit last month,” said Kathy Ahlin, president of the Seacoast Board of Realtors. “I’d be more concerned if overall median sale prices were falling, but they aren’t. Buyers are just more cautious and taking longer to make buying decisions. And, obviously, it’s harder to have huge sales volume when there’s such limited available inventory. It’s definitely a good time to sell.”