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Roy Sanborn — The sky isn't falling (SEE CHART CALLED March Solds 2013)

There were 71 residential home sales in March in the 12 communities covered by this Lakes Region Real Estate Market Report. The average price came in at $227,182 with a median price point of $166,000. This compares to 64 sales last March at an average price of $314,161 with a median price point of $199,200.
For the first quarter of 2013 there were 172 residential transactions in these same towns compared to 171 in the first quarter of 2012. That's pretty consistent, if nothing else! The average sales price for the first quarter of 2013 was $226,492 compared to $272,526 in 2012. The median price point also dropped from $176,200 in 2012 to $169,000 in 2013. Sales are steady, but once again prices are down.
You could say this is all doom and gloom! Should you bend over and kiss your real estate patootie goodbye?! I really don't think so! Market data is all about numbers and what is selling. Sometimes numbers by themselves can be misleading. It just so happens that a lot more inexpensive homes are selling right now compared to higher end homes. That's just the way it is. There are a lot of bank owned and lower priced homes on the market that are being scooped up. It has been that way for the past few years.
So before you think that the real estate sky is falling and your home value is continuing to slide down the cliff that is not necessarily the case. It is pretty easy to see why our numbers are down so far this year. In the first quarter of both 2012 and 2013 we had about the same number of sales below $200,000. But, in 2012 there were 24 homes that sold over the $500,000 mark for a total sales volume of $21.5 million. There were seven sales over the $1 million mark. This year there were half the number of sales over $500,000 for a total of only $10.9 million in sales and there were just two sales over a million! This definitely has had an impact on the average and median prices so far this year!
There's no doubt that your home's value has been affected over the past few years, but quality homes have retained their value better than those that are poorly maintained, ill kept, and poorly presented in the market place. It also seems that there is a definite shortage of really nice, mid-price homes on the market right now. If you are contemplating selling your home, think about what it has to offer in this market compared to some of the other homes that are available. Talk with several real estate agents to get their opinion of your home, where they feel the market is, and see how they can position you to get the maximum return on your investment. With fewer really nice properties on the market there is less competition which makes this a good time to sell.
The fact is, is seems like the mood in the housing market is a much more positive than it has been for a long time. The news from all over the country touts that the housing markets are on the mend and prices are beginning to rise! According to a recent AP article, new home construction is picking up with a 46 percent increase in new home starts nationwide in March compared to March of 2012. But remember that real estate is very local and we were one of the last markets to feel the pinch when things went bad. The AP article stated that "Housing construction fell 5.8 percent in the Northeast but showed gains in the rest of the country led by a 10.9 percent rise in the South. Housing construction was up 9.6 percent in the Midwest and 2.7 percent in the West."
So, we may a little behind in terms of a new construction rebound but we have been blessed with a very strong second home, vacation, and waterfront home market so I don't believe we will be far behind in a market upturn. I'm banking on that along with some nice new properties coming on the market at realistic prices to lead the way...
Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and comment on this article and others. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of 4/15/13. Roy Sanborn is a REALTOR® at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.
 
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