As of March 1, 2014 there were 812 residential homes on the market in the twelve communities covered in this Lakes Region real estate market report. The average asking price was just over $500K and the median price point was $249,000. The current inventory level represents about a 9.3 month supply of homes to sell. Last March 1, there were 900 homes on the market which resented a 15 month supply. The increasing number of home sales is slowly whittling the inventory level down to more manageable levels.
With a median price point at $249,000 (which means half of the available inventory is under that), there are plenty of affordable homes out there for first time buyers. And, NH Housing has a program called the "t" to help first time home buyers (defined as not having owned a home in the past three years.) This program is also available to someone purchasing a home in a "targeted" area – such as Laconia. Qualified buyers can save up to $2,000 per year over the life of the loan.
Eligible home buyers can receive the tax credit by applying for and receiving a Mortgage Credit Certificate (MCC) issued through New Hampshire Housing. As I said, you have to be a first time buyer (or have not owned a home in three years, the credit can only be used with new loans, and the loan has to be for a single family primary residence.) There are purchase price limits for the property. Both Carroll and Belknap Counties are $250,000 with an increased limit in Laconia of $310,000. There are also income limits based on the household size.
Now the trick, if you want to call it that, is that this is a "Tax Credit" which is a "direct dollar for dollar reduction in your federal taxes worth up to 10 percent to 50 percent of the interest you pay on your mortgage" and therefore you have to have a tax liability each year in order to use it. But it is still a pretty good deal, I think. The example they give is for someone who has a $150,000 mortgage at a 5 percent interest rate which means they pay $7,450 per year in interest on that loan. With a 35 percent Homebuyer Tax Credit on that amount of interest ($7,450 x .35) it would equal $2,607, so that homeowner would receive the $2,000 maximum credit allowed. Hey, two grand is two grand.
To apply for a Homebuyer Tax Credit contact any of the Participating MCC Lenders listed at www.GoNewHampshireHousing.com. You can also call them at 1-800-649-0470. There may be a non-refundable fee to apply for the credit which may be reduced if you combine it with a New Hampshire Housing mortgage product.
Real estate tip: If you want to know exactly where the property line is, just watch the neighbor when he cuts the grass.
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 3/1/14. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.