There are lots of predictions for the 2016 housing market on the Internet. But, you have to remember these predictions are on a national level and not specific to the Lakes Region. Everyone is predicting higher interest rates on mortgages. They say it could be as high as 4.5 percent by the end of the year. What a catastrophe! Does anyone remember the days of 17 percent?
They have also predicted an increase in housing demand as those millennials who have put off starting families and buying houses until well into their 30s enter the marketplace. Core logic predicts that there could be more than 1.25 million new households formed in 2016. I'd guess about six of those might be in the Lakes Region. Millennials tend to need jobs and we don't have a lot of good ones, unfortunately. We will continue to look toward Baby Boomers retiring in the area, people downsizing and the vacation home buyers for much of our home sales.
Rental rates are expected to rise in 2016 nationwide and I suppose that could be true as well in the Lakes Region. They are also saying that home prices will also rise, but I don't see that necessarily happening here until our inventory level drops considerably. Homes are not necessarily flying off the shelves in our area. While there are occasional multiple offers on the more desirable homes that help drive up the price, that certainly isn't happening routinely like in other areas of the country.
I saw several sources that said it would be easier to get a loan in 2016 and that lenders would be relaxing guidelines and looking at alternative means of determining creditworthiness. Fannie Mae is reported to have relaxed some of its requirements and its new Home Ready Mortgage is "designed for creditworthy, low- to moderate-income borrowers, with expanded eligibility for financing homes in designated low-income, minority, and disaster-impacted communities." What they don't say is that with every mortgage application today you must undergo a financial colonoscopy without the benefit of anesthesia.
Here are some 2016 predictions for the Lakes Region area that you can take to the bank.
First, there will still be traffic jams in downtown Meredith on the weekends at the intersection of Route 25 and Route 3. You may not know this, though: there are clandestine powers behind the scene from Moultonborough and communities from south of Meredith working to make sure that traffic is always snarled there. These traffic jams are the only thing preventing a max exodus of residents from Belmont and Laconia to Moultonborough to take advantage of the $9.01 property tax rate. Experts predict that such a huge shift in population would leave Laconia like a ghost town. In Belmont, Jordan's Ice Cream would be forced to close for lack of business. Economic havoc would be inevitable. That's why there will always be traffic jams in Meredith.
I can predict with 100 percent accuracy that the political unrest in the Middle East and in Gilmanton will continue. That is unless of course, the traffic problem in Meredith is solved. Gilmanton residents may just join the migration to Moultonborough as well. After all, their tax rate went up three bucks last year.
I can predict that Charlie and Jennifer will continue to work tirelessly and diligently to save Laconia Bike Week from further decline. They continue to pour their heart and soul into this much-needed event. A proposal to bring in illegal Mexican bikers to bolster attendance was scrapped after Mayor Engler binge watched Son's of Anarchy and was reminded of how bad the Mayans Motorcycle Club really is. Of course, this proposal also could also be very costly as someone would have to give them motorcycles to ride on. Not in the city's budget... oh, wait, Washington has a lot of money.
And along that same line, the Pumpkin Fest will be an even bigger success this year but we probably won't beat the record of 30,581. That is one big pile of pumpkins. If only all those folks north of the lights in Meredith could get to Laconia they could set a new record. It is a delicate balance, you see...
I can also predict and that there will be an early ice-out in 2015 ... if there is ever an ice-in, that is.
And finally, as far as real estate sales locally, I think we will have a pretty good year in 2016, probably a little better than 2015 and that's not bad. Real estate values will not necessarily rise although the average sales price may increase due to higher priced homes selling. Inventory levels will remain high because we do not have a large enough buyer pool to whittle it down. That seems to be the way things have been going for the past few years and until something substantial changes, I expect this is the new norm. Have a Happy New Year!
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. Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 677-7012.
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