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Sanborn – Lakes Region 2013 residential sales report

We finished off 2013 with 72 residential homes sold in December in the Lakes Region communities listed in this report. The average sales price came in at $236,484 and the median price point stood at $177,500. Last December we only had 57 sales albeit at a higher average sales price of $315, 391 and a median of $200,000.

For the year, there were 1,041 residential home transactions in these same communities at an average sales price of $300,392 and a median price point of $192,000. That is a 14 percent increase in total sales over 2012! And, 2012 had a 19 percent increase in total sales over 2011. So volume-wise, we are definitely headed in the right direction. The average sales price in 2013 came in at $300,392 which was just a tad lower than the $302,188 posted for 2012. You do know what a "tad" is, right? The median sales price has bounced around from $182,000 to $192,000 for the past five years.

A breakdown by individual towns has Alton with 110 transactions at an $346,734 average sales price, Barnstead with 95 sales at $145,793, Belmont with 102 at $150,243, Center Harbor with 23 at $510,715, Gilford with 140 at $347,782, Gilmanton with 52 at $193,208, Laconia with 188 at $213,729, Meredith with 107 at $430,845, Moultonborough with 132 at $521,134, New Hampton with 30 at $214,523, Sanbornton with $261,678, and Tilton with 23 sales at an average of $139,003. So Laconia wins for the award for the most sales but if you are going for the big bucks Moultonborough is the place to be! The overall average sales price in 2013 of $300,392 is 24.6 percent off the peak price year of 2007 when the average sales price came in at $398,717.

So what price ranges are selling? Well, there's no surprise that over 50 percent of the homes sold in 2013 were under the $200,000 mark...52.7 percent to be exact. That's down just a smidgen from 2012's 55 percent. For those of you that don't know, a "smidgen" is a precise real estate technical term meaning a small amount. Only 15.3 percent of the homes sold were under that magical $100,000 mark. Mid-range homes from $200,000 to $299,999 made up 22 percent of the sales while those homes priced from $300,000 to $399,999 made up only 8.3 percent of the sales. Homes over the $400k mark represented 17 percent of the total number of sales.

As with most things, less expensive homes sold quicker. Homes under $100,000 sold at an average of 106 days on the market, those between $100,000 and $199,999 averaged 119 days, $200,000 to $299,999 averaged 160 days, $300,000 to $399,999 averaged 172 days, and over $400,000 meant you were looking at an average of 163 days to find a buyer. The number of days on market listed, however, does not include any previous times the home was listed with another agency. The actual average days on market is higher just as things always appear a tad larger in your side view mirror.

The total dollar volume for 2013 came in at $312.7 million which was up a skosh from $276.3 in 2012. A "skosh" is another little used, but precise, technical term meaning a tad more than a smidgen. Anyway, to put this into perspective, the 548 sales under $200,000 represented about $68.7 million in sales or 22 percent of the dollar volume. But, the 177 sales over the $400,000 mark represented a whopping $158.9 million in sales or 51 percent of the dollar volume. This kind of demonstrates the definite positive impact that the high end, second home, and waterfront home sales have on our real estate market.

So what does this all mean? I think it is pretty basic. If the total number of sales continues to rise and deplete the inventory levels, eventually prices will begin to rise. And, of course, we need to have a stronger economy to get the mid-priced home market moving. We will continue to rely on the high end home sales to retirees and second home purchasers to bolster our market. Finally, I do know that if you could drop the price of your home a smidgen to get below that $300,000 mark and move it just a skosh over the line into Moultonborough to take advantage of their low tax rate, you will undoubtedly sell it a tad quicker. But, that's just plain real estate talk.
Please feel free to visit www.lakesregionhome.com for year end charts and graphs. Data was compiled using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System as of 1/15/14. Roy Sanborn is a realtor at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335 .

Last Updated on Friday, 24 January 2014 10:17

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Froma Harrop - Marriage matters, in France & in Texas

There is a difference between being married and not being married. That difference has come into sharp focus in the romantic life of French President Francois Hollande, a sort of Socialist Sun King around whom women revolve. All of his female companions are reputedly strong, but none seems strong enough to tell him to scram.

Instead, they suffer and complain and jockey for the orbit closest to the star. You see, he won't marry any of them. That included Segolene Royal, the ex-live-in who bore his four children. Royal reportedly asked him to (I quote Beyonce) "put a ring on it." (Royal was not without status, having herself run for president of France.)

Marriage confers certain rights. In "The Wolf of Wall Street," Leonardo DiCaprio's character shows that for jerks with power and money, big-busted blondes may come and go. The only one who can yell at him is the one he married.

Hollande left Royal for Valerie Trierweiler, a journalist. As Royal predicted, "He who has betrayed will betray."

Hollande is now keeping Trierweiler off balance. Though she's been given the palace office and staff of a first lady, Hollande won't confirm that she is first lady.

Now he's been found sneaking off on a motor scooter to visit an actress. Would that make Trierweiler first mistress or second? A distraught Trierweiler checked herself in to a hospital.

The French are famously lax about their leaders' extramarital affairs. Disorder is something else, and Hollande's messy personal life makes them very unhappy.

Recall the funeral of the former President Francois Mitterrand. His wife and their children were there — but also his longtime mistress and their daughter. Neither woman was flustered. Madame Mitterrand had official status of wife. And the mistress, though obviously occupying a different place, was treated with deference. Point is, they all knew what ballpark they were playing in.
One last thought. The members of Hollande's harem chose to sign up for membership. Any one of them could have found a far more dignified relationship elsewhere, in or outside of marriage.

When children are involved, the stability provided by marriage is even more important. For so many poor and working-class mothers, doing it all without a reliable partner has made for a harrowing and impoverished existence.

Consider the interesting case of Wendy Davis, Democratic candidate for governor of Texas. Davis offers an inspirational life story: A single mother living in a trailer ends up with a Harvard law degree and successful career. I like Davis very much, and I like her story, but a few facts were apparently "blurred," as reported in The Dallas Morning News.

Davis was married when she had her children. After separating from her first husband, she did move in to a trailer with her child, though only for a few months. She did work two jobs. But she eventually married a lawyer, who paid for her last two years at Texas Christian University. He cared for the two children (they had one together) in Texas while she attended Harvard Law School, which he also paid for.

The message here is that a down-on-her-luck single mother with grit can work her way up. But it's so much easier if she's had one or more husbands on the way to help.

My feminist credentials are pretty sterling. No woman has to get married, and those who do should lead full lives.

The problem comes when women who want the security of marriage stay with — or have the children of — men who won't commit in that way. For a lot of women, marriage still matters. They should just admit it.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Bob Meade - Governmental bullying

As youngsters, we are often taught not to discus politics or religion in social circles. Normally that advice would have merit. In today's environment however, those topics have become intertwined and have sparked some very heated debate concerning the new health care law and its impact on our freedom of religion. That debate is literally on center stage right now.

"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Those are the words of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States. The amendment was initially conceived and a draft written by Thomas Jefferson. That was followed by various inputs from the founders and the final version was passed in the House and the Senate in 1789. It was ratified by the States in 1791. This most important section of the Bill of Rights has served this country well for over 222 years. However, it is now under siege.

A few years ago, in a letter to the editor, a writer stated that he believed the First Amendment needed to be revised, that it didn't reflect today's United States. He took particular issue with the reference to freedom of speech; claiming it was outdated and he didn't much care for the regular folks having their viewpoints printed in the newspaper. As you know, the range of viewpoints expressed by the public represent the good, the bad, and the ugly . . . without that range of opinion, it wouldn't be "free speech".

Today, as this is being written, Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor granted the Denver based, Little Sisters of the Poor Home for the Aged, its request for an emergency stay of that part of The Affordable Care Act (ACA) dealing with the abortion/contraception issue. The Sisters appeal had been denied earlier in the day by a Federal District Court. The stay by Justice Sotomayor gives the federal government a week to respond, but a decision may not come from the court until the middle of the year.

What is so troubling about this particular issue is that it seems that the ACA clearly violates the wording, spirit, and intent of the First Amendment, as it pertains to religious freedom. The fact that the government has tried to circumvent that amendment by dictating to insurance companies that they provide the abortion coverage "for free" is an insult not only to the amendment, but to common sense. Does anyone think that the government can or should dictate to a company what it must give away "for free"? Obviously, if the insurance companies involved complied with the government dictate, they would simply pass along those costs by charging the policy holders a higher premium. Further, if the government can dictate one thing that must given away "for free", does that then set a precedent, giving the government license to dictate any number of other things that businesses must give away for free? How about a new Cadillac? Or a waterfront home?

What is equally troubling is that, in this case, lower courts had ruled against the sisters' petition. However, in another ruling on the free contraception issue that was brought by the Archdiocese of Washington, the three-judge panel ruled two to one in favor of the archdiocese. Judge David S. Tatel, the dissenting vote in that case said, "Because I believe that appellants are unlikely to prevail on their claim that the challenged provision imposes a 'substantial burden' under the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, I would deny their application for an injunction pending appeal,". What is so disturbing about the position taken by Judge Tatel, and a number of other judges, is their apparent disregard for the First, and arguably the most important, Amendment to the Constitution. One would think that the clause, "or prohibiting the free exercise thereof", is clear enough to be understood by an elementary school student, let alone a person learned in the law. And, importantly, why should a church have to prove a "substantial burden" when some government act flies in the face of its religious tenets? The dictate to provide contraception and abortion services, "free" or otherwise, is a denial of long held religious beliefs and religious freedom.

And, as this is being written, it is not known if Justice Sotomayor's stay will be made permanent or if the lower court's ruling denying the sisters' plea will take effect. We can pray that "justice" will prevail. Should the sisters be denied their petition, future historians may point to that denial as the ruling that led to the ultimate dissolution of the Bill of Rights and the freedoms associated with it.

People of faith are being bullied by those who believe that political correctness and its companion, humanism, should be what guides our country and its people. Neither of those is a substitute for Religious beliefs. As mentioned up front, religion and politics should not be discussed in social circles . . . they're bound to get some people upset.

(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

Hits: 192

Michelle Malkin - A dirty double standard

This made my heart ache and my blood pressure spike: Actress Tamera Mowry, who is black, wept in an interview with Oprah Winfrey over the vile bigotry she has encountered because of her marriage to Fox News reporter Adam Housley, who is white. Misogynist haters called Mowry a sellout and a "white man's whore." International news outlets labeled the Internet epithets she endured "horrific" and "shocking."

Horrific? Yes. Shocking? Not at all. What Mowry experienced is just a small taste of what the intolerance mob dishes out against people "of color" who love, think and live the "wrong" way. I've grown so used to it that I often forget how hurtful it can be. Mowry's candor was moving and admirable. It's also a valuable teachable moment about how dehumanizing it can be to work in the public eye. Have we really sunk to this?

Young actresses in the 21st century forced to defend their love lives because their marital choices are politically incorrect? We're leaning backward in the regressive Age of Hope and Change.

Let's face it: Mowry's sin, in the view of her feckless detractors, is not merely that she married outside her race. It's also that she is so open about her love for a white man who — gasp! — works for reviled Fox News. Neither of them is political, but the mere association with Bad Things (Fox, conservatives, capitalism, the tea party, Christian activism, traditional values) is an invitation for unabashed hate.

The dirty open secret is that a certain category of public figures has been routinely mocked, savaged and reviled for being partners in interracial marriages or part of loving interracial families (for a refresher, see the video clip of MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry and friends cackling at the holiday photo of Mitt Romney holding his black adopted grandson in his lap).

And the dirty double standard is that selectively compassionate journalists and pundits have routinely looked the other way — or participate directly in heaping on the hate.

Have you forgotten? Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas was excoriated by black liberals for being married to wife Virginia, who happens to be white. The critics weren't anonymous trolls on the Internet. They worked for major media outlets and institutions of higher learning. USA Today columnist Barbara Reynolds slammed Thomas and his wife for their colorblind union: "It may sound bigoted; well, this is a bigoted world and why can't black people be allowed a little Archie Bunker mentality? ... Here's a man who's going to decide crucial issues for the country and he has already said no to blacks; he has already said if he can't paint himself white he'll think white and marry a white woman."
Howard University's Afro-American Studies Chair Russell Adams accused Thomas of racism against all blacks for falling in love with someone outside his race. "His marrying a white woman is a sign of his rejection of the black community," Adams told The Washington Post. "Great justices have had community roots that served as a basis for understanding the Constitution. Clarence's lack of a sense of community makes his nomination troubling."

California state Senate Democrat Diane Watson taunted former University of California regent Ward Connerly after a public hearing, spitting: "He's married a white woman. He wants to be white. He wants a colorless society. He has no ethnic pride. He doesn't want to be black."

Mowry is not alone. The Thomases and the Connerlys are not alone. Poisonous attempts to shame are an old, endless schoolyard game played by bullies who never grow up and can't stand other people's happiness or success.

Time doesn't lessen the vitriol or hostility. Take it from someone who knows. "Oriental Auntie-Tom," "yellow woman doing the white man's job," "white man's puppet," "Manila whore" and "Subic Bay bar girl" are just a few of the printable slurs I've amassed over the past quarter-century. You wouldn't believe how many Neanderthals still think they can break you by sneering "me love you long time" or "holla for a dolla." My IQ, free will, skin color, eye shape, productivity, sincerity, maiden name and integrity have all been ridiculed or questioned because I happen to be a minority conservative woman happily married to a white man and the mother of two interracial children who see Mom and Dad — not Brown Mom and White Dad.

Mowry's got the right attitude. She wiped away her tears and told Oprah that haters wouldn't drag her down. Brava. Live, laugh, think and love without regrets. It's the best revenge and the most effective antidote to crab-in-the-bucket syndrome.

(Syndicated columnist Michelle Malkin is the daughter of Filipino Immigrants. She was born in Philadelphia, raised in southern New Jersey and now lives with her husband and daughter in Colorado. Her weekly column is carried by more than 100 newspapers.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 15 January 2014 10:45

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Froma Harrop - Single payer is not dead

The prospects for single-payer health care — adored by many liberals, despised by private health insurers and looking better all the time to others — did not die in the Affordable Care Act. It was thrown a lifeline through a little-known provision tucked in the famously long legislation. Single-payer groups in several states are now lining up to make use of Section 1332.

Vermont is way ahead of the pack, but Hawaii, Oregon, New York, Washington, California, Colorado and Maryland have strong single-payer movements.

First, some definitions. Single-payer is a system where the government pays all medical bills. Canada has a single-payer system. By the way, Canada's system is not socialized medicine but socialized insurance (like Medicare). In Canada, the doctors work for themselves.

Under Section 1332, states may apply for "innovation waivers" starting in 2017. They would let states try paths to health care reform different from those mapped out by the Affordable Care Act — as long as they meet certain of its goals. States must cover as many people and offer coverage as comprehensive and affordable. And they can't increase the federal deficit. Qualifying states would receive the same federal funding that would have been available under Obamacare.

My conservative friends complain that the innovation waiver requirements would rule out everything but single-payer. No doubt they are diligently working on a more privatized alternative that would cover less, cost more and raise the federal deficit.

"Vermont is the only state where they're thinking very concretely about using (the waiver) as part of their plan," Judy Solomon, health care expert at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, told me.

Hawaii got close. Its Legislature passed a single-payer bill in 2009, which was vetoed by then-Gov. Linda Lingle, a Republican. Lawmakers overrode the veto, but Lingle refused to implement the law.

The quest remains rocky, Dr. Stephen Kemble, a single-payer advocate and past president of the Hawaii Medical Association, told me. "If Vermont can get things going, that would make things easier for others."
In Washington state, "our focus is to work on grass-roots support," says Dr. David McLanahan, Washington coordinator for Physicians for a National Health Program. "We're laying the groundwork" for legislation and a request for an innovation waiver.

Problems in the Obamacare rollout have energized fans of single-payer. Computer glitches aside, the troubles stem chiefly from the law's complexity. Single-payer is all about simplicity.

Under the Vermont plan, employers and individuals would no longer have to buy private health coverage. They would instead pay a tax. The state-run system would also cover more things, like dental. And oh, yes, Vermonters could choose their hospitals and doctors.

William Hsiao, an economist at the Harvard School of Public Health, has projected that Vermont's annual health care spending could fall 25 percent. The savings would more than pay for the new benefits.

How? Fewer dollars would go to advertising, executive windfalls and payouts to investors. Doctors dealing with one insurer would save on office staff. Fraud and abuse would shrink as a comprehensive database makes crooks easier to spot.

It's too bad that some liberals have turned single-payer into a religion and are whacking the Vermont plan for not being pure enough. Vermont is permitting continued private coverage for very practical reasons. Bear in mind that the most acclaimed health care systems — in Germany, in France and our Medicare — combine single-payer for basics with private coverage for the extras.

Vermont intends to use its state health insurance exchange as the structure on which to build its single-payer system. By 2017, the road to an innovation waiver should be clear. Go forth, Green Mountain State. Show us what you can do.

(A member of the Providence Journal editorial board, Froma Harrop writes a nationally syndicated column from that city. She has written for such diverse publications as The New York Times, Harper's Bazaar and Institutional Investor.)

 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

Hits: 246

 
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