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Sanborn – Lakes Region waterfront sales report

May showed a little uptick in waterfront sales on Winnipesaukee with 14 transactions at an average sales price of $907,196 and a median price point of $826,000. Four sales came in over the million dollar mark. Last May we had twelve transactions on the big lake at an average sales price of $638,231.
Not unexpectedly, the least expensive sale was on an island, 97 Bear Island in Meredith, to be exact. This is certainly not a luxury property but it got someone onto Winnipesaukee for only $165,000 which is over $100,000 less than the tax assessed value of $269,900. The property consists of a 1950s vintage, 1,245 square foot, two bedroom, one bath cottage on a .43 acre lot with 100' of frontage on the east side of Bear. This property was originally listed in November of 2011 at $229,000, was subsequently relisted in February of 2013, and sold after a total of 406 days on the market. I suspect someone is happy with a bargain basement buy on the big lake...
The property at 7 Red Sands Lane in Alton best represents the median price point sale. This is another 1950s vintage year round home with 984 square feet of living space, a classic knotty pine interior, hardwood floors, two bedrooms, one bath, and long range views up the lake. The 1.61 acre lot has 183' of frontage and a grandfathered docking system with a 31' x 13' deck over the water and two 10' x 30' docks. That's pretty darn nice and the new owner must have thought so, too. This property was on the market at $849,000 and sold for $803,000 after 147 days on the market. The current tax assessment is $775,700.
Honors for the highest sale of the month go to the property at 64 Timber Lane in Alton. This home is a newer construction, high quality, 7,296 square foot, Adirondack home built in 2009. It has 14 rooms, five bedrooms (including a first floor master suite with its own fireplace,) and six baths. The impressive, exposed post and beam great room has soaring cathedral ceilings, a massive stone fireplace (there are a total of six in the home), and fabulous views of the lake through a wall of windows. The chef's kitchen has a commercial grade gas range, two sinks, two dishwashers (I guess people can be messy here), cherry cabinetry, and granite countertops. Of course the walkout lower level would not be complete unless it had a fantastic game room, double sided fireplace, and lounge. Outside, you'll find bluestone patios, decks, and a granite set of stairs leading down to 150' of frontage with a U-shaped dock and breakwater. This home was first listed in January 2011 for $2.799 million, relisted in February 2012 at $2.699 million, and sold for $2.5 million after a total of 784 days on the market. The current tax assessment is $2.15 million. Pretty impressive.
There were no waterfront sales on Winnisquam last month. Zip, zero, nadda, none... But there were two on Squam. And someone appeared to get a good buy up there at 17 Marden Point in Holderness! This 1942 vintage, two bedroom, year round cottage is but twenty feet from the lake and was owned by the same people for over 50 years. It has an open concept living/dining area, a fireplace, and large screened porch. What else do you need? The cottage sits on a third acre level lot with 124' of water frontage. The property was originally listed at $694,000, was reduced to $489,000, and sold for $459,100 after 662 days on the market. The $100 was probably for the fishing gear the owner left there? The current tax assessment on the property is $700,830. I think that was a pretty good buy, don't you?!!
Another below assessment Squam Lake sale was at 69 NH Rt 113 in Holderness. This is an 1,880 square foot contemporary home that was built in 1995. It is across the street from the lake but has a separate lot on the water with 65' of frontage and a double dock. This move-in-ready home has three bedrooms including the master suite, three baths, a wood fireplace in the living room, a family room in the lower level, and great views of the lake. It also has a charming separate guest house with its own kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bath. Perfect for when Mom comes to visit. This home was listed at $580,000 and sold at $550,000 after just 15 days on the market. It is assessed at $613,220. Now that tells me this is a nice property and it was priced right!
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 6/11/13. Roy Sanborn is a REALTOR® at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.

Last Updated on Friday, 14 June 2013 06:45

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Pat Buchanan - Is Big Brother our Gaurdian Angel?

"Gentlemen do not read each other's mail," said Secretary of State Henry Stimson of his 1929 decision to shut down "The Black Chamber" that decoded the secret messages of foreign powers.
"This means war!" said FDR, after reading the intercepted instructions from Tokyo to its diplomats the night of Dec. 6, 1941.
Roosevelt's secretary of war? Henry Stimson.
Times change, and they change us.
The CIA was created in 1947; the National Security Agency in 1952, with its headquarters at Ft. Meade in Maryland. This writer's late brother was stationed at Meade doing "photo interpretation'' in the years the CIA's Gary Powers, flying U-2s at 70,000 feet above Mother Russia, was providing the agency with some interesting photographs.
This last week, through security leaks, we learned that the NSA has access to the phone records of Verizon, Sprint and AT&T. Of every call made to, from or in the U.S., NSA can determine what phone the call came from, which phone it went to, and how long the conversation lasted.
While NSA cannot recapture the contents of calls, it can use this information to select phones to tap for future recording and listening.
Through its PRISM program, the NSA can acquire access, via servers such as Apple, Google, Yahoo, Facebook, Microsoft and AOL, to all emails sent, received and presumably deleted or spammed. And if the NSA can persuade a secret court that it has to know the contents of past, present or future emails, it can be accorded that right.
Our ability to intercept and read communications of foreigners and foreign governments seems almost limitless. In the Nixon years, Jack Anderson reported that we were intercepting the conversations of Kremlin leaders in their limos, and listening in on Mao Zedong and Leonid Brezhnev. Our capacity today is surely orders of magnitude greater.
Last week, we also learned that Barack Obama, by Presidential Policy Directive 20, has tasked our government to prepare for both defensive and offensive cyberwarfare to enable us to attack whatever depends on the Internet anywhere in the world.
Lately, the U.S. and Israel planted a Stuxnet worm that crippled scores of centrifuges and disabled Iran's nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz. If we can do this in Iran, can we not do the same to nuclear plants all over the world, creating two, three, a hundred Chernobyls and Fukushimas?
Is it too much to imagine that, one day, if not already, the United States will be able to cyber-sabotage the power plants, electrical grids and communications systems of any country on earth?
With its ability to locate and listen in to terrorists, to track by satellite and kill by drone, America has acquired an extraordinary ability to protect its people and prevent and punish terrorist attacks.
But was any of this really surprising? Were we all in the dark as to what the CIA, the NSA and the Pentagon could do?
And as we think back on 9/11, of our doomed countrymen jumping to their deaths from the World Trade Center, the dead and maimed at the Boston Marathon, will not most Americans say, "Thank the Lord we have this power, and God bless the men and women who are using it to defend us"?
While this power is extraordinary, it is still not of the same magnitude as the 50,000 nuclear weapons we had 50 years ago, at the time of the Cuban missile crisis, when war could have led to scores of millions of American dead.
Nevertheless, for a people whose proud boast is that our nation was conceived in freedom, this brave new world is sobering. Our own government has the power to intercept and listen to every phone call we make, to read every e-mail we send or receive, to track us with cameras we cannot see, and to wage secret cyberwar against enemies real or perceived without a declaration of war.
Yet, we can no more uninvent the technology that enables our government to do this than we can uninvent the atom bomb. And rival powers like China are surely seeking the same capabilities.
Thomas Jefferson instructed us that "in questions of power, let no more be heard of confidence in men, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."
But, ultimately, what other option do we have than to place our confidence in those whom we have entrusted with this power?
Congress is not going to pass a law telling the NSA that it may not coordinate with AOL, Apple or Google to access information that might prevent a terrorist attack. And if a terrorist attack hits this country, and our security agencies say their hands were tied in trying to protect us, all bets would be off as to what intrusions upon their freedom Americans might accept.
In the end, we ourselves are going to have to strike the balance between freedom and security.
But the question lingers.
If Big Brother is our guardian angel now, could he become Lucifer?
(Syndicated columnist Pat Buchanan has been a senior advisor to three presidents, twice a candidate for the Republican presidential nomination and the presidential nominee of the Reform Party in 2000. He won the New Hampshire Republican Primary in 1996.)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Froma Harrop - Prop 13: Message for another time

If the national tax revolt has bookends, the first bracket was placed 35 years ago this month. That's when California voters passed Proposition 13, a law curbing tax increases.
Of course, taxes have been a subject of complaint in this land for centuries. But the complaints were of a different nature. It was more like "no taxation without representation" than "no new taxes, ever."
Prop. 13 set off a national whirlwind. Shortly after passage in 1978, Congress passed an array of tax cuts, including a reduction in the capital-gains rate. And future talk of raising taxes became especially emotion-laden.
But Prop. 13 was really about local concerns. The prices of California homes had been spiraling upward for several years. Because property taxes in California were based on current market values, homeowners watched their property taxes soar with house prices.
For owners, it was nice to see a modest home bought for $65,000 six years earlier now worth $200,000. Having to pay property taxes at luxury-home levels was not as nice. Many owners were forced to sell.
Other things were going on, as well. A recent California Supreme Court ruling had equalized per-pupil school spending throughout the state. That meant homeowners no longer associated their property taxes with superior education for their own children.
And other state taxes were already high, thanks in part to a recent big-taxing governor. He was Ronald Reagan.
Gov. Reagan had inherited large budget deficits from his Democratic predecessor, Pat Brown. Rather than beat the living daylights out of every public service, Reagan in 1967 endorsed a $1-billion-a-year tax hike — the equivalent of a $17 billion tax increase today.
It was "the largest tax hike ever proposed by any governor in the history of the United States," journalist Lou Cannon observed. Reagan pushed through another big tax increase in 1970.
"In the end," writes Bruce Bartlett, an economic historian who served in President Reagan's Treasury, "it is clear that Reagan presided over an astonishing expansion of taxes in California."
Prop. 13 capped increases in home valuations for property tax purposes at 2 percent a year. House values would be reassessed to reflect market conditions only when the property changed hands. Unfortunately, this moved the heavy tax burden onto young homebuyers. And longtime owners became stuck in place.
The law also gave state lawmakers the power to divvy property-tax revenues among towns and cities. The result was that local governments had to lobby Sacramento for money they once could spend out of local levies.
Prop. 13 also required a two-thirds majority by both houses of the state legislature on measures that would increase state revenues. A tax-phobic minority could therefore block efforts to fund California's famous university system and other public services.
But did Prop. 13 solve California's high-tax "problem"? Not quite. Before passage, California was the fourth-most-heavily-taxed state, according to the Tax Foundation. Today it is the fourth-most-heavily-taxed state.
The other bookend — marking the tax revolt's waning days — could be California voters' approval last November of a temporary tax increase to avoid up to $6 billion in education spending cuts. The voters also gave Democrats a two-thirds majority in the state legislature, meaning conservative Republicans can no longer stop tax increases.
Of course, arguments over taxes are never over, nor should they be. But one can hope for a different kind of conversation.
Perhaps the cries of martyrdom greeting almost every plan to raise government revenues can be replaced with a more dispassionate discussion: What do we want government to do, and how can we best pay for it?
As always, no one has to like paying taxes.
(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 Tuesday, 11 June 2013 08:02

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Bob Meade - A new kind of war

A very long time ago I read a book that I believe was entitled "The Feather of an Eagle". The reason for that name was that the eagle was killed by an arrow that was guided by a feather that the eagle had lost.
The story was about a different kind of war, a citizen's war in which they attacked the government military by night, and folded back into routine society by day. Some would call it guerrilla war. No uniforms. No generals directing waves of troops. No tanks or heavy artillery. No airplanes dropping bombs or strafing troops. Simply citizens stealthily destroying the dominant army of the government, and doing so with hand made devices or the tools that were available. I liken that story to what is happening around the world today.
A single person can attempt to blow up an airplane with a "shoe bomb". Another can be caught with a car full of explosives aimed at blowing up a portion of mid-town New York. A domestic terrorist can use a truck filled with fertilizer to explode outside a federal building, killing 168 innocents. A teen aged immigrant and his 26 year old brother can wreak havoc on a major metropolitan area, a state, and the nation, with their home made bombs killing and maiming fellow citizens. A single soldier, a (physician) major in the Army, can kill 13 fellow soldiers and wound more than thirty others. The only thing in common for most of those people is their religion, and their desire to deny our freedoms and impose their way of life.
The problem is not confined to the United States . . . it is world wide. Western countries try to figure out how to cope with immigrant populations that are growing so rapidly, that it is becoming a pitting of their youth against the aging populations of their host countries. And, the activities get more brazen every day as we witness a near beheading of a 25 year old British soldier, in the street, close to his barracks. Surprisingly, what had been proudly worn as a symbol depicting a defender of freedom, British soldiers are now told not to wear their uniforms in public lest the new populations to their country take offense.
Our country watches as nations in the mid-east undergo, or are undergoing revolutions to depose dictatorial regimes. In most cases, the ensuing governments have not brought peace and stability, but have created a combination of theocratic dictatorships and anarchy. Christians are murdered, or are targeted and beaten, and driven from their homes, many fleeing across borders to other countries in search of a safe haven. Threats against our ally Israel are mounting.
In Egypt, on the anniversary of 9-11, we watched as mobs attacked our embassy and we listened as they chanted, "We are one and a half billion bin Ladens". Their defiant chant countering a political slogan, "bin Laden's dead, General Motors is alive." Other mobs attacked our embassies and consulates, desecrating our flag, defacing our facilities, and murdering our representatives. Our leaders tell our would be rescuers to "stand down" and not attempt to save any and all possible. And then our leaders attempt to defend their actions with a shameful series of lies. But they are exposed. No one knows where the president was during all of this . . . and he's not telling!
In his recent speech at Fort McNair, (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/05/23/read-president-obamas-speech-on-the-future-of-the-war-on-terror/) the president told us that the war against terror is unsustainable. He split hairs when, in the speech, he said that we have not had a successful attack by "al Qaeda" in this country since 9-11. Of course, the victims of the shooting at Fort Hood, or their surviving family members, would take issue with that al Qaeda nuance, as would the family of the soldier killed at the recruiting station in Little Rock, Arkansas, and the families of those killed and wounded by the Boston bombers. Are terrorist attacks only to be counted when they're inflicted by certified al Qaeda members?
While we hear some acknowledgement of individual acts of terror, we hear virtually nothing about how this new kind of war will be addressed. Will we establish some form of monitoring for those here on student visas? Those who never attend a class? Will we revert to old time immigration rules where a newcomer has to have a responsible resident sponsor who will be accountable for them? In a free and open society, built around the Bill of Rights, how do we ensure that the millions of aliens in our midst are not here to do us harm? Are there those among the millions of immigrants who fancy themselves as an army of one?
Just how do we deal with this new kind of war? Truth may be a start.
(Bob Meade is a Laconia resident)

Last Updated on Wednesday, 31 December 1969 07:00

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Weirs Martha? A look at the cottages of the Vineyard and the Weirs

As of June 1, there were 1,190 residential homes available in the 12 Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average asking price stood at $480,614 with a median price point of $264,950. Last June 1 there were 1,318 homes on the market at an average asking price of $493,820. The current inventory level represents a 15 month supply of homes available which is down from the 18.5 month supply as of June 1, 2012. That's pretty good!
I just spent a few days down on Martha's Vineyard and discovered that there are a lot of similarities between that beautiful island and our own Lakes Region. For example, there is a strong Indian history at both locales with the Wampanoag tribe originally inhabiting the Vineyard while we have the Algonquian and Abaneki to thank for the names of places that keep our tourists tongue tied. Both are big tourist destinations with water sports, boating, and great restaurants in abundance. While we both have some pretty expensive waterfront property, the Vineyard outdoes us by a lot in that regard. In 2012 the average sales price for a single family home on the Vineyard was $972,000 compared to $302,188 for the towns covered in this report.
The Vineyard, and specifically the town of Oak Bluffs, has something else in common with our own Weirs Beach area. Pulling into the harbor on the ferry you immediately notice the brightly painted cottages and homes that line the main street along the water. I immediately thought of the homes along Lakeside Ave in the Weirs with their bright colors and Victorian style architecture. These homes were built a decade or so after the civil war by members of the NH Veterans Association and were known as the Regimental Buildings.
The cottages in Oak Bluffs were also built at the end of the Civil War but they were constructed by members of the Methodist Church who traveled here in the summer for a week long regimen of intense spiritual inspiration. Originally though, the Methodists just pitched tents in a circle with the center of the circle designated as the church. The Methodist camp meeting was born in Oak Bluffs in 1835. It was called the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association and the area was called Wesleyan Grove. Eventually, the tents became a little more sophisticated and comfortable. They added wooden floors, a front porch, wooden sidewalls, and a canvas roof. The camp meetings became very popular as there was not much to do back then as NetFlix hadn't been invented yet. Pretty soon the circle of tents grew larger and larger as people decided to stay longer on the island and refresh the body as well as the soul.
The tents were soon replaced by small cottages built in a new whimsical architectural style with ornate filigree and embellishments that was dubbed Carpenter Gothic. I suspect it became somewhat of a contest as to who could create the most colorful and eye pleasing cottage. These cottages were typically long and narrow like a shot gun house with two or possibly three rooms on the first level. A set of double doors opened out onto the front porch mimicking church doors. The bedrooms were located up a set of very steep stairs on the second level and there was generally a balcony over the front porch. The kitchen and privy were located outside the house. Now the Methodists had to be a friendly lot as the front porch served as an outdoor living room and you could reach out and almost touch the cottage next to you because the lots were originally just big enough to hold a tent.
By 1880 there were over 500 of these cottages gathered in a radial-concentric pattern on 34 acres with small paths connecting the smaller circles of homes. Today around 300 cottages remain in a remarkable state of preservation along with a church, chapel, and a wrought iron Tabernacle which itself is an extraordinary building with soaring arches and unique construction. This place is well worth visiting if you ever get the chance.
The Methodist Camp Meetings also found a home in the Lakes Region when Methodists discovered that Weirs Beach provided the perfect backdrop for their summer religious meetings. In 1874, 13 acres were purchased for camp-meetings and by the 1890's the area called "Methodist Circle" had grown into a small colony of cottages on the shores of Winnipesaukee. The worshippers constructed an auditorium in the center of the circle and eventually built a church on Tower Ave in 1886. That church burned in 1924 but was rebuilt in 1926 and still stands today.
To get to Methodist Circle you go over the wooden bridge just up past the boardwalk on Lakeside Ave. There you will find a number of the original cottages and while they might not be quite as fancy or ornate as the ones in Oak Bluffs they are still pretty cool.
There is also another well known camp meeting area in Alton which began in 1863 and was called the Second Advent Campground. These early worshippers also started with tents but were finally given permission to build wooden structures to stay in because there seemed to be a delay in the coming of the Lord. Initially, they were not allowed to paint their structures as the day of resurrection was supposed to be imminent and the church leaders didn't want anyone to waste money on an unnecessary paint job. Eventually, the rules were loosened and the cottage owners were allowed to preserve their buildings with a good old coat of Benjamin Moore. The only problem was many were built so close together you couldn't get between them to paint them or do any maintenance. Fires have destroyed many of these cottages. The largest fire was in 1945, but one as recently as 2009 claimed over 40 structures.
To see photos of many of the Oak Bluffs cottages and some of our own cottages at the Weirs visit www.lakesregionhome.com. Data was compiled using the NNEREN MLS system as of 6/1/13. Roy Sanborn is a REALTOR® at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty and can be reached at 603-455-0335.

Last Updated on Friday, 07 June 2013 09:57

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