I was reading a recent article on CNBC by Robert Frank the other day where Lake Tahoe real estate is getting snapped up at a record pace as San Francisco tech workers and LA media types flee the city in search of more space and a healthier lifestyle. Brokers were saying the inventory of homes for sales has shrunk to about one-fifth to one-tenth of the usual levels. They also reported almost all the deals are all-cash with few or no contingencies, and some offers were for houses sight unseen. They reported that while families have long seen Tahoe as a vacation-home market, now many families are planning to stay longer and “they are buying for their primary residence now- they want the outdoors.” One Lake Tahoe Broker said, “people who might have sold in a typical season are keeping their homes because they want a place to stay…the inventory is getting to the point where we are running out of homes for sale…people just want to get out of the city.”

This story from the west coast sounds a bit familiar after all Lake Tahoe is to San Francisco as Lake Winnipesaukee is to Boston. Yes, we are seeing some similarities here in the Lakes region, however, not quite as extreme. Would I have thought we would see rising home prices and huge demand considering we have 15% unemployment and a falling economy? The real estate market was accelerating at a rapid pace prior to the Coronavirus outbreak; however, the Lakes Region has seen a continued surge in buyer demand with a very low inventory level. Like the Lake Tahoe Region, many people who might have sold in a typical season are keeping their homes because they want a place to stay. We are definitely seeing an urgency from out of state buyers in metropolitan areas like we haven’t seen in recent years.

All local Realtors® I’ve talked with have the same comments “it’s crazy out there with lots of showings on good listings and multiple offers on many of them.” Like Lake Tahoe, we’ve also seen lots of all-cash offers with fewer contingencies. Many agents have reported a strong second home, semi-retirement interest, and the need to find an “escape home” away from the city. Also, with the speed of the internet and the success during the pandemic of so many workers working from home, we are seeing trends of these consumers taking up permanent residency. Many of their employers in the city are ok with them working from home in certain instances, and some studies have even shown increased productivity. As a result some companies are cutting back their office space requirements while some employees work from home. In Waterville Valley, I hear school enrollment may be up by as much as 40%, where they are using their second homes for residency. North Conway and Moultonborough the schools have likewise shown increases from out of state residents enrolling.

It’s not only real estate; look at the boat dealerships selling out of inventory as well as jet skis and ATVs. Try to buy a good kayak lately? There’s a strong movement to escape and take in the outdoors. The lakes, rivers, and mountains are the magnet and we have them in the Lakes Region. Take a drive by the parking lots at Mount Major. There’s definitely an “outdoor” movement occurring and it’s real.

At Roche Realty Group, our agents are bringing in many cash offers, and we’ve all experienced multiple offers. The record-low interest rates add to the surge in demand. I was talking with Jodi Hughes-Emerson from Berkshire Hathaway Verani Realty in Wolfeboro. Recently she listed a 2-bedroom, 1,560 sqft lake home on Half Moon Lake at $448,000. Jodi had 35 staggered showings over the first three days and stopped taking offers after she obtained 14 offers. The property went under agreement well over the asking price with a cash sale.

So, are there similarities between Lake Tahoe’s market and the Lakes Region? Only time will tell.

Here is a breakdown outlining sales in the Lakes Region involving 24 towns comparing 2019 to 2020 for the first seven months.

2019 residential properties closed from January 1st- July 31st

Properties closed: 1,280 with an average selling price of $48,476 and a median sales price of $238,750. The average days on the market were 70, with a median of 29.

2020 residential properties closed from January 1st-July 31st

Properties closed: 1,295 with an average selling price of $364,114 and a median sales price of $260,000.

The average days on the market were 70, with a median of 25.

2020 residential properties for sale as of August 6th, 2020 10:00 am EST with AUC and PE

Available properties: 954 with an average asking price of $576,054 and a median asking price of 335,000. Of the 954 properties, 363 are active under contract, 182 are pending, and 409 are active.

2020 residential properties for sale as of August 6th, 2020 not including AUC or PE sales

Available properties: 409 with an average asking price of $758,660 and a median sales price of $389,900.

With only 409 residential properties for sale in the Lakes Region and the high buyer demand, NOW is the time to catch the wave if you want to sell your property!


This article was written by Frank Roche. Frank is president of Roche Realty Group with offices in Meredith and Laconia, NH, and can be reached at (603) 279-7046. Data was compiled by a NEREN map search on 08/6/2020 at 10 am EST and is subject to change. Towns searched as Lakes Region include Alexandria, Alton, Ashland, Belmont, Bridgewater, Bristol, Center Harbor, Effingham, Franklin, Freedom, Gilford, Gilmanton, Hebron, Holderness, Laconia, Meredith, Moultonborough, New Hampton, Ossipee, Sanbornton, Sandwich, Tilton, Tuftonboro, Wakefield, and Wolfeboro. Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market.

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