The Lakes Region Professional Porch Sitters Chapter 603 held its first meeting of the New Year on the porch at John “Leadbellie” Goode’s house. John wasn’t home, as he is spending winters down in Florida now, but I knew where the key was and that the beverage center would be stocked to the brim. (Hope he reads this … serves him right.) Those in attendance included Little Stevie Prestone, Dirk Davenport, Rollie Rollins, Bubba Gunther, and Travis D. Coletrain.
As always, the first meeting of the year was all about predictions. I started the discussion off with a recap of Lawrence Yun’s 2019 housing forecast that he made back in November. Lawrence is chief economist at the National Association of Realtors® .
“The forecast for home sales (in 2019) will be very boring —meaning stable," said Yun.
That’s his forecast? A “boring” market?
He also predicts that housing sales nationally will increase about 1.5 percent next year, with a 3.1 percent increase in the median price of homes, and that there will be no housing bubble. That’s it, folks, boring. Now, let’s turn to the local experts.
“What do you think, Bubba?” I asked as he was rummaging through Leadbellie’s refrigerator.
“I predict there will be a continued shortage of Redneck housing in the Lakes Region. Nobody is building affordable homes with four-car garages anymore. In fact, Rednecks have been discriminated against for far too long. I think they will make ‘Rednecks’ one of them protected classes of people,” he responded as he passed out some Porch Crawler beverages.
Travis added, “I predict there will be a continued shortage of affordable waterfront homes in the Lakes Region.”
“Was there ever affordable lakefront?” we all responded simultaneously. “Yes,” Travis fired back, “in 1952.”
“I can predict one sure-fire thing to happen in 2019, guaranteed,” said Dirk. “Because the cost of construction is so high, many people will be fixing up their homes instead of building a new one. And do you know what the number one home improvement project will be this year? No? ... It’s the wall!”
“What in tarnation are you talking about?” asked Little Stevie.
“Think about it,” Dirks explained. “For over three years now, there has been talk 24/7 about building that wall down at the border. Talk about subliminal and not so subliminal messaging … that’s all we’ve been hearing about over and over. So the first time you think of what you want to do at the ranch this year for a project, you think, ‘I gotta build a wall … or a fence!’”
“Fences make good neighbors,” I said. “Remember, Tim 'the Tool Man' Taylor on Home Improvement had a tall fence in his back yard. You never did get to see all of his neighbor’s face because of that fence, but Tim and Wilson W. Wilson Jr. were great friends!”
“Yeah, but you are not going to see any return on your investment when you sell your house. Fences are expensive and depend on what you use for material and how long it is you can spend many thousands of dollars on it,” Rollie said. “You’ll never see that money back.”
“No,” I responded, “but some people really want a fence to keep their dogs in the yard or the critters out of their yard. And a really nice fence can help you sell a house quicker. And it isn’t all about the cost … think about the safety aspect. I have been watching the Walking Dead and, believe you me, you want a nice, tall chain link fence when a herd of Walkers comes your way!”
“The North Wall on Game of Thrones is what I want for that!” Travis piped in. “It is 300 miles long, 300 feet thick and 700 feet tall. It keeps those scary 'wildings' out of the Seven Kingdoms. Now that’s a wall that works. I wonder what that cost to build?”
“Well, all I know is that all the fence companies will be very, very busy this year,” Dirk concluded.
There were 501 single-family homes for sale as of Jan. 1, 2018, in the towns of Belknap County plus Moultonborough, Tuftonboro, and Wolfeboro. The average asking price was $654,064 and the median price point was $325,000. The current inventory level represents about a 4.25-month supply of homes in the market. With this limited inventory, it is a great time to list your home if you are considering selling … especially if you have a fenced yard.
On a sad note, the Lakes Region real estate community has lost one of its own. William “Bill” Tobin was one of the first home inspectors in our area. Bill and his wife, Faith, moved here and started Waterloom Home Inspections. Bill once estimated that he had inspected over 10,000 homes. There aren’t many homes in the area that he had not been in one time or another. Bill was also a state legislator, selectman, health officer, a great man, and a good friend to many, many people. He will be missed. He was 81 years young and somewhere, I bet, he is still smiling.
Visit www.DistinctiveHomes.NH.com to learn more about the Lakes Region real estate market and sign up for a monthly newsletter. Data compiled using the NEREN MLS. Roy Sanborn is a sales associate at Four Seasons Sotheby's International Realty. Contact him at 603-677-7012.