Newfound Lake

Pictured above is Newfound Lake, one of a handful of lakes that presently have no waterfront homes available for sale. (Courtesy photo)

Here's a quick update on the market and a few things I've observed that will have an impact on the real estate market moving forward:

• Housing statistics were just released by the New Hampshire Association of Realtors for the month of February 2021 for single-family home sales in New Hampshire compared to February of 2020. Here are the results

• Closed sales are up 10.2%

• Median sales price is up 23.5%

• The dollar volume of closed sales is up 31.9%

• Days on the market is down 47.5%

• Pending sales are down 7.2%

• Month of inventory available is down 66.7%

• New listings are down 31.17%

• Home for sales are down 67.07%

• According to the NationalRealEstatePost.com and MortgageNewsDaily.com, we can expect a big hit to second home and investment mortgages. Why? Fannie Mae just announced that they are limiting new loans secured by second homes or investment properties to 7% of the overall loans they purchase (approximately half their historic levels) effective April 1st. As a result, many mortgage lenders will soon be adding considerable cost to these types of mortgages because they can't be certain that Fannie or Freddie will ultimately purchase the loans (due to the 7% cap noted above.)

This appears to be a big money grab to shore up their financial situation. However, this could have a big impact on the second home market here in the Lakes Region, the coastal towns in New England, and a huge impact on the Florida condo and second home investment properties. Cash purchases will obviously not be affected, but it will add increased costs to the financing process.

• In a previous article in December, I mentioned Fannie and Freddie also added a 0.5% cost to all mortgage refinances over $125,000 because the pandemic increased defaults and forbearances. That added cost came at a hard time when families were experiencing financial difficulty. It seems like everything these days is increasing.

• The US Treasury Yield this week hit 1.744%; this is the highest level we have seen since January of 2020. Keep an eye on this figure. If it gets close to 2%, we could see interest rates rise a bit further in the coming weeks. However, Freddie Mac's chief economist stated, "while there are multiple temporary factors driving up rates, the underlining economic fundamentals point to rates remaining in the low 3% range for the year." The increase in the 10-year yield is raising havoc with the NASDAQ exchange. Let's hope interest rates don't follow the same path forward.

• The current number of single-family homes for sale in New Hampshire is 925 (in 2010, there were 11,000 single-family homes for sale in NH!). For condos, there are only 309. For mobile homes, there are only 68!

• In Belknap County, there are only 78 single-family homes for sale, Carrol County has 102, and Grafton County has 97.

• On Lake Winnipesaukee, there are only 17 waterfront homes available for sale! The lowest asking price is $795,000. The highest asking price is $19,500,000. The average price is $4,287,823. The median asking price is $2,000,000. When you consider the lake has 240 miles of shorefront, 17 homes for sale is telling me one thing… we need listings!

• On some of the smaller lakes here is what we have for sale: Lake Winnisquam (1 listing), Squam Lake (2 listings), Newfound Lake (0 listings), Lake Opechee (0 listings), Lake Wentworth (0 listings, Merrymeeting Lake (0 listings), and Lake Kanasatka (1 listing). It looks like the waterfront scene is following Mark Twain's famous quote, "Buy land they're not making it anymore." Certainly, if you're not going to put money in real estate, where else? If you've been following Bitcoin, which has soared to $58,216 could that be your answer…only time will tell. Myself, I like real estate. You can physically use it and enjoy it. It cannot be lost, stolen, or carried away, and it is about the safest investment in the world. The only caveat is there are real estate cycles…at what point does a market appear overvalued? We have to be careful.

• A core logic report stated, "the average New Hampshire homeowner gained $27,000 in equity in the 3rd quarter on a year over year basis. That was nearly double the national average of $13,000 in equity gain for the same period. New Hampshire's gain was among the highest of any state.

• The University of New Hampshire-Carsey School of Public Policy just reported New Hampshire is now gaining significantly more migrants from other US destinations than earlier in the decade. The Largest gains are among young adults 18 to 29). Each year an average of 8,300 more people moved to New Hampshire than left it for other US destinations between 2015 and 2019. This is good news for our state, which is challenged by an aging workforce and population.

• During 2020 the most expensive home that sold in New Hampshire was on Lake Sunapee at $7.5 million, and the most expensive parcel of land sold was in Brookfield at $2.7 million for 80 acres!

• During 2020, $8.8 billion of real estate was sold in New Hampshire, increasing 19% over the previous year.

• There were 18,449 single-family homes sold, 5,052 condos sold, 1,131 mobile homes sold, and 2,717 land sales that took place in 2020.

• So, I mentioned earlier there are only 925 single-family homes for sale in New Hampshire. We have a long way to go to reach last year's volume of 18,449 sold homes.

As Warren Buffett said, "Games are won by players who focus on the playing field…not by those whose eyes are glued to the scoreboard." Buckle your seatbelts here in the Lakes Region. This will be a very hectic selling season as we move forward.

•••

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. Lake data was compiled by a NEREN search on 03/18/2021 at 3:00 pm EST and is subject to change. Please feel free to visit www.rocherealty.com to learn more about the Lakes Region and its real estate market.

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