Published DateWe finished off 2012 with a somewhat lackluster December that produced only 57 residential sales in the Lakes Region communities covered in the report. The average sales price for the month came in at $315,391 with the median price point at an even $200K. This is considerably lower than the total of 73 homes sold December 2011 and not what we were hoping to see. But even with the poor ending 2012 was a pretty good year in terms of the overall activity. Residential home sales increased from 773 sales in 2011 to 915 transactions in 2012 which is a 19 percent increase in total sales! That's the really good news.
The not so great, but not so terrible, news is that for the year 2012 as a whole the average sales price slipped only a little bit to $302,188 from $306,460 posted in 2011. The median price point also slid from $190,000 to $182,000. This just confirms what we had been seeing all year long. Prices are down some and more lower priced homes are selling then the higher priced ones which also contributes to the lower average. A look at the breakdown of what is selling by price reveals that 55 percent of the sales last year were below the $200,000 mark. That's up from the 50 percent for that price category on 2011.
The total number of sales in the higher price ranges did increase slightly but the actual percentages of the total count in those categories went down compared to 2011. Also, as expected, the chart below shows that the more expensive a home is, the longer it is likely to be on the market. Homes under $100,000 sold in an average of 118 days on the market and those over $400,000 took almost twice as long to sell. When you factor in that many of the higher priced homes have been listed multiple times, the number of days on market is much higher. Still, 27 percent or 245 of the homes that sold went under contract in 30 days or less. So homes can be sold relatively quickly if the conditions are right.
Are home prices slipping in all communities or are any rebounding?
In the peak sales year of 2007, the average price for the homes sold in our 12 communities came in at $398,717. The $302,188 average sales price last year represents a 24 percent drop from that peak. The least affected town seems to be Moultonborough where the average sales price for the year was $616,539 which is only 1.1 percent off the $623,483 average posted in 2007. Moultonborough is one of the six towns in our report that had an increase in the average price over the prior year. Alton's average jumped from $314,528 in 2011 to $379,050 last year, but is still 30 percent off the 2007 average of $542,151. Obviously, these two communities represent towns with a heavy dose of waterfront sales which have been a little more stable than the residential sector. The four other communities that saw average price increases in 2012 were Center Harbor, a very slight increase in Gilmanton, New Hampton, and Sanbornton. Even with an increase of $25,000 in the average price in Center Harbor that town is still 52 percent off its peak of $711,083 when there were numerous waterfront sales in that town.
While we are not going to get back to 2007 sales levels and prices any time soon (and probably shouldn't), hopefully, our total sales numbers will continue to increase in 2013, the inventory will stabilize, and prices will stop sliding down this slippery slope we've been on. All we need is to have some consumer confidence return to the market and some sign of economic improvement. I'll get to work on that we should have a pretty good New Year!
Please feel free to visit ww.lakesregionhome.com to see more year end data, carts, and graphs. Data was compiled as of 1/22/13 using the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System. Reports are also available by email. Roy Sanborn is a REALTOR® at Roche Realty Group and can be reached at 603-677-8420