(Source: By Denis Paiste, The New Hampshire Union Leader, Manchester (MCT) – MANCHESTER — Home prices slipped 3 percent statewide in June from $221,700 to $215,000, but sales volume was the highest since 2007, according to New Hampshire Association of Realtors data.
Residential unit sales have climbed by double-digit percentages for six straight months, reaching their highest volume in June since 2007 both on a month-to-month and half-year comparison, NHAR spokesman Dave Cummings said.
Unit sales rose 18 percent in June to 1,329 compared to 1,129 in June 2011.
Year-to-date through June unit sales were 5,775, the most since 5,962 in January-June 2007, but still well below the pace set in 2004 when single-family home sales peaked at 17,050 for the year.
In Hillsborough County, which includes both Manchester and Nashua, residential unit sales were ahead of 2011 sales by 32.5 percent in June to 363, compared to 274 in the same month a year ago, and up 25 percent year-to-date.
“The more months that pass with a substantial increase in sales, the more comfortable we are in talking about this as a market in recovery,” NHAR President John Rice said in a statement.
In a separate, national report, Zillow Inc. said U.S. home values showed their first yearly increase since 2007, rising 0.2 percent in the second quarter.
“After four months with rising home values and increasingly positive forecast data, it seems clear that the country has hit a bottom in home values,” Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries said in a statement.
In New Hampshire, a contracting supply of available homes for sale may point to future price gains, the Realtors group said.
Months’ supply — a measure of how many months it would take to sell off housing inventory at the current rate of sales — was 9.4 months in June, just slightly higher than May’s 9 percent. They were the first back-to-back months measuring months’ supply in single digits since May and June 2007, Cummings said. Months’ supply peaked at 22 months in January 2009.
“It’s very encouraging,” said Rick Stoudt, president of the Greater Manchester Nashua Board of Realtors. “All these numbers have gone on long enough now to be leading to a trend.”
“In terms of appreciation itself, I think that may take a little bit longer, but the most encouraging sign is the number of sales.”
Stoudt also noted that many hybrid loans that were written in the third and fourth quarters of 2007 are going to reset by the end of this year. “That’s going to be a milestone as well,” he said.
“Once those resets are done, I think the credit situation can begin to normalize a little bit more,” Stoudt said.
Home ownership would increase more strongly if national underwriters Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac would ease up slightly on the credit scores required of borrowers, he said.
NHAR President Rice, an agent with Tate & Foss Sotheby’s International Realty in Rye and a 40-year real estate industry veteran, said multiple offers on properties are once again becoming more common. “Sellers are beginning to regain some of the leverage that buyers have enjoyed for the last five or six years,” he said.
Statewide condo sales rose 12.8 percent in June to 308, from 273 the same month a year ago, with a 7.4 percent sales price increase to $154,000 from $165,350.
In Hillsborough County, condominium unit sales rose 22.4 percent to 104 compared to 85 a year ago in June.
Average sales price also rose 5.2 percent in Hillsborough County, to $154,900 from $146,800.
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©2012 The New Hampshire Union Leader (Manchester, N.H.)
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