Squirrel or Iguana?
There were 79 sales in January 2019 in the 12 Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average sales price came in at $494,203 and the median price point was $243,000. Last January there were 71 sales at an average price of $308,649 and a median price point of $220,000.
My wife and I just returned from our winter vacation to the Caymans. I could not be happier that we returned to the snow. Yeah, right! As I reported last year, Grand Cayman in the British West Indies is the inverse opposite of Lake Winnipesaukee. Lake Winnipesaukee encompasses an area of 72 square miles of water. Grand Cayman has a land area of 76 square miles. Lake Winnipesaukee is 22 miles long and so is Grand Cayman! Another coincidence! No, things are just inverted here with land replacing water. Just like we drive on the right and down there you drive on the left. The island and the lake even look similar on a map only one is upside down.
Real estate is similar although a little more inflated on Grand Cayman. You can spend millions of dollars in the Seven Mile Beach area of the island…perhaps many millions more than Governors Island. Most of us can’t afford either place anyway. But you can find plenty of affordable single family homes out away from the main tourist areas in the more remote rural districts like Bodden Town, the North Side, and the East End. Bodden Town has a population of around 10,000 and both the North Side the East End have around 1,400 people not including the surge of tourists during the winter season…just like the Lakes Region gets in the summer. We stayed out in the East End again because that feels like home. You can find single family fixer uppers for around $200,000 CI and some move in ready places in the $300,000 to $400,000 CI. Off course, these houses are not on the water and our US dollars are worth only eighty cents down there. That’s part of the cost of paradise.
Last year when we were down there was a tremendous amount of road kill just like there was here last summer. They have been overrun with green iguanas just like we were overrun with squirrels. See, there’s another invert. Squirrels do a number on our bird feeders and they can also do damage to our homes. The iguanas on the other hand are devastating the foliage and gardens. The green iguana population had exploded to an estimated 1.1 to 1.5 million. That’s a lot of reptiles! These guys are not indigenous to the island like the protected blue iguana. They were introduced to the island as pets some 25 years ago and can grow up to five feet long. Obviously, things got a little out of control down there.
This year we noticed there was hardly any road kill. Why? Well, the Cayman Island Government instituted a “culling” program to get rid of them. That’s a polite way of saying they put a bounty on the little critters of $5 per head and have declared open season. In the last couple of months of 2018 there were 300 licensed cullers (hunters) that exterminated over 300,000 iguanas. They estimate now that things will get much tougher as the other million or so have more places to hide but they are extending the program through 2019. I thought of getting my culling permit and just staying there but realized I really had to come back and focus on selling real estate. I am not sure that $5 per head could sustain my lifestyle for long down there. I think my friend Bart in Laconia who had that terrible squirrel problem last summer should go help out. He is fully retired and could show them boys down there a thing or two about hunting varmints.
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.
The Winni Waterfront Report – January 2019
Affordability and Dire Do Not Apply
There were 483 single family residential homes on the market as of February 1 in the Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average asking price was $668,583 and the median price point was $324,900. This inventory level represents a four month supply of homes on the market. That’s pretty low so if you have a home to sell, now is a great time to consider it. It might be freezing out but there is less competition and that means possibly a quicker sale for you!
I was surfing the internet the other day and stumbled onto the CNBC real estate news site. There was headline after headline for all these short video news stories on how dire the national real estate market was doing at the end of 2018. Here are just a few of the them:
Southern California home sales plunge 20% in December to the lowest pace in 11 year
Pending home sales see lowest December since 2013
Pending home sales drop in December despite much lower interest rates
The unusually large drop in home sales has real estate agents baffled
Existing home sales drop sharply, down 6.4 percent
There are ‘serious problems’ in US real estate
And then comes a headline: Billionaire Ken Griffin buys New York penthouse for $238 million, the most expensive US home ever sold
And another Citadel’s Ken Griffin buys most expensive home in the U.S. Ken Griffin buys most expensive home in the U.S.
And, yet another: Billionaire Ken Griffin buys $122 million London mansion
Right next to Billionaire Ken Griffin buys New York penthouse for $238 million, the most expensive US home ever sold was the headline and story How the affordability crisis is impacting the housing market. Really? You put those two headlines side by each and expect people not to laugh?
Obviously, Ken Griffin doesn’t have an affordability crisis in his world. The word “dire” does not apply to him. The penthouse he just purchased comprised the four top floors of the high rise condo building at 220 Central Park West which obviously overlooks Centr al Park. It has a total of 24,000 square feet of unfinished space! Yup, unfinished! He is expected to spend many millions more in designing and completing the residence. Maybe he will stay in his less expensive London mansion while he has his penthouse pad finished.
Am I jealous? Not a bit. After all, we live in the Lakes Region and I get to see lots of beautiful homes on and off the water that I would much rather have. Who is Ken Griffin anyway? He is a hedge fund manager that started the investment firm Citadel in 1990. The company currently manages $28 billion in assets for its clients. In high school he really, really excelled in math and was president of the math club. Dam it…that’s where I went wrong! He is also a big philanthropist who has given over $700 million to various organizations. So he’s probably a good guy to boot.
So what is my point with all of this you might ask? Well, I just wanted to let you know about the most expensive home ever sold in the U.S. and that the real estate world in not really that “dire” despite the news organizations’ zest for gloomy headlines. And, again, I am not jealous of Ken Griffin. I am upset about the fact that I wasn’t the president of our math club.
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.
There were 89 single family residential home sales in December 2018 in the Lakes Region communities covered by this report. The average sales price for the month came in at $354,880 with a median price point of $277,000. Those numbers are down from the 113 sales posted in December 2017 and the average sales price is down a bit from $473,283 to $354,800. It is really a matter of what properties sold during the month…
For the year 2018 there were a total of 1,418 single family homes sold in the fourteen communities comprised of Belknap County plus Moultonborough, Tuftonboro, and Wolfeboro. Total sales were off about 8% from the 1,541 in 2017 but the average sales price did go up a little to $397,557.
The number of homes sold under the $100,000 and the $200,000 marks have dropped again this year while the mid-range properties have increased in each price category. Inventory levels are down particularly in the lower price points so this trend may continue.
Laconia once again posted the most residential home sales with 243 transactions, followed by Moultonborough with 150, Gilford with 141, Barnstead with 136, and Alton with 133. Center Harbor had the fewest sales with 15. The towns with the highest average sales prices were Moultonborough at $732,217, Center Harbor at $529,766, and Meredith at $504,819. It is amazing what some waterfront sales can do for the numbers! For those looking for more affordable housing, the towns with the lowest average sales prices were Tilton at $208,214 and Barnstead at $229,040. The average price has climbed back to within just 1.32% of the peak average in 2017. Some towns look to have improved more than others in the rebound but some of the disparity is most likely do to the effect of waterfront pricing in towns like Alton (-19,95%) and Center Harbor (-25.5%.) I think the market is back! What will 2019 bring??
There were just seven waterfront homes sold on Lake Winnipesaukee in December of 2018 with an average price of $1,080,228 and a median price point of $782,500. That is down sharply from the twenty-two transactions posted last December. But have no fear, it was still not a bad year overall!
Last month’s transactions bring us to a total of 157 sales on the lake for the year which is7% off from the 170 sales posted in 2017. The average sales price for 2018 came in at $1,170,094 and the median price point was $950,000. The average sales price is up about 3% over 2017.
The total sales volume for the year was down slightly to $183,704,759 from $192,785,704 in 2017. The three highest sales for the year were; 112 Hopewell Rd in Wolfeboro at $3.2 million, 162 Alpine park Rd in Moultonborough at $$4.178 million, and 520 Edgewater Drive Gilford at an even $5 million.
It is not surprising that the bulk of the waterfront sales were under $1 million with only 3% of the sales over the $3 million mark.
Once again, the highest number of sales for the year occurred was Moultonborough with 54 transactions (they also had the most in 2017with 66.) Moultonborough always seems to have the highest number of waterfront sales because it happens to have the most waterfront properties of all of the towns on the lake! Alton posted a healthy 31 sales. Wolfeboro and Center Harbor (but with only one sale) posted the highest average sales prices on the lake.
There were no sales in December on Lake Winnisquam. None! But that brings the total number of sales on the lake for 2018 to twenty-five at an average price of $782,476 compared to nineteen with an average price of $604,900 in 2017. Prices on Winnisquam have been steadily gong up and there were four sales over the $1 million mark which is extraordinary!
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system.
Photo via Pexels.
Guest Blog By Erin Reynolds The DIYMama diymama.net |
3 Things You Need To Know If You’re Selling Your House In The Off-Season
Generally speaking, the best time to sell your house is in spring. This is when most people are buying, while fewer people opt to go through the stress of buying a house around the holidays. However, this is not a hard and fast rule, and it is perfectly possible to sell a house in the off-season – in fact, in some cases, it may be easier. All you need is some research and good advice.
There Are Definite Benefits
It’s easy to feel like there is no point listing a house in the winter, but there are actually many reasons why it could be a good idea. For one, there will be less competition for the buyers that are looking for a home, which include people relocating in the first quarter of the year.
Also, your house will not necessarily sell for a lower price in the off-season. Informing yourself on housing trends in your area is a great way to help determine what prices look like.
Curb Appeal Is Still Important
One of the benefits of selling a home in the winter is that curb appeal can be less demanding. No one expects you to have a lush front yard full of colorful flowers or a picture-perfect green lawn. However, that doesn’t mean you get to neglect curb appeal entirely.
You should still make an effort to give your home the best possible first impression, which includes clearing out snow, grit, and leaves. You can also bring color and personality into the front yard through other methods, like seasonal decorations or bright plant pots. Lowe’s has some great suggestions for boosting fall curb appeal, while this guide details how to make your house feel warm and inviting in the middle of winter.
Staging Can Make The Whole Difference
Staging is an important part of any home sale, and it doesn’t have to be expensive. A few affordable techniques can be particularly useful during winter.
You can stage your house so that, when buyers step inside from the cold, they are greeted with a place that feels comforting and warm. Take inspiration from winter decorating tips from home decor magazines and websites to get the tone right, and try out some cozy winter lighting options.
However, cozy doesn’t mean crowded. Buyers like open, neutral spaces with minimal clutter, no matter what the season. Take time to declutter your space, leaving only a few simple touches to make the place feel bright and comfy. Don’t know what to do with all the stuff? Placing what you don’t need in a storage space is an easy and relatively cheap option: 5×10 self-storage units in nearby Tamworth, New Hampshire, can be rented for as low as $35 a month.
Selling in the off-season should not be a turn-of. Whenever you choose to sell your home, there will be buyers interested in what you have to offer. The decision of when to put your home on the market should be based on what is best for you and your family, and if that’s in the fall or winter, just go with it.
You will have less competition, a more dedicated realtor, and the opportunity to stand out with some beautiful seasonal landscaping and staging. As long as you stay well-informed of your local market and commit to making your home look as good as it can, you will be finalizing a sale in no time.
Porch Sitter 2019 Predictions
The Lakes Region Professional Porch Sitters Chapter 603 held their 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 national will increase about 1.5% next year with a 3.1% 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 explains “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 depending 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 pipes 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 January 1, 2018 in the towns of Belknap County plus Moultonborogh, 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 in 1961 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.
Data compiled using the NEREN MLS system
Name That Christmas Tune
There were 129 single family residential sales in the fourteen Lakes Region communities covered by this report in November 2018. The averages sales price came in at $425,951 (which was 95% of the average asking price.) The median price point stood at $275,000 and the average time on market was 79 days.
So, it is Christmas again! There is no other holiday that means more to family and friends than Christmas …except for Superbowl Sunday and Daytona Speed Week in some circles, that is. It’s a time to get together to celebrate in your home, gather round the Christmas tree, exchange some gifts, drink some spiked eggnog, and maybe even sing a few Christmas Carols.
I remember as a kid growing up in Northern NH all the kids from school and a few adults (in a futile attempt to supervise us) would pile in a school bus and go around town signing Christmas carols. Yeah, I know it sounds lazy, but we had to take a bus as the houses were way too far apart to walk to and it was usually well below freezing.
Anyway, Christmas songs are a big part of the holiday and the words “home” and “house” are often part of the lyrics. Sometimes it can be hard to remember all the words of the well-known songs even though they are rattling around in your brain somewhere. So, here’s a test for you. See if you can name the following Christmas tunes from just a little bit of the lyrics. And as a special extra credit question, see if you know which Christmas song was originally about Thanksgiving! No…I am not giving you the answers…except for the last one…you can Google the rest of them!
I met a man who lives in Tennessee
And he was headin’ for Pennsylvania
And some homemade pumpkin pie
From Pennsylvania folks a travelin’ down
To Dixie’s sunny shore
From Atlantic to Pacific, gee
The traffic is terrific
Friends and relations send salutations
Sure as the stars shine above
This is Christmas, yeah,
The church bells in town
All singing in song
Full of happy sounds
oh, how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes and bites the nose,
as over the ground we go.