The Third Healthiest Real Estate Market
Well, just when you think the activity is improving and you are expecting to see a banner month (that’s relative, you know) for home sales in the Lakes Region things kind of stumble a little bit. Residential sales dropped from 71 sales last April to 47 last month. But the average sales price was up from $274,203 last April to $313,932 this April. For the twelve month period ending 4/30/11 there were 755 homes sold at an average price of $318,206 compared to 766 sales at an average price of $301,804 for the 12 month period ending 4/30/10. So, all in all, the market isn’t doing too badly compared to last year. This appears to be the new “norm”.
I did notice one anomaly in the data last month that is worth clarifying as someone is going to wonder what happened. Two sales in Gilmanton ended up at an average of 112% of the asking price. Actually, one property sold at 94% of the asking price and the other property, at 9 Stevens Road, sold for 122% of the asking price. This property was originally listed at $309,000, was reduced several times down to $189,000 but sold for $230,000. The home is a nice seven room, three bedroom, three bath cape sitting on 5.6 acres with great views and a barn and has a current tax assessment of $295,400. The property was a short sale that didn’t end up being as “short” as it could have possibly been. I asked the listing agent if the bank didn’t accept the buyer’s original offer and if the price was negotiated. She informed me that the buyer actually made the offer of $230,000 because he saw the value in the property and apparently didn’t want to take the chance of missing out.
Last month Lending Tree did some data gathering of their own on all 50 states and the District of Columbia to find out where the healthiest housing markets are. They based their results on five key criteria: debt-to-income ratio, unemployment, home ownership, negative equity, and average loan-to-value ratios. The top ten states had home prices significantly lower than the national average of $298,000. Here are their top three:
3. New Hampshire Debt as percent of income: 18% Unemployment rate: 5.4% Home ownership: 74.9% Negative equity: 25.2% Average home price: $243,000 Loan as percent of home value: 69.8% Percent of U.S. Market: 0.42%
Our unemployment rate was at 5.4% ( 4.9% now), compared to the national rate of 8.8%, which helped the us keep our debt as a percent of income to just 18%. We also have a very high percentage of home ownership and our statewide average home price is below the national average of $298,000.
2. Minnesota Debt as percent of income: 17% Unemployment rate: 6.7% Home ownership: 72.6% Negative equity: 22.2% (among the best) Average home price: $224,000 Loan as percent of home value: 65.6% Percent of U.S. Market: 1.01%
1. North Dakota Debt as percent of income: 14% Unemployment rate: 3.7% Home ownership: 67.1% Negative equity: 37.7% Average home price: $173,000 Loan as percent of home value: 60.1% Percent of U.S. Market: 0.07%
The healthiest real-estate market in the U.S. is North Dakota! They have very, very cheap housing, an extremely low cost of living, an amazingly low unemployment rate of 3.7%, and a 14% debt to income ratio. They may be the healthiest, but seriously who wants to live in Fargo?!? You think it’s cold here? The unemployment rate is low because everyone has left for warmer places and to find more things to do than tipping cows. I’m not going to pick on second place Minnesota as they have got plenty of lakes and you don’t want a bunch of Vikings mad at you, but I’d much rather be third healthiest and be right here! How about you?