Cash is king as real estate market keeps soaring

If you have put your house up for sale, chances are your real estate agent will get as many inquiries from brokers outside the Lakes Region as from those who are local.

That’s because the demand for real estate in the area is extremely hot, and the supply of homes for sale is as low as many real estate professionals can remember it ever being.

So an article that appeared Tuesday in the Wall Street Journal – which listed Concord and Manchester-Nashua as the No. 8 and No. 9 respective top emerging real estate markets in the country – is just one more indication that the area’s real estate market will continue to be robust because the area is a desirable place to live.

That two of the state’s population centers – both within an hour’s drive from Laconia – rank at the top of the Wall Street Journal/Realtor.Com list says a lot about what Americans are thinking about how they want to live, work, play, school, and raise their families in a post-pandemic future. It also signals that much of the Granite State is where they feel confident putting roots down financially into one of the biggest investments of their lives while the current economic climate still is far from certain.

And just as interesting is that this activity in the real estate market has not occurred in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, but because of it.

“COVID has pushed people’s envelope to a shorter timeframe,” said Frank Roche, owner of Roche Realty Group, who has worked in Lakes Region real estate for 43 years. “They’ve learned life can be short and that quality of life is important.”

All of this is happening at a time when the inventory of homes for sale is extremely low.

Chris Kelly, owner/broker of RE/MAX-Bayside real estate agency, said that, in a healthy real estate market, there will typically be a four-month inventory of homes for sale. However, the present inventory in the Lakes Region will all be bought up within a month’s time.

Roche said there are now only between 960 and 970 single-family homes for sale in the whole state.

Couple that with the continuing rise in home prices and low interest rates and you have the makings for a very bullish real estate market.

Across the Lakes Region, home prices have increased by double digits in the past 12 months alone – an average of 12.7% in Laconia, 14.2% in Alton, 18.3% in Meredith, and 18.9% in Gilford, according to real estate marketplace Zillow.

For Roche, New Hampshire continues to attract a lot of homebuyers because it offers a lot in terms of quality of life. Taxes are lower compared to many other states. It is a safe place to live and enjoys low unemployment. On top of that, the state basks in the glow of Massachusetts’ strong economy.

“It’s no wonder everyone is grabbing up affordable homes,” he said.

This pent-up demand can have its drawbacks, however,

Roche said this market is tough for first-time homebuyers. They will typically be looking to finance the purchase, whereas someone looking to…

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