Numbers confirm what would-be homebuyers already know: It’s tough out there

By: - December 16, 2021 4:38 pm
A construction worker stands atop a house frame

Supporters said the bill would provide new opportunities for developments that could lower prices and rents. (Getty Images)

New Hampshire’s housing market remains expensive and prohibitive to enter after a year of unprecedented outside interest, a new report from the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority found this month.

Housing prices are still high. The median sales price is $375,000, up 13 percent since October 2020, the report found. That number is down from its high over the summer, when the median price in the Granite State was $392,200. 

And housing availability continues to fall. There were 4,483 listed homes in November 2021 compared to 6,322 12 months prior  – a 29 percent decrease. At the same point in 2019, by comparison, the state had over 8,000 listings.

Homes are selling faster, too. In 2018, it would have taken about four months to sell all homes if no new homes were on the market; in 2021, it would take only a month.

But the number of sales has decreased in the past 12 months – from 2,482 in October 2020 to 1,961 in October 2021, the report noted.

And some indicators suggest that the state’s constricted supply of homes might be in a position to grow soon. Single-family building permits have increased steadily since the pandemic began, the latest numbers indicate, and building material costs have dropped nearly to 2019 levels. 

Meanwhile, evictions have remained low, the report noted – despite the expiration of a federal moratorium through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in August. Approximately 2,000 writs of possession have been issued across the state so far in 2021. In 2019, that number was almost 7,000. A federally funded program providing rental assistance to landlords and tenants who request it may be keeping evictions low, the Housing Finance Authority noted.

In a note introducing the report, Housing Finance Authority Executive Director Dean Christon noted efforts made over the decade to increase affordable housing in the state. But he acknowledged the pandemic had exacerbated what had already been mounting challenges to affordability. 

“Unfortunately, however, as this report illustrates, many of the housing challenges recognized by the Legislature when it acted more than 40 years ago remain with us today,” Christon said, referring to the creation of the Housing Finance Authority. “Overall, there continues to be an insufficient supply of housing to effectively meet the needs of all of our citizens.”

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Ethan DeWitt
Ethan DeWitt

Ethan DeWitt is the New Hampshire Bulletin’s education reporter. Previously, he worked as the New Hampshire State House reporter for the Concord Monitor, covering the state, the Legislature, and the New Hampshire presidential primary. A Westmoreland native, Ethan started his career as the politics and health care reporter at the Keene Sentinel.