New Hampshire’s Housing Market Continues To Reflect Low Inventory AND Higher Prices Statewide

September 13, 2017

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The trend continues in New Hampshire’s housing market: a relatively low inventory of homes for sale, particularly in the entry-level range; higher prices for homes that are for sale; and a rental market with low availability of units and increasing rents. To some degree, this trend reflects positives like low unemployment and rising home prices.

According to New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority’s September Housing Market Update report, much remains the same about New Hampshire’s housing market over the past year. In more densely populated counties like Hillsborough, Merrimack and Rockingham – where most of the state’s businesses are located – home prices continue to rise.

In those areas and statewide, the inventory of homes for sale has decreased and in active markets the lack of inventory likely is slowing the pace of sales. While interest rates are still low, it is likely that they will slowly increase over the next year.

The data also indicate that finding affordable housing is an ongoing challenge for buyers and renters. This is of concern because our housing market needs to be responsive to shifts in the state’s demographics and economy. An adequate housing supply supports business growth and enables the state’s economy to grow.

The state’s tight housing market is reflected in the rental market as well as homes for sale. Many low- to moderate-income households continue to rent because there’s a scarcity of affordable homes to buy. This is seen in the low vacancy rate for rentals. For renters, this means they pay a higher percentage of their household incomes for housing, affecting both affordability and housing choice for many households.

The 2017 New Hampshire Housing survey of the Granite State’s residential rental units found the statewide median gross rent of $1,263 (including utilities) for two-bedroom units has increased over 4% since 2016 – the fourth year in a row that rents have increased.

Addressing this clear need for a balanced and adequate supply of housing requires an ongoing commitment from both the public and private sectors. A critical aspect of meeting New Hampshire’s housing demand is having regulatory and other public policies in place that allow reasonable opportunities for housing development. Having a range of housing choices supports a strong and growing economy.

New Hampshire Housing last year increased access to mortgage funding for low- and moderate-income homebuyers, helping about 2,000 households become homeowners. The Authority also financed the creation or rehabilitation of more than 500 high-quality affordable rental units for working families and seniors, and provided direct rental assistance to thousands of very low-income households. This translates to an investment in the state’s economy of almost $700 million last year.

New Hampshire Housing is committed to being innovative and working with partners to provide housing to meet the needs of our state’s residents and businesses, and to support a vibrant and growing economy.

Other NHHFA News:
New Hampshire Housing recently released its annual Residential Rental Cost Survey, which found that the state’s tight rental market continues to drive vacancy rates down and rents up.

The next Housing Market Update report will be available November 1.