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Market Insights

Lack of inventory slows spring market

by John W. Rice

PORTSMOUTH-Real estate sales activity in the 13 Sample Seacoast Towns registered modest monthly gains in March as record low inventory levels limited the spring market to a sluggish start.
The 13 Sample Seacoast Towns are Exeter, Greenland, Hampton, Hampton Falls, New Castle, Newfields, Newington, North Hampton, Newmarket, Portsmouth Rye, Seabrook and Stratham.
The 68 March single family sales were two more than February but represented a 13% decline from last year. Median sale prices reached a new monthly high for the year at $373,000, up 9.73% from 2014. With just 33 more active listings than February, the law of supply and demand may be sustaining prices, but limiting sales volume. Available single family listings, in fact, slipped to at least a five-year March low at 355, down 9.8% from last year. Not surprisingly cumulative sales for the year are off 8.2% from 2014, even though the median sale price is up 4.23% at $357,000.
The condominium side of sales showed no change from last year even though the 36 transactions were three more than last month. With condominium listings off 22.4% from last year, inventory also fell to at least a five-year low. But lack of supply did not boost the monthly median sales price which dropped to $219,000, a new low for the year and off 4.5% from March 2014. Cumulatively, the median sale price for the first three months is $234,000, off a statistically insignificant 1.68% from last year. Annual sales volume remained essentially flat from last year, off by two sales.

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