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Market Insights

Sales steady as fall inventory shrinks

By John W. Rice, broker, Tate and Foss, Inc.

PORTSMOUTH-The Seacoast residential sales picture improved very slightly last month, but showed virtually no change from October 2006.

             In statistics gathered from nine sample Seacoast towns, there were 41 sales in the month, two more than in September, but one less than a year ago. The good news is that inventory fell dramatically from 549 listings in September to 511 in October or a 7.4% decline. Decrease in inventory is a recognized key to firm Seacoast prices. It was the first significant drop in inventory since April.

             Pending sales showed little change. There were 51 pendings for the month, an increase of one from September, making a third straight month of little change in the number of single family homes going under agreement.

             Inventory also declined in the available condominiums for sale from 400 to 385, again the lowest number since April. But pendings were up 21% from last month to 41-the highest number since July. Closed sales, however, slipped to 28, down 20% from last month and the lowest figure in the last six months. The figure represents a 15% decline from October 2006.

             Despite a slumping real estate market nationally, the southern New Hampshire real estate market got some news last week from syndicated columnist John Wasik.

            "Major markets with the lowest level of housing distress include Manchester (NH) and Rockingham, New Hampshire," Wasik writes in an October 27 story that appeared in the Boston Globe. "That's according to HomeSmartReports, s service that tracks six variables of home-market risk."

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