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Market Insights

January sales volume at new lows




PORTSMOUTH-January sales totals of single-family homes and condominiums hit three-year lows in the nine sample seacoast towns. The seacoast totals reflected a national picture of low sales volume throughout much of the United States, as reported by the National Association of REALTORS.

            Pending sales in both categories, however, showed hopeful signs, also reflecting national trends.  Single family pending sales actually rose 10% from December, although declining 3% from January 2008. On the condominium side, pending sales recorded an impressive four-month high, up a robust 50% from December, but again off 20% from January 2008.

            For the record, there were only 3 condominium sales in January. The previous record low is 10 sales, set in December. The 16 single-family sales are a 30% decline from December and 43% decline from last year. The previous low was 20 sales set in March 2006.

            "I think a lot of factors combined in January to create a real estate perfect storm," said John Rice, 2009 Past President of the Seacoast Board of REALTORS. "To begin with, January is traditionally the weakest sales month. Couple that with poor weather and very bad economic news and you don't have much to enthuse buyers."

            "On the other hand, spring is coming, interest rates are very low and asking prices have dropped in many cases to 1998 levels," Rice added. "This could prove to be an irresistible combination when the weather turns."


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