By John W. Rice
TAX CREDIT CONTINUES TO SPUR FEBRUARY SEACOAST SALES
PORTSMOUTH-The first-time home buying tax credit, which officially expires in June, appears to have spurred stronger than normal single-family February sales. To qualify for the credit, homebuyers must have their purchases under agreement by April 30. With the clock running, home sales in the under $400,000 category jumped 33% from last month and 50% from February 2009.
Fifteen of the 24 closings were for properties priced under $400,000-almost double the production of both January and last year at this time. Even though there were only seven closings in the $400,000 to $700,000 price category last month that was still enough to register the best February for homes in this price range since 2008.
Ominously, available inventory of single-family homes reached 427 units, the highest in February by far since at least 2006. That was in stark contrast to condominium inventory, which was at it lowest in February since at least 2006.
While condo closings were off 23% from last month and 16% from last year, pendings were up 33% from last year.
"I think the question on everyone's mind is what happens after April 30," Mr. Rice commented. "So far, so good."
WATCH JOHN RICE DISCUSS LAST MONTH's SALES AT THE STATE OF THE SEACOAST NEWS CONFERENCE. GO TO WWW.YOUTUBE.COM/WATCH?V=LCZ-K1yGr6E