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Market Insights

January sales plunge, while pendings hold steady



By John Rice, 2011 NHAR President Elect

PORTSMOUTH-Against a backdrop of unrelenting bad weather, the Seacoast Board of REALTORS reported January pending single family sales totals were very healthy. Residential pendings were up 20% from December and condo pendings improved 50%.  January is generally the slowest month of the year for real estate sales.

Still, sales of single family and condominium residential units declined last month, although there was some good news here as well. In an expanded sampling of 13 seacoast towns, the Seacoast Board of REALTORS found that single family sales actually improved ever-so-slightly from a year ago--.09%. Even so, the 33 transactions represent an almost 50% decline from December.

Modest as the month may have been, it was still the best January for single family sales since 2008.

While 20 of the single family sales were for less than $400,000, the $1 million price range again recorded a strong month. The five sales in excess of that figure marked the fourth time in seven months that five or more high-end sales were logged.

On the condominium side, sales declined a more modest 10.5% from a year ago, but an emphatic 51% from December.

"I think you have to take all that snow into consideration," said John Rice, 2011 NHAR President Elect "Plus the local sample is relatively small so numbers swing big. Still, it's been a busy month for most agents, I am told, and there's nothing weak about those pending totals."

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