“Could the era of numerous big dollar waterfront sales be returning?” That’s the question Roy Sanborn, a realtor in Meredith, NH, posed in a column on Saturday in the Laconia Daily Sun.
According to data compiled for the month of April from the Northern New England Real Estate MLS System, the average sales price of a home on Lake Winnepesaukee — $2.15-million — was more than double the average sales price last April.
Paula Hinckley of Lady of the Lake Realty in Sanbornton says her experience selling waterfront homes confirms Sanborn’s observation. “In years past there would be heavy negotiations,” Hinckley says, and buyers would get 20 percent off the asking price. Now, “those deep discounts are not happening.” Today, she says, negotiations are more often within five percent of the asking price.But Russ Thibeault, President of Applied Economic Research in Laconia, warns against drawing conclusions from such a small sample of sales. There were only seven sales on Lake Winnepesaukee in April, and the prime real estate season won’t get started until early summer. “Hopefully he’s right,” Thibeault says, “but one month doesn’t prove it.”
Thibeault is, however, feeling optimistic. “My own sense is that we’re bouncing off the bottom.” He suggests that Granite Staters might find trends in Florida hopeful, based on the fact that Florida and New Hampshire share a similar demographic of home-buyers. There, according to Zillow’s chief economist Stan Humphries, “we’re seeing home value appreciation rates which are quite frankly surprising at this stage of the recovery.”