If there was any doubt that the housing market has cooled considerably, one of the latest reports from the AP shows that it has changed from a seller's to a buyer's market, particularly here in New England.
Hardest hit in New Hampshire were condo sales, down 19 percent as compared to a year ago. In general prices for residential properties have declined between 1% and 3% compared to this time last year.
Surprisingly, contracts for residential construction were up almost 17% in southern New Hampshire as compared to last year. It is the sale of existing homes that appears to have taken the biggest hit. In any case, what was once a hot seller's market has flipped over to a buyers market, helping potential homeowners wield more control over how far their housing dollars will go.
As I've mentioned in the past, many homes for sale in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire have been price reduced in an effort to sell them. Some of those homes have been on the market for well over six months. The only part of the market that has not seen such reductions has been vacation properties. Quite often the owners of such homes can afford to wait out the real estate slump.
One downside to the fall off in homes sales has been the revenue the state collects in real estate transfer fees. One report pegs the shortfall in New Hampshire at 13 percent as compared to last year and 21 percent below the state's budget projections.
The rest of New England has also taken a beating in the housing market, though Connecticut and Vermont are expected to see housing prices rise above the national average through 2010. Massachusetts housing prices are expected to fall 1.8%. The demand for construction permits throughout New England are also expected to fall off over the next 4 years, despite the spike in demand seen in southern New Hampshire.
If you've been waiting to buy a home but were scared off by the ever increasing prices then, now may be the time you've been waiting for. Buyers are now in control of the housing market and that's always good for those looking for a bargain.