Throughout 2019 single-family homes in Laconia sold at the highest median price on record. MLS data for our region goes back 23 years, to 1997.
In other words, even though jobs, the stock market and retirement account values are down nationally as a result of the pandemic, the comparable home prices that will be used to determine listing value for local homes are up. Way up. The highest in Laconia history.
Further, through 2019 Laconia single-family homes also sold at the fastest median pace ever recorded, just 30 days on market.
Only time will tell what long-term impact the Coronavirus pandemic will have on Lakes Region real estate values, but I can tell you this: the 2019 trend for peak prices and quick sales continued at least into April 2020.
So houses in Laconia have potential to sell quickly and for a great price.
Median home values simply cannot continue to climb at a rate that far outpaces gains in median household income… especially now, when our nation faces the highest unemployment levels since the Great Depression.
Home values could, however, drop in our area, as it hosts a significant number of vacation homes. Is it so hard to imagine that the panic selling that crushed stock values may hit our local real estate market next?
Think about it. Many Laconia-area homes are luxury residences. Vacation homes. Someone’s second home. Many were purchased when employment prospects, finances and investments were doing great.
Now that things are down, how many of these vacation homeowners, who watched in dismay as the stock market plummeted, may be anxious to liquidate a second (or third) home, liberate cash, and free themselves from the burden of costly property taxes, mortgage payments, heating, electrical, insurance, utility, maintenance, landscaping and other non-essential carrying costs?
Consider the number of people who intentionally sold stocks on a value dip in order to avoid a further drop in value. The fact is, vacation homes are wants, not needs. It’s not hard to imagine that that same panic-based reactionary selling behavior could affect our local market, causing the upward trend in home values to reverse, thereby potentially lowering Laconia home values.
So for some area homeowners, now may be a great time to sell property at a market high, while others are selling stocks at a loss.
Homeowners who missed the opportunity to sell at the previous peak, in 2008, had to wait nearly a decade for home values to recover after the Great Recession took its toll.
And while we’re talking about the elephant in the room, COVID-19, keep in mind that sellers have control over showing criteria, so they can feel as safe as possible if and when listing.
For starters, Realtors® are prohibited from offering open houses at this time, so there’s no need to worry about that. Next, to keep things as safe as possible, sellers can choose a real estate firm that offers Matterport photography. This cutting-edge technology gives prospective buyers a video game-like 3D virtual walk-through of listings, without actually having to step foot on the property. This state-of-the-art “social distancing” approach also helps home sellers know that buyers who do want to schedule a physical showing have a clear understanding of the home’s layout and features, an understanding that they simply cannot get from static photos. Roche Realty has been offering Matterport photography for some time now, and I have found that this tech tool tends to result in fewer but more qualified showings.
Also, sellers can require that showings will only be offered to buyers who can demonstrate preapproval for financing or proof of sufficient funds to make a cash purchase. This way homeowners can have some assurance that they aren’t wasting time and taking on risk by opening a home to people who are just unqualified tire kickers with cabin fever, looking for something to do and someplace to go on a rainy day.
Additionally, home sellers can have agents require that masks and gloves are used by anyone who does schedule a showing, and can limit the number of people who are allowed enter.
The bottom line is that local home values are up, and sellers can take steps to ensure maximum safety and convenience. Let me know if you’re curious about how much your home might be worth in today’s market. A comparative market analysis may help you decide if it is the right time for you to list.
Brent Metzger is a Realtor® with Roche Realty Group. You can learn about Matterport photography at www.RocheRealty.com. Brent may be reached at (603) 229-8322 or email@example.com.