NH Housing Trends: Rockingham, Hillsborough & Strafford Counties Roger Odoardi What’s not to love about living in New Hampshire? Continually ranked as one of the best states to live, residents enjoy low crime rates, great healthcare options and an affordable cost of living. Plus, not having to worry about sales and income tax doesn’t hurt the overall quality of life. Another benefit of living in New Hampshire is the location variety throughout the small state. You could choose to live in a city setting like in Manchester, or in the beach town of Hampton. To break down your options, we’ve examined housing data and trends from the US Census Bureau for three of the most popular counties in New Hampshire: Rockingham County (Portsmouth, Exeter, Hampton) Hillsborough County (Manchester, Nashua) Strafford County (Dover) And while the most recent housing data available is from 2015, we’ve also incorporated Realtor.com research to determine housing trends and expectations for the future. Rockingham County Portsmouth, NH As the unofficial capital of the Seacoast, Portsmouth is a quintessential seaport city only minutes from the Maine border and a quick shot to Massachusetts. The downtown scene includes top-rated restaurants and coffee shops blended in with luxury condos and apartments in prime locations, making it a coveted location for professionals both young and old. Outside of downtown, you’ll find traditional New England-style homes in safe neighborhoods, as well as a great school district and all the necessary amenities. Notable Portsmouth Spots Strawbery Banke Prescott Park The Music Hall Data 2013 2014 2015 Population 21,237 21,366 21,426 Median household income for occupied housing units $64,577 $67,679 $71,392 Median value of owner-occupied housing units $340,000 $349,800 $362,800 Median selected monthly owner costs – with a mortgage $2,127 $2,160 $2,114 Median property taxes $5,615 $5,870 $5,926 Median gross rent $1,114 $1,138 $1,142 What Does the Data Mean? With Portsmouth’s convenient location and idyllic setting, the home values are a bit on the higher side compared to other spots in New Hampshire. Not surprisingly, from 2013 to 2015 home values, real estate taxes and rents saw an increase. Median selected yearly homeowner costs with a mortgage accounted for 35% of household incomes. But with home values and household incomes increasing each year, an investment in a piece of property in Portsmouth could yield great benefits in the long run. Plus, who wouldn’t want to be close to the Atlantic during the height of summer? Exeter, NH One of the first settlements in New Hampshire, Exeter is a charming New England town with a quaint downtown featuring a variety of local restaurants and shops. And with Phillips Exeter Academy and a school district with a 10/10 rating, Exeter is a desirable location for families. The town continually has a variety of condos, townhouses and homes available throughout its almost 20 square miles. Notable Exeter Spots Phillips Exeter Academy American Independence Museum Data 2013 2014 2015 Population 14,387 14,434 14,482 Median household income for occupied housing units $74,350 $74,071 $73,519 Median value of owner-occupied housing units $281,800 $274,500 $270,900 Median selected monthly owner costs – with a mortgage $2,261 $2,262 $2,155 Median property taxes $6,527 $6,575 $6,564 Median gross rent $1,131 $1,156 $1,174 What Does the Data Mean? From 2013 to 2015, home values decreased by 4% in Exeter. On the brightside, this also brought lower monthly homeowner costs. But even with this dip, median gross rents were at their peak in 2015. A good thing to keep in mind is that Exeter property taxes are billed twice a year in June and November. Since Exeter has the highest median property taxes on our list, this will be an important factor when searching for a home. Hampton, NH A beach town with a suburban feel, Hampton is a quick drive from Massachusetts and Portsmouth. While it has a relatively low population, Hampton swells during the summer with tourists and summer rentals, since it is most popular beach in the Seacoast region. The Blue Water Mortgage team likes Hampton so much, we even call it home to our main office! Notable Hampton Spots Hampton Beach Smuttynose Brewery Ocean Gaming Casino Data 2013 2014 2015 Population 15,120 15,073 15,132 Median household income for occupied housing units $68,162 $73,750 $76,836 Median value of owner-occupied housing units $329,200 $331,500 $339,800 Median selected monthly owner costs – with a mortgage $2,157 $2,155 $2,072 Median property taxes $5,689 $5,712 $5,664 Median gross rent $1,137 $1,135 $1,124 What Does the Data Mean? Home values climbed 3% from 2013 to 2015 while monthly owner costs dropped 4%. Median property taxes fluctuated throughout these three years and median rents saw a slight dip. Housing Forecast for Rockingham County As of June 2017, Realtor.com reports the median list price for homes in Rockingham county as $382,000 with a 4.5% increase year over year. This is on par with the median home values reported in the above charts, with Portsmouth and Hampton having some of the highest in the county. While the 4.5% increase might seem high, it’s the lowest in New Hampshire. Still, with the growing appeal of the Seacoast area it’s best to move quickly when it comes to finding properties in Rockingham county. The 10 Questions You Need to Ask Before Buying a Home Hillsborough County Manchester, NH Manchester is New Hampshire and northern New England’s largest city, situated right on the Merrimack River. The center of industry for the state, the city is rampant with historic mill buildings that are used both residentially and commercially. Manchester also has convenient access to an airport that offers easy-to-navigate parking options and direct flights to cities across the country. It’s also only 18 miles south of the capital city of Concord and the headquarters for Southern New Hampshire University. Notable Manchester Spots Currier Museum of Art SNHU Arena Northeast Delta Dental Stadium Data 2013 2014 2015 Population 109,942 110,065 110,139 Median household income for occupied housing units $54,496 $55,306 $54,282 Median value of owner-occupied housing units $217,800 $209,600 $204,700 Median selected monthly owner costs – with a mortgage $1,869 $1,829 $1,774 Median property taxes $4,547 $4,582 $4,597 Median gross rent $994 $1,002 $1,014 What Does the Data Mean? Manchester home values saw a 6% decrease from 2013 to 2015, but rents saw a slight uptick each year. As home values decreased, so did monthly owner costs but property taxes still climbed. Nashua, NH Nashua is New Hampshire’s second largest city and just 45 minutes from Boston. The city has been going through a revitalization period over the last few years, and was recently named one of the best places to live in the country. New housing developments, growing businesses on Main Street and young families are bringing new life to the city, making it a popular place to call home in New Hampshire. Notable Nashua Spots Greeley Park Mine Falls Park SkyVenture Indoor Skydiving Data 2013 2014 2015 Population 86,766 86,799 87,110 Median household income for occupied housing units $64,661 $66,818 $67,246 Median value of owner-occupied housing units $244,600 $240,500 $240,800 Median selected monthly owner costs – with a mortgage $1,995 $1,956 $1,936 Median property taxes $4,937 $4,931 $5,049 Median gross rent $1,082 $1,110 $1,113 What Does the Data Mean? Home values in Nashua saw a decrease between 2013 and 2014, but started to climb back up in 2015. Notably, property taxes increased 2% from 2014 to 2015 and median monthly homeowner costs accounted for 34% of median household income. Housing Forecast for Hillsborough County Median list prices for Hillsborough in June 2017 were $323,800, according to Realtor.com. Hillsborough county has the highest year-over-year median list price percent increase in New Hampshire, at 11.7% This means that if you’ve been thinking about buying a home in Manchester, Nashua or any of the other great towns in Hillsborough county, the high year-over-year increase in list prices may mean you should make moves sooner rather than later. Do you prequalify for a mortgage? Find out here. Strafford County Dover, NH Dover is the oldest permanent settlement in the state and the seventh oldest in the country. A little-known gem just north of Portsmouth, the city is located right on the Cocheco and Bellamy rivers, offering great scenery for locals and visitors. The downtown scene is rich with exceptional restaurants, quaint shops and mill-style apartments and condos. Notable Dover Spots Children’s Museum Woodman Institute Museum Tendercrop Farm Data 2013 2014 2015 Population 30,207 30,322 30,534 Median household income for occupied housing units $57,389 $60,038 $61,008 Median value of owner-occupied housing units $244,000 $241,800 $242,800 Median selected monthly owner costs – with a mortgage $2,043 $2,033 $1,946 Median property taxes $5,754 $5,876 $5,859 Median gross rent $983 $997 $977 What Does the Data Mean? 2014 saw low home values, high rents and high real estate taxes. But in 2015, home values started to climb back up, rents were at their lowest in three years and real estate taxes slightly dipped. Housing Forecast for Strafford County Dover is one of the fastest growing cities in New Hampshire, so expect housing demands and home values to rise. In June 2017, Realtor.com reported the median list price for homes in Strafford county as $274,000 with a 5.6% increase year-over-year. Interested in mortgage rates for these or any other New Hampshire counties? Contact the Blue Water team and we’d be happy to answer any of your questions. Roger Odoardi Roger is an owner and licensed Loan Officer at Blue Water Mortgage. He graduated from the University of New Hampshire’s Whittemore School of Business and has been a leader in the mortgage industry for over 20 years. Roger has personally originated over 2500 residential loans and is considered to be in the top 1% of NH Loan Officers by leading national lender United Wholesale Mortgage.