Housing crisis

Massachusetts’ housing crisis becomes New Hampshire’s problem

By now, anyone who cares should be well aware of the housing crisis that has gripped this state.

The high cost of real estate has caused a traffic jam that has kept many homes off the market, as those looking to downsize have found there’s no savings in selling that larger home for a ranch. or a condo – if they could find one.

This lack of downward mobility – compounded by the lack of new construction – has prevented upward mobility for families trying to buy a bigger house.

This in turn frustrates potential first-time home buyers, who cannot find a suitable starter residence – or who outbid if they do.

The passage of an economic development bill a few years ago contained language that relaxed the requirements for changing zoning bylaws from a simple majority community, in the hopes that it would generate more affordable housing by removing barriers to posh zoning.

The Baker administration also paved the way for more residential homes by mandating multi-family zones near a community’s transit station.

It is not clear at this stage whether these two initiatives will have the desired effect.

A recent Boston Globe article explored another worrisome downside of soaring housing prices – the pricing of high-tech, intellectually driven state labor.

Even supposedly high-paying positions, like high school superintendents and college professors, are feeling the pinch; that’s no consolation to the average resident of the state, who faces even greater hurdles in accessing homeownership.

Median prices are so high in Massachusetts that only Hawaii and California currently exceed us.

In May, the state’s median home price reached $510,000. In Greater Boston, that figure reached a staggering $900,000 in June.

Prices in Somerville, for example, have increased by an average of 56% from 2010 to 2020.

The Globe article referenced a property developer who, when asking workers, including nurses at Mass. General Hospital, where they commute from, he gets responses like, “Well, I live in Rockingham [County], New Hampshire. . . I come to work at 5am

This is another likely inflationary ramification of this state’s unaffordable housing costs.

Massachusetts workers, flocking to southern New Hampshire to take advantage of its relatively affordable housing prices, have helped drive up Granite State’s housing market, pushing demand to levels never seen before.

According to the Nashua City Housing Market Report in July, the median selling price of a single-family home jumped to $440,000.

Home inventory in Nashua fell nearly 15% from June to July. And most home sales during this period exceeded the list price.

In April, the median selling price of a home in New Hampshire hit a record high of $425,000, 17% higher than the previous year and 36% higher than April 2020.

A recent report from the Eagle Tribune newspaper highlighted the growing housing shortage in New Hampshire.

He cited the New Hampshire Housing Finance Authority’s recent annual report, which describes a sluggish housing market for buyers and renters.

The crisis has been going on for decades, the report explains.

With echoes from Massachusetts, New Hampshire has also failed to produce enough housing to meet demand.

At this point, it would take at least 20,000 homes to reach a balanced market, which means a rental vacancy rate of 5% – New Hampshire currently hovers around 1% – and a 6-month supply of homes for sale. The existing supply is less than a month.

Finding accommodation is only half the problem, details the report of the Finance Authority. Affordability is a whole other issue.

New Hampshire’s Office of Job Security, Economics and Labor Market Information has found that essential workers earning a median wage are outrageously priced.

“The most obvious solution to our state’s housing problems is to build more homes and remove excessive zoning barriers that prevent this from happening,” said Rob Dapice, executive director and CEO of New Hampshire Housing Finance. Authority.

It’s an all-too-familiar refrain, one that’s left unrealized will continue to make home ownership in these two states an increasingly impossible dream.