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Memorial Day Macro Musings

Its Memorial Day Weekend in the Lakes Region of New Hampshire. Traditionally the onset of summer activities for local neighborhoods on the hundreds of lakes surrounding Lake Winnipesaukee. The anticipated return of the seasonal second home owner from exotic and far away places such as Florida, Arizona and Massachusetts has begun. We, the hardy year rounders have been looking forward to their re-emergence and the renewal of the social season as much as they.

All along the shorelines neighbors are helping neighbors put in docks, launch boats and clean up debris left over from the storms of winter. My own dock took a major hit during a brief thaw in January when after a day of strong winds ice shelves piled up against the pilings and forced the supporting cribs apart. My neighbor and friend J.R. Stockwell, who spends the winter months climbing peaks in the Presidential Range, and a nephew, wrestled it back into shape.

Last night was the inaugural campfire with old friends and where the conversations ranged from baseball to real estate, being in New Hampshire politics are avoided as a rule. The Comprehensive Shoreline Protection Act was an early topic and how it affects waterfront property values. Another were the various conditions influencing the real estate market in New Hampshire and the nation. Compared to so much of the country the Lakes Region here has escaped the brunt of weakening markets. The condition of California and that of our neighbor Massachusetts as financially viable states certainly gives cause to consider possible rippling effects.

This broad economic downturn is the third I have experienced in the market since the late sixties. I can recall a 1990 headline in a Colorado paper reporting that 9 out of 10 real estate transactions in the city and county of Denver had been foreclosure sales that year. It was a headline that made a strong impression on me for I considered it to be a rare buying opportunity. Over the next 5 years the population of that area almost tripled with the commensurate rebound in housing market. Boom and bust cycles are characteristic of a free economy and in the past have established the foundations for strong sustained growth in real estate.

Whats different now? True there is greater government involvement in the private market than there has been since the 30s. And there is change among the traditional pillars of the national economy. But the broader view remains unchanged. America always has always provided unique attraction for the investment centers of the world because of its market dynamics, traditional business culture, safety of principal and inherent natural resources. Money flows to such havens in times of uncertainty.

Which brings the conversation back to New Hampshire and the attractiveness it offers to so many other regions of the country and beyond. The abundance of fresh water is of no minor importance to those areas lacking it, a beneficial regulatory and tax climate for large and small businesses, a well educated and creative class of citizenry, healthful natural resources and atmosphere, and lastly a strategic geographical location. The conclusion I must draw is that again a rare and unique opportunity is present for buyers of every means here in the Lakes Region. And I encourage you to step back and view the larger picture and realize the advantages present today. The only certainty in life is that of change.

jferriman@spencerhughes.com (603) 520-5385

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