New residential and commercial properties office opens in Hampton
By Michael McCord
Hampton Union, January 12, 2012
[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]
HAMPTON -- After almost five years of turmoil, it has not been the easiest of times for the real estate business. To open a new residential real estate franchise in the highly competitive Seacoast market takes a high level of confidence. But confidence is running high at ReMax On the Move, which opened a Hampton office in November and plans to open a North Hampton office early next month.
"We feel the market is beginning to turn," said Martha Baroody, vice president of operations at ReMax On the Move. "We've had an unbelievable amount of activity for this winter market."
Baroody, who spent a decade as a broker with Prudential Rush Realty, said the new ReMax On the Move venture is a bet on the future. Brothers Steve and Brian Dumont expanded from their commercial real estate and property management roots into the residential arena because, Baroody said, they want to be established and ready for an expected rebound of the Seacoast residential market.
The Hampton office will be the unofficial headquarters of its residential, commercial and luxury home division. Baroody said the firm is also hiring brokers to augment its business expansion.
The timing for ReMax On the Move comes when there are increasing signs that the residential real estate market has stabilized and possibly, if slowly, begun to rebound. The New Hampshire Association of Realtors released a report last year showing that 2010 unit sales in the state dropped 2.6 percent from 2009, prices rose 1.4 percent to $215,000. Prices had dropped from a record high of $270,000 in 2005 to $212,000 in 2009.
The Seacoast Board of Realtors reported that 2011 will prove healthier than 2010. "It looks like the Seacoast will exceed $400 million in volume in 2011, surpassing 2010 by over 10 percent even with the median selling prices off about 3 percent," said James Therrien, past president of the Seacoast Board of Realtors.
The National Association of Realtors reported that pending homes sales in November reached its highest point in 19 months.
"November is doing reasonably well in comparison with the past year. The sustained rise in contract activity suggests that closed existing-home sales, which are the important final economic impact figures, should continue to improve in the months ahead," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the NAR.
In October, Yun gave a briefing to members of the Seacoast Board of Realtors on the economic and lending factors that are holding back a more sustained real estate recovery.
"We have seen an increase in the residential homes sales, including condos, from 2010 to 2011. This trend appears as though it will continue to grow for 2012," Baroody said.
Contributing factors for an active winter market are an increase in consumer confidence, coupled with a mild winter and low interest rates, and more opportunities for buyers and sellers.
"There's a lot more stability because foreclosures are down and short sales are decreasing. That is taking slack out of the market," she said.
ReMax On the Move plans to increase its public profile in the coming weeks, Baroody said. It will be a sponsor of the Penguin Plunge on Feb. 4 and Feb. 5 at Hampton Beach that benefits the Special Olympics of New Hampshire. She said the ReMax hot air balloon will be on hand for rides.