Inside the Hottest Real-Estate Market in the US Right Now

Adelicia Caree

The hottest housing market in the US right now is Manchester, New Hampshire, Realtor.com has found. One local broker told Insider he’s never seen this much activity in his 47-year career. Manchester’s relatively affordable homes attract Boston commuters, who kick off bidding wars. See more stories on Insider’s business page. […]

  • The hottest housing market in the US right now is Manchester, New Hampshire, Realtor.com has found.
  • One local broker told Insider he’s never seen this much activity in his 47-year career.
  • Manchester’s relatively affordable homes attract Boston commuters, who kick off bidding wars.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A $350,000 house hit the market in November. After a hectic weekend with 42 showings, Jeff Nyhan , a real-estate broker, told Insider that 33 offers flooded in. The home sold for well over its asking price.

This kind of mad rush over a coveted property is now typical in Austin and Miami, which have been notoriously competitive hot spots that buyers have flocked to during the pandemic.

But the fought-over home Nyhan represented? It’s in Manchester, New Hampshire, a city 50 miles northwest of Boston that a new Realtor.com report just anointed the most competitive housing market in the US in March.

The study identified the hottest markets using data on where homes are selling fastest and where buyers click on the most listings.

“We’re seeing bidding wars,” said Nyhan, who works at Coldwell Banker, adding that Manchester properties are selling anywhere from $30,000 to $50,000 over asking price, with people borrowing money from their families so that they can make all-cash offers.

“If you have a home in the $300,000 to $400,000 range right now in the greater Manchester area, it’s out the door as soon as you list it,” Nyhan said.

The former mill town with 112,000 residents is a more affordable alternative for people moving from Boston, Danielle Hale, a chief economist for Realtor.com, told Insider. Boston’s median sales price is $700,000, compared with Manchester’s $420,000.

During March, more than half of Realtor.com searches for homes in the greater Manchester area — which includes nearby Nashua, which is closer to the Massachusetts border — were from Boston-based users.

“A lot of home shoppers from Boston are trying to get a little more space at a better price,” Hale said.

Another lure: The ability to work remotely has allowed homebuyers to entertain areas farther from the city, Hale added. The hour-long commute to and from Boston is palatable, especially if professionals with hybrid virtual and in-person schedules do it only a few times a week.

The untethering from physical offices and coastal cities over the past year has led to a stream of new residents in suburbs, second-tier cities, and popular vacation-home spots — many of which are “spillover markets” from major urban hubs.

It’s a tough time to buy a house — because everyone else wants to, too. Over 11% of Americans have moved during the pandemic, driven by low mortgage rates and the desire for more space to shelter in place.

At the same time, there are 40% fewer homes on the market than last year, partly because homeowners are reluctant to list their homes out of fear of not being able to find or afford their next crash pad, which has left a scarily low number of homes for sale nationwide.

Manchester is no exception. In March, the New Hampshire Union Leader reported that only 17 single-family homes were listed for sale there during a single week.

There aren’t enough homes on the market to fulfill that demand, Nyhan said, which drives prices up and leaves buyers fighting over the same house.

In March, homes sat on the market for just 19 days in Manchester, on average, down a whopping 50% compared with the same time last year, according to Realtor.com.

The imbalance of demand and supply has pushed home prices up. They rose at the fastest rate in 15 years, said Goldman Sachs, which is projecting even more growth. The brokerage Redfin found that the typical home sells after less than a week on the market, and it called the record-high home-sale prices “concerning.” The average buyer now needs to offer above asking price to score a house.

Manchester’s median home price of $420,000 may be less than Boston’s, but it’s also 8.4% higher than the same time last year.

William Kanteres, a Manchester realtor and the president of Kanteres Real Estate, told Insider that in the 47 years he’s been working in the area he’s never seen the market so wild.

“In Manchester, in the $350,000 to $450,000 price range, I think there are about half a dozen houses available for sale,” Kanteres said. “And there are about 300 real-estate agents,” all searching on behalf of eager buyers.

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