EDITOR’S NOTE: In the week before the presidential election, RealtyTrac is releasing a series of housing articles — dubbed the ‘Swing State Housing Scorecard’ — taking a closer look at eight swing states representing 95 electoral votes — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin. These states are considered tossups and crucial to winning the White House.The articles will evaluate how each state will lean if voters choose a candidate based on whether the housing market is better off (Obama) or worse off (Romney) than four years ago.
Swing State Housing Scorecard: New Hampshire Rockin’ with Romney
New Hampshire’s libertarian leanings swung the Granite State into Obama’s arms in 2008, but the a worsening housing market over the last four years could move the state’s long tradition of thrift and independence into the Romney camp.
Mitt Romney, who owns a vacation home in Wolfeboro, N.H., is seen as a favorite son. He was also the governor of Massachusetts next door.
According to RealtyTrac’s Swing State Housing Scorecard, the key data impacting the housing market are average home prices, unemployment, foreclosure inventory, foreclosure starts and percent of distressed sales. Although New Hampshire is better off compared to four years ago based on two of the housing metrics — foreclosure inventory down 2 percent and foreclosure starts down 18 percent — the other three metrics paint a bleaker picture of the New Hampshire housing market that is worse off than four years ago.
Since President Obama was elected in 2008, the average sales price of a New Hampshire home has fallen 25 percent, decreasing from $236,823 in July 2008 to $177,671 in July 2012. And the percent of distressed sales in New Hampshire has increased by 124 percent, growing from 10.5 percent of all sales in the second quarter of 2008 to 23.5 percent of all sales in Q2 2012.
Meanwhile, unemployment in New Hampshire is below the national average at 5.7 percent, but it grew 39 percent in the last four years, rising from 4.1 percent in September 2008.
New Hampshire, with its four electoral votes, has a history of swinging back and forth between the two parties at the presidential level. In the last 10 presidential elections, the Democratic nominee has won the Granite State four times, while the GOP nominee has claimed it six times. Although surrounded by “blue” states, the independent streak of New Hampshire voters keeps it in the swing state column.