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Bar News - November 18, 2015

Section Connection: Real Estate Section Briefed on New Hampshire Economic Status

Russell Thibeault (left), a longtime NH economy-watcher and president of Laconia-based Applied Economic Research, and attorney Tim Bouchard, chair of the NHBA Real Property Law Section.

“Out of the woods – almost,” is the state of the overall real estate market, including pricing, inventory of houses for sale, construction activity and other measures, according to Russell Thibeault, a longtime New Hampshire economy-watcher and president of Laconia-based Applied Economic Research. Thibeault presented his observations at the Oct. 13 meeting of the NH Bar Association Real Property Section.

Thibeault began by tracing the gradual uptick of activity in broader economic measures of employment, GDP, and retail and wholesale prices before discussing the housing market nationally and in New Hampshire. Regarding interest rates, Thibeault said the consensus of economists is that there will be a gradual rise in interest rates and no recession over the next year. He then added “a caveat: Most economists are usually wrong,” before continuing with his prediction of “modestly slower growth and modest rise in interest rates in 2016, barring major international miscues.”

Other points of interest:

  • New Hampshire has finally regained the 25,000 jobs lost in the recent recession, but about one-quarter of the jobs added have been below-average jobs in service industries and tourism.
  • Quality of jobs added in last two years has been increasing; from 2009 to 2013, only 21 percent of jobs added were average or above-average; in last two years, 29 percent of those added jobs are paying above-average wages, many in manufacturing and construction.
  • Population growth for the state is slowing, and the state is getting much older;
  • Seacoast, Manchester, and the Upper Valley are where most population growth will occur;

The real estate market has been slowly improving over the past three to four years, with urban areas improving the fastest. Rental costs are rising and now consume a high proportion of renters’ incomes. Rents remain high due to a shortage of multi-unit housing. Thibeault says that median two-bedroom rental costs of $1,200 a month may trigger a spate of construction in rental housing.

Thibeault said there is a mismatch in housing inventory and the latent demand. “Who will buy the [baby] boomers’ big houses?” He also suggested that zoning and planning boards that in boom years enacted slow-growth ordinances may need to rethink their approach to development, particularly in light of the changing nature of households today. He added that municipal officials need to get over their fear that new home construction invariably leads to an influx of children into the community, necessitating higher education costs.


Elder Law, Estate Planning & Probate Section Holiday Social

The NHBA Elder Law, Estate Planning & Probate Section will have its meeting and holiday social at Dec. 2 at the Common Man with special guests Judge David King, Judge Gary Cassavechia, and Circuit Court staff attorney Beth Kissinger. Judge Cassavechia and Beth Kissinger will discuss their experience in the trust docket, including statistics, recurring issues, and tips for practitioners.

Judge King will give a general update concerning the probate division, including the electronic filing of guardianship petitions and judicial retirements. Space is limited. Section members should RSVP by Nov. 20.

Corp, Banking & Business Law Section Elects Section Officers

The NH Bar Association Corporation, Banking & Business Law Section recently held its annual section officer elections. Elected for the remainder of the 2015-2016 membership year were:

Dennis Haley Jr. (McLane Middleton) – re-elected chair
Anthony Sayess (Rath Young) – vice chair
Alexandria R. Russell (Rath Young) - clerk

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