Survey says Concord is a top-10 ‘emerging housing market,’ meaning that prices will continue to shoot up

Monitor staff
Published: 4/28/2021 4:01:22 PM

There’s good news and bad news for New Hampshire housing in a new survey, and both come from the same piece of information.

Concord and the Manchester-Nashua region are among the nation’s top-10 “emerging housing markets” in an analysis released Wednesday by the Wall Street Journal and New Hampshire is the only state with two regions in the top-10 list, although Ohio had three regions in the top 20.

That’s good news because the Emerging Market Housing Index is based on predictions that New Hampshire’s job market will stay strong and that we have the sort of “lifestyle metrics,” which attract people. It’s also good news for people who own homes that they’ll want to sell some day.

But it’s bad news for home buyers because the survey predicts housing prices all along the Merrimack River Valley will keep rising more sharply than in most of the country. That’s the point of the index, in fact: To identify places for people to consider when approaching housing as a financial investment.

Officials have been wrestling with the state’s shortage of affordable housing for years. Most recently, $18 million in American Rescue Plan grants was released to help initiatives around the state.

The Emerging Market Housing Index mostly features small cities, including relatively unknown places like No. 1 spot Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, and Lafayette, Ind. The only million-population market was Austin, Texas.

This may reflect the fact that housing in popular large cities is already priced so high that it is difficult for prices to rise sharply in coming years.

Like all indexes, the result depends on what the organizers chose to measure. This index gave points for such things as higher percentage increase in recent home prices; lower unemployment; larger number of Small Business Administration loans as a measure of small-business strength; and interest from other parts of the country as measured by percentage of views on by people “outside of their metro area.” It also gave points for “amenities,” which was measured as “per capita ‘everyday splurge’ stores in an area.”

Concord was No. 8 and Manchester-Nashua was No. 9 on the list. Other top-10 sites included Springfield, Ohio, Billings, Mont., Spokane, Wash., Reno, Nev., and Santa Cruz, Calif.

No other New England areas were in the top-20 list.

(David Brooks can be reached at 369-3313 or or on Twitter @GraniteGeek.)
David Brooks bio photo

David Brooks is a reporter and the writer of the sci/tech column Granite Geek and blog, as well as moderator of Science Cafe Concord events. After obtaining a bachelor’s degree in mathematics he became a newspaperman, working in Virginia and Tennessee before spending 28 years at the Nashua Telegraph . He joined the Monitor in 2015.

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