This Norwich home, which sold in July, is an in-law apartment case in point: the walk-out lower level has its own full kitchen.

Sign of change: Upper Valley homebuyers seeking in-law suites

Submitted 23 days ago
Created by
Mark Travis

Cheryl Herrmann has more than 35 years of experience selling real estate in the Upper Valley, the past 30 as owner of the RE/MAX franchise in Norwich -- so she has seen a lot of real estate seasons, hot and cold, come and go. This one stands out as much for what buyers wanted -- recent home with in-law suite, anyone? -- as for anything else.

Here’s her take on 2018.

How would you describe the Upper Valley real estate season this year?

This year has been a very active market. In fact by June I had exceeded all that I had done in 2017. Prices continued to rise, due to low inventory, but at a moderate rate -- with two exceptions in the core market. Norwich had a rather significant increase, whereas Lebanon fell. Hartford also went down when looking at the number of units sold.

We also have continued to see a high number of cash buyers. Interest rates have increased and with each 1 point (1 percent) increase there is a 10 percent loss in buying power.

Is there anything about the types of houses people were looking for that stood out? 

With the new technologies and environmental/energy concerns more and more buyers are asking to build new. The issue is finding the land, and with high prices for construction materials, this option is harder to find.

With that being said, many buyers at least are looking for a "new" house -- ideally built within the last 5-10 years. However, after the last recession we had seen very little spec building and therefore not much of a selection of new construction.

The other interest has been for a first-floor master / in-law suite. More and more of the buyers I have been working with either have parents living with them now, or they are planning for that in the future. It's been much easier to find apartments over garages, but a second-floor living space is not a good option for many.

In what price range and in what locations did you see the greatest activity?

I selected the following towns to highlight this year’s activity: Hanover, Norwich, Lebanon and Hartford. The numbers cover from Jan. 1 to Nov. 9.
This article and "The Lowdown" are a production of Story Kitchen Creative.


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