My Housing Story: Putting Down Roots?

In my time writing for Stay Work Play’s “My Space” series, I’ve spent a fair amount of time telling other people’s housing stories. Now seems like the perfect time to share mine because we just bought a house! 

When I was eighteen I moved to Dover. I grew up in a nearby small town, but Nottingham didn’t have much in terms of apartments to rent, so staying wasn’t ever an option. I loved Dover. So much, in fact, that I stayed put for nearly a decade!

Then my landlord decided to sell and I searched for somewhere new to call home. Anyone who has rented in Dover in the last few years can vouch for me on this: the market moves fast. I learned pretty quickly that if I wasn’t the first person to respond to a new listing, that apartment was already rented. Finding a place in Dover was turning into a full time job!

I eventually found a quirky old apartment in Newmarket and settled into my new home. Having been rooted in Dover for so long, our new place felt borrowed. Neither Newmarket, nor our apartment, felt like ours. We moved again a year later when an amazing opportunity came our way in Durham.

That was four years ago. In that time we happily put down roots in Durham. I invested in the community, lending my expertise to Durham’s economic development committee, planning board, and housing committee. My husband became a regular at The Juicery. And the manager at The Work’s Café knows our names. We love Durham and Durham seemed to love us back!

Then, earlier this year, my husband and I decided we needed more space. It was time to buy! And we’re ripping up our roots again. We didn’t find what we were looking for in Durham, so this move is bittersweet, but as of a few days ago we’re officially homeowners! We’re back in Newmarket, but this time, Newmarket feels like home! 

The cool thing about doing housing advocacy is that my life and my work often intersect. Where we live is the foundation of our lives. Now that we’ve purchased our first home, we’ve lived through the experiences I often talk about at work. We paid over asking price, we lost to multiple cash offers before someone finally picked us, and we waived our inspection to ensure our offer was competitive.

If you haven’t seen New Hampshire Housing’s Housing Market Report for October 2020, be forewarned — it’s scary. Despite the coronavirus pandemic and high unemployment, the demand for housing isn’t going anywhere and prices are still going up. The scariest part, I think, is the “months of supply” — the state has less than one month of supply on the for-sale side, which means if the market continued at its current pace and no new homes were added, we’d be completely out of inventory in just one month. 

I wrote several months ago in this post about how the consequence of a limited supply of housing is that younger people can’t put down roots and communities lose amazing people. I think we’ve found a place where we can put down roots; hopefully Newmarket loves us as much as Durham did.

 My housing story may sound familiar to you, but there you have it: my housing story. What’s yours?

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