FILE - Home in Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Portsmouth, New Hampshire, homes.

(The Center Square) – A U.S. housing shortage is being felt in New Hampshire.

The Boston metropolitan area, which also includes parts of New Hampshire, was listed as the ninth most difficult market in the country to purchase a home, according to The area has 8.4 listings per 1,000 households, a 23 percent decrease from last year.

The average home price for the area is $590,000, but that is likely due to higher costs near Boston, said Danielle Hale, chief economist for The median price for a home in New Hampshire was $300,000 in 2019, an increase of 6 percent over the past year, according to information from the New Hampshire Realtors (NHR).

The state also saw a steep decline in inventory. The 12-month average inventory was 4,684, the lowest in 15 years. December’s inventory was 3,289, the lowest of any month since 2005, according to NHR.

Five other Northeastern metros made the list of the top 20 toughest markets to buy a home: Buffalo-Cheektowaga-Niagara Falls, N.Y.; Rochester, N.Y.; Springfield, Mass.; and Harrisburg-Carlisle, Pa.

Two California markets topped the list – San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara and San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward.

Price was a factor, but not the only one, for the markets that made the list. The average home price in Akron, Ohio, which came in at No. 20, was just $147,950. The price had actually declined since the same time last year.

“Although the toughest list is sprinkled with some of the markets you expect, others may be a surprise – they represent markets where housing is still affordable but quality of life makes them attractive markets, especially for first-time buyers,” Hale said.

Another surprise – seven Florida coastal areas made the list of the easiest places to purchase a home with prices ranging from $413,050 to $235,325: Cape Coral-Fort Myers; Miami-Fort Lauderdale-West Palm Beach; Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond Beach; North Port-Sarasota-Bradenton; Jacksonville; Lakeland-Winter Haven; and Palm Bay-Melbourne-Titusville.

“We found the easiest doesn’t mean the market is struggling,” Hale said. "Buyers searching in easier markets generally benefit from a combination of strong availability of homes fore sale and, with some exceptions, healthy, yet more moderate price growth.”

The nationwide housing shortage is due in part to a lack of new construction.

“Builders have a hard time coming by labor, and they have a hard time coming by lots of land,” Hale said. The cost of materials and regulations have made it more expensive for them to build.

That’s tough for those who want to purchase a home, as mortgage rates are low, Hale said.