Moving To New Hampshire? (The Truth About Living Here)

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New Hampshire, also known as the Granite State, is situated close to our neighboring Canadian border, and is home to around 1.36 million residents. It’s a small state with a big personality, from vast unspoiled forests and soaring mountains to bright bustling cities.  As one of the original 13 colonies, the state is brimming with old-world charm and historic towns and cities dotting the breathtaking landscape.

Autumn colors in New Hampshire

Recent population and real estate data reveal that people are moving to New Hampshire at a rate that far exceeds that of those who are leaving, and it makes sense; once you can call the ‘Live Free or Die’ state home, why would you ever want to leave?

If you’re considering relocating to this beautiful corner of the US, there’s a lot you’ll need to consider. Let’s take a look at everything you need to know about moving to New Hampshire so that you start out your journey on the right foot.

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Where are the Best Places to Live in New Hampshire?

 

New Hampshire has towns and cities to suit everyone, whether you’re looking for ample job opportunities and exciting nightlife, or you want to kick back in the country and spend your days exploring nature.

Finding the best places to live in any new state can be a challenge. Luckily we’ve researched for you, uncovering some of the hidden gems and well-known places to live in the Granite State. Although this shortlist is by no means exhaustive, it should help you learn about areas of the state that are best suited to your personal and professional preferences.

In no particular order, let’s dive right in…

Manchester

Manchester, located in the southern hemisphere of New Hampshire, is the largest city in the state by population. Around 113,000 people call Manchester home and the community is vastly more diverse than in much of the rest of the state. Those that enjoy “city life” will enjoy the lively and vibrant nature of Manchester, with a thriving nightlife and plenty of exciting events throughout the year to partake in.

Manchester, New Hampshire, USA Skyline on the Merrimack River.

Looking for a new career or job with the move? You’ll be glad to know that the unemployment rate in the city is much lower than the national average, and there are some great job opportunities here, especially in the areas of tech, communications, and healthcare.

There are also some fantastic public schools both in the city and further out in the surrounding suburbs for those raising or planning on raising a family in the area. As for housing, homes in Manchester are much more affordable than many other areas in the state, with the median property value coming in at right around $255,000.

Concord

Concord, sat on the banks of the Merrimack River, is New Hampshire’s capital city. It’s a pretty place with period architecture clustered around the vibrant downtown area. There’s plenty to do here, with tons of shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars. The city is also just a 20-minute drive away from Manchester, so it’s a great place to base yourself if you’re looking for job opportunities.

Around 42,500 people call Concord home, and many people move in from other areas of New England for work. Like much of the rest of the state, residents tend to be liberal, and the population is surprisingly young, with a high percentage of people under 40.

The median home value in Concord is pretty reasonable compared with many other areas on this list, at $223k.

Hanover

Hanover is a peaceful rural community with a population of just over 11,000 people at the last Census. Hanover sits on the banks of the picturesque Connecticut River, along the border of Vermont. It’s a great place to raise a family, with virtually no crime to speak of, and the community is full of fantastic public schools from elementary to high school.

This sleepy community might not have the excitement or buzz of the big city, but if you’re looking to settle in a close-knit community nestled in the lap of nature, then you can’t get better than Hanover. Other notable features include prestigious Dartmouth College, the US Army Corps of Engineers Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, and an intersect with the famed Appalachian Trail.

That said, all of this does come at a price. New Hampshire property is on the higher end of the spectrum as compared to other cities in the state, with the average median home price in the city limits sitting at right around $631,000.

Bedford

This friendly suburb of Manchester offers a great balance between a small town, and a vibrant, lively community, with plenty of amenities within the area. It’s home to around 21,000 people and is popular with commuters into the city. Its super convenient location close to the Manchester-Boston Regional Airport makes it easy to access the rest of the country and enjoy international travel.  It’s also only 50 miles from Boston, so taking a weekend trip is a breeze.

The average list price of homes in Bedford is $485,000.

Portsmouth

This picture-perfect community looks like something from a storybook, with colorful colonial houses and a picturesque waterfront.

Portsmouth, New Hampshire town cityscape.

It’s a safe area that’s popular with families, especially since the public schools here are some of the best in the state.  Around 21,000 people call Portsmouth home, but during the summer months, things get a lot busier as tourists descend to explore the 17th and 18th century architecture, visit the museums and spend time relaxing by the port.

This popular area is one of the more expensive places to call home in the state. The median property listing here is a hefty $615k, but the median sale price is a little more pocket-friendly, at $486k.

Amherst

Amherst is another fairy tale style town, with great little restaurants and cafes, a super low crime rate and some fantastic public schools. The area is packed with colonial architecture, especially in the thriving downtown area that sees plenty of community activities throughout the year.

It’s also a great place for nature lovers; the town is home to Ponemah Bog Wildlife Sanctuary, the Joe English Reservation, Baboosic Lake and the Hodgman State Forest.

The average median home price in Amherst is $390.

A MORE RELAXED LIFESTYLE!

The Free State has a lot to offer people who are looking for a more relaxed lifestyle. Real estate in the white mountains and upper regions of the state is incredibly inexpensive; it’s possible to purchase a home on a river, lake, or right at the foot of some hiking trails for a fraction of what you would pay in other states.

 

If you want to be closer to Boston, there are still a lot of properties in Southern New Hampshire, about an hour from Boston, with the same amenities. Big Island Pond, Beaver Lake, and Cobbetts pond all offer beautiful views, with lots of nearby conservation land. Hiking, biking, kayaking, and getting a view of Bald Eagles, Loons, and Blue Herons on a regular basis are all part of living in this area.

 

These areas are also close to Manchester, which offers a more robust job market, as well as being within driving distance of both Concord and Boston, but without the cost of Boston living.

 

Sarabeth Asaff Home Design Expert At Fixr

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How Is The Job Market In New Hampshire?

 

New Hampshire has a thriving job market ripe with opportunity. In fact, the economy in NH ranks at #13 in the nation according to the US News and World Report. The unemployment rate is also impressively low, sitting at just 2.6% (substantially below the national average).

So what are the biggest industries across the state?

Manufacturing has and still is one of the leading economic drivers in the state. In more recent times, the tech industry has really opened up in New Hampshire, with a huge number of workers employed in roles that involve computing and software development.

Healthcare is also a large part of the job sector here, in fact, it’s the 2nd largest industry in the state. The amount of healthcare jobs available is expected to grow by around 11% over 2020.

Another major industry in the area is, of course, tourism. This beautiful state sees over 79,000 foreign tourists every year, and when you add to that number the tourists from inside the US, that’s a heck of a lot of visitors. New Hampshire has been smart enough to capitalize on this and tourism is now one of the top industries in the state.

Top Employers

The Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center is by far the biggest employer in New Hampshire, with around 9,300 workers. The main campus of the hospital is actually on the border with Vermont, and about a quarter of its employees live over the border in the neighboring state. It’s a huge hospital, serving almost 2 million patients around New England.

picture of Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center medical professional making a heart with hands

Another large employer here is the University System of New Hampshire, a collection of public schools and universities from all around the state, which employs around 5,000 people. There’s also the Ivy League university Dartmouth College who has a staff network of around 4,000 people.

Other Top Employers In The State

If you find yourself in search of work, chances are high that these companies are hiring:

  • C&S Wholesale Grocers
  • Timberland
  • Standex International
  • Mt
  • Albany International
  • C&S Careers
  • Anvil International

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How Is The New Hampshire Real Estate Market?

 

The median home value across the state of New Hampshire is well above the national average, at around $292k. Renting is also pretty pricey in the Granite State; the current average rental for a 2-bedroom apartment is $1,700 per month.

Of course, prices do vary greatly depending on where you choose to live. In the southern part of the state, an area condensed with cities and sprawling suburbia, prices tend to be pretty high. As you move up towards the north things get much more rural, and it’s easier to bag a bargain.

It’s also worth noting that property taxes are pretty high in New Hampshire, in fact, they’re the third highest in the whole nation, with the average per home tax charge of $6253.

The Best Time to Buy a Home in New Hampshire Based on Price

As with any real estate market, NH has an annual cycle. Those looking to move while saving a buck want to stay away from making a purchase May through August when home prices can soar by up to 6.68% higher (June). On the flip side, buying a home between the month’s of January through April could net you an up to a 14.9% savings while also dealing with less “competitor” bids on the home you want to make your own.

NATURAL BEAUTY IN ALL SEASONS!

New Hampshire has many natural advantages. It’s a small state, which makes it easy to access ski mountains, hiking, the beach, and the lakes, all while staying within an hour from Boston. Low crime rates and no income or sales tax make it a great place to live. Plus, it simply has natural beauty in all seasons.

 

The most populous area of the state is the southern part, which includes affluent communities like Hollis and Bedford, and more working class cities like Manchester and Nashua. Western New Hampshire and north of Concord (the capital) are more rural and real estate is generally more affordable. Of course, the most expensive property in the state is found on New Hampshire’s famous lakes, such as Winnipesaukee.”

 

Israel F. Piedra Attorney – Welts, White & Fontaine, PC

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How Much Does It Cost To Live In New Hampshire?

 

We already know that property in NH can be a bit on the pricey side of things, and that renting doesn’t come cheap, but what about the other costs of living in the Granite state?

Overall Cost of Living

Overall, New Hampshire’s cost of living comes in 5.4-18% higher than the U.S average. But, when we compare the cost of living here to nearby areas like Albany, NY, and Boston, MA, it starts to seem pretty affordable.

Sales Tax

One bonus of relocating to New Hampshire is that you’ll pay zero, yes, zero sales tax on any goods. This helps to ease the burden of some of the pricier aspects of living here.

Utilities

Utilities tend to be costly, with people paying as much as $477 per month for their electricity, gas, water, cable, and internet combined. This puts the overall price of utilities in the state comes at around 20.5% higher than the national average.

Groceries

Groceries also tend to be costly, especially in the more affluent areas of the state. When compared against the national average, the cost of groceries in NH comes in at 7% higher.

picture of Family with shopping cart in Concord NH supermarket store

Transportation

But it’s not all bad news. Transport tends to be much cheaper here, with New Hampshire boasting the third-lowest car insurance costs in the country. Gas is also a little less than the national average, and public transport in the major cities is reasonable. This comes out to New Hampshire’s total transportation costs being 12.4% below the national average.

Healthcare

But that’s not all. Healthcare costs in the state rank 12.3% lower than the national average.

Here is what E.J. Kritz had to say about living here.

PERFECT TO LIVE WORK AND PLAY!

I always think of NH as the perfect place to film a movie because there truly is everything. As somebody who lives in Bedford, NH (an affluent community located just outside of Manchester) I love the idea of being an hour away from a big city (Boston), the beach, the mountains, farm land… you name it, it’s under an hour away! With unbelievable restaurants, incredible schools, all four seasons, fine arts, and more activities than you can count, NH truly has it.

New Hampshire has a booming tech and start-up community, higher education opportunities, a rich medical community, as well as traditional jobs in agriculture and manufacturing. With a relatively low cost of living, you can get a lot for your dollar in NH, especially in some of the northern reaches. This place is more than maple syrup… it’s the perfect place to live, work, and play!”

 

E.J. Kritz – Director of Training – ATH Power Consulting

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Is New Hampshire A Good Place To Retire?

 

The Granite State ranks as the 9th best state to retire in the country in terms of taxes. Both social security and retirement incomes are completely tax-free here, so you can spend your hard-earned pension on enjoying your golden years.

The state is a favorite retirement destination for many entering their Golden Years, not just because it’s tax-friendly, but also because of the picturesque landscape, abundant nature, and the ability to spend time outdoors away from the rat race of city life. From the Atlantic Coastline to the soaring Appalachian Mountains, opportunities abound to get out into the great outdoors and stay fit and healthy.

picture of a retired couple hiking on a mountain

Another bonus for choosing New Hampshire as your retirement state is the fantastic health care here. According to the United Health Foundation, New Hampshire is the 5th best state for senior health in the country. Medical insurance premiums also tend to be lower in the Granite State.

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What Are The People And Culture Like In New Hampshire?

 

It’s not a surprise to learn that in a state whose motto is ‘live free or die’, the people here tend to be independent, hardy and determined. All that cold weather alone is enough to toughen up even the most delicate of souls, but despite their hardy exteriors, New Hampshire locals tend to be friendly and welcoming to outsiders.

With so much access to abundant nature, people also tend to be pretty outdoorsy, and activities like camping, hiking, mountain biking, and fishing are all popular here.

New Hampshire is a very liberal state, and people tend to have open-minded and progressive views on most social issues, however, like most of northern New England, it’s extremely white, with ethnic minorities making up just 10% of the state.

What are Some of the Coolest Things to Do, See, and Experience in New Hampshire?

 

This small state packs in a heck of a lot of great activities and attractions. There’s far too many to list them all, but here are a few of our favorite things to do in the Granite State.

Hampton Beach

Hampton Beach is the jewel in the crown of New Hampshire’s short 18 mile stretch of coastline. There’s everything you need in a coastal resort town here, with plenty of restaurants, bars, arcades, and tourist shops.

Houses and boats along Hampton Harbor, in Hampton Beach, New Hampshire.

It’s also a great place to catch a show; The Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom hosts regular concerts, and there are daily free performances on the ocean-front Sea Shell Stage.

During the summer the beach can get pretty busy, and it’s especially popular with families. The water is generally safe for wading and swimming, and the soft white sand is perfect for the little ones to build sandcastles.

The Kancamagus Highway

New Hampshire has some incredibly scenic drives, but The Kancamagus Highway, also known as “The Kanc”, is by far the most breathtaking. It’s a 35-mile winding route that takes you through the White Mountain National Forest, with some amazing stop-off points along the way. It’s beautiful any time of year, but during the fall the mountain vistas are at their most spectacular.

Skyventure

If you’ve always wanted to try skydiving, but you don’t like the idea of jumping out of a plane thousands of feet above the earth, then this vertical wind tunnel attraction in Nashua is for you. It gives you all the sensations of freefalling and flying, but without the terrifying descent, and is so safe that even children can take part.

The Anheuser-Busch Brewery

Learn about the process behind this world-famous beer and tour the brewing facility itself in the town of Merrimack. You’ll get the chance to sample several beers, and if you visit on the first Saturday of the month you’ll be able to meet and take pictures with the famous Budweiser Clydesdale horses. Best of all, the tour is completely free!

Mount Washington Cog Railway

Opened in 1869, this railway line has the steepest track in the whole of the US. It climbs a picturesque route up to the summit of Mount Washington, the highest peak in the state. If you’re lucky enough to visit on a clear day, the views are absolutely incredible- you can see as far as 5  surrounding states, the Atlantic Ocean and Canada.

First snow of season covers pine trees along Cog Railway on Mount Washington

Moose Alley

The stretch of Route 3 that runs from the small town of Pittsburg up to the Canadian border is famous for being the best place to spot a moose in the state. Even if you’re not lucky enough to spot one, the drive itself is pretty stunning; you’ll weave your way through vast woodlands, pretty covered bridges, and beautiful lakes.

Hanover Fine Craft Gallery

This gallery and studio space is a must-visit for any crafting enthusiasts. You can get your hands dirty in one of the many workshops and learn how to make beautiful sculptures, jewelry and other artworks from materials like metal, clay, wood, and textiles. Be sure to check out the gift shop where you can purchase some beautiful pieces made by local artists.

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The Pros And Cons Of Living In New Hampshire

 

Now that we’ve taken a look at what New Hampshire has to offer, let’s examine some of the pros and cons of moving to the Granite State.

Pros

Beautiful Scenery.

New Hampshire is famous not just in America, but around the world, for its stunning scenery. From white sandy beaches to vast forests, lakes, and mountains, this state is easily one of the most breathtaking in the nation.

Low Crime Rates.

New Hampshire is one of the safest states to live in the country. The crime rate here is well below the national average and even the larger cities have a reassuringly low statistics, especially when it comes to violent crime.

A booming economy.

There’s a heck of a lot of economic opportunity in this small state. New Hampshire comes in at 13th in the nation for job seekers, and it looks like this growth isn’t slowing down anytime soon.

Great Education.

The state ranks in the top 5 in the nation for education. From fantastic public schools to top-notch universities like the Ivy League Dartmouth College, New Hampshire is the perfect place to get a head start in life.

No sales tax.

That’s right, you’ll pay absolutely no tax on goods purchased in the Granite State. Many commuters from surrounding states set up home in New Hampshire for this reason alone.

Cons

The cold weather.

New Hampshire has some of the coldest winters in the country. Heavy snow is a common theme during winter, and temperatures can regularly drop below zero.

A lack of diversity.

This is one of the whitest states in the country; it ranks as the fourth least diverse state in terms of ethnic minorities.

Not enough public transport.

If you live outside the larger cities, you’ll definitely need a car here. Public buses and trains are rare once you leave the urban hubs.

Slow internet.

Residents tend to complain that the internet speeds in the Granite State are frustratingly slow. It’s not a problem in the city, but in rural areas, you might find yourself on an internet hiatus, whether you like it or not.

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New Hampshire Fun Facts & Strange Laws

 

Strange Laws In New Hampshire

The ‘live free or die’ state might pride itself on its lack of government regulation, but like any other state, there are still some interesting and downright weird laws still on the books. Here are a few of the stranger ones…

  • It is illegal to take seaweed from the beach.
  • Hunters are forbidden from owning ferrets.
  • In Claremont, it’s illegal for anyone under 10 to enter a cemetery alone and get drunk.
  • In New Hampshire restaurants, sugar shakers should be opened less than 3/8 of an inch.
  • It’s illegal for cattle to poop while crossing state roads.
  • Nodding your head and tapping your feet to music is against the law in public cafes and bars.
  • It’s forbidden to run any kind of machinery on a Sunday.
  • In White Mountain National Forest, it’s illegal to pick up trash or maintain the national forest in any way without a permit.
  • Movie screenings are forbidden before 2 pm.

Fun Facts About the State

To wrap up our overview of moving to New Hampshire, let’s look at some fun facts from the Granite State.

  • New Hampshire was the first state to declare its independence from England. It became the ‘live free or die’ state 6 months before the Declaration of Independence was signed.
  • The first-ever lottery in the US took place in New Hampshire, back in 1963.
  • The alarm clock was invented here in 1787, by Concord resident Levi Hutchins.
  • The nursery rhyme ‘Mary had a Little Lamb’ was written in 1830 by Sarah Josepha Hale, from Newport, New Hampshire.
  • Some of New Hampshire’s most famous residents include Elizabeth Hurley, Sarah Silverman, John Irving, Dan Brown, and Mandy Moore.
  • The second-highest wind speed ever recorded was on April 12th, 1934 at the summit of Mount Washington- a blustering 231 miles per hour!
  • New Hampshire was once known as North Virginia. Despite being nowhere near Virginia, settlers thought the landscape looked remarkably similar.

Ready To Make The Move To New Hampshire?

Making a move is never an easy decision. There is a lot that goes into the preparation for such a major life decision. From employment, to cost of living, lifestyle and more. We hope that this guide helped answer some of the critical questions you had, and we wish you the best that life has to offer no matter where the road takes you.

 

Further Reading: Looking For More Resources About Moving To New Hampshire? Check These Articles Out!

 

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