Friday, December 07, 2018

Updated Sales Figures through December 7, 2018 -A Reflection of the Stock Market?

At the end of  January 1, 2018 the Dow Jones stood at $24,824, a phenomenal standard at the time.  It went at high as 26,773 just two months ago, on October 3rd.  That is a nearly 9 per cent difference between the high and low point.

As of today, the median price of single family homes in Westport  is down 8.6% for the year, a remarkably similar figure to the figure just cited. Clearly the new tax laws which limit mortgage and real estate taxes deductions has impacted the Northeast, especially in towns with many high end homes . The 2017 median price in Westport was $1,320,000 compared to $1,220,000 this year.  The volume of sales in Westport has declined approximately 5% since the beginning of the year.  Year to date totals of 2018 are currently at 391 versus 411 at the same time last year. Active listings stand at 292 single family homes, and there are 36 properties under contract (or binder). End of the year statistics will be impacted by the number of closings that take place before the year's end.  Stay tuned in early January for those figures.

Westport's sister town of Weston has had a slightly more challenging year in terms of pricing.  The median price at this time in 2017 was $771,000 versus $699,000 through today in 2018.  That is a 9.4% difference.  In terms of volume, though, there have actually been 2 more sales year to date compared with last year, 156 versus 154.  The actives currently stand at 137, with an additional 24 properties that are under contract/binder. 

Wilton experienced a flip performance compared to its neighbor, Weston.  The median price went from $747,000 in 2017 to $797,000 currently, a 6.7% increase.  Other the other hand, Wilton saw a decrease in sales volume of 10%, from 217 single family sales at this time last year to 195  as of today.  There are 23 properties under contract and 169 active listings.

The town of Fairfield also experienced mixed signals.  The median price jumped from $508,000 at this time last year, to $630,000 currently, a gain of 24 percentage points.  The sales volume, however, went from 747 single family homes last year to 699 as of today, a drop of 6.4%.  Fairfield currently has 368 active listings and 91 properties under contract. 

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Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Thoughts on the Case-Schiller Index and the Upcoming Spring Market

EffectiveDateIndex Level1 MTH3 MTH12 MTH
Index Levels
S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller New York Home Price NSA IndexSep-2018199.650.23 %0.78 %2.62 %

As lower Fairfield County is directly impacted by real estate trends in New York City, I keep an eye on these figures both for looking ahead to get a sense of where we may be heading, and to have a look back at the past to have a sense of perspective.

In August 2008, (just after the stock market crisis)  for example, the New York index level was at 161.94 compared to 199.65 today.

To get some additional perspective, the levels we are seeing today are quite similar to the July 2005 level of 199.86.  Case-Schiller saw its highest levels in New York in June 2006, at 215.25.

After the crisis of 2008 the levels went through a roller coaster of dips and rises through April 2012 when the nadir of 157.95 was reached.  Since that time we have continued to see periodic small swings in the market with a general move upwards.

The Fed raised interest rates in September and most of my colleagues in the mortgage business expect them to rise further. What is the likely impact going to be on our real estate market?

30 Year Fixed mortgages (for those with good credit) are still below 5%.  When I entered the real estate business rates were above 8% and we were thrilled when they went down to 7%. Mortgage rates are still historically low, as is unemployment, and inflation.

We live in a world where we are bombarded each day with information. So much so, that it can be difficult to see the larger picture.

There are some analysts who feel that the real estate market will further correct itself.  Some home sales in our area have been motivated  by sellers who are of that opinion.

As mortgage rates are likely to rise slightly, that will make make home prices somewhat more expensive, so I wouldn't be surprised to see a slight adjustment if that happens in the spring.  On the other hand, pricing is also linked with inventory.  If inventory is low and demand is high we should see stable pricing.

Inventory levels in the high end of our markets remains high, and pricing for homes over $1.5 million in some markets and higher in others, has been directly impacted by that. Each market is different,
but in general, homes in excellent condition under $900,000 have been selling well. Inventory levels are still above the levels that we saw in the period of 2003-2006, though, including on the lower end of the market.

In our area, towns that are not directly on the New Haven train line
have seen their prices more negatively impacted during the past three
or so years.  Rising taxes in those towns have also impacted selling prices.

Our values still appear to be relatively reasonable when compared with the cost of New York apartments.  Our great schools, diverse housing stock, great amenities, and beautiful countryside should soon be attracting those millennials reaching their 30s who will soon be having children, and will be reconsidering the costs of living in the city and private schools versus commuting from the suburbs.

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Monday, November 05, 2018

Mid Fairfield Update Through October, 2018

It should be interesting to see how the results of tomorrow's
elections will affect the real estate market.  

Results in the area have been mixed. Volume has been
down slightly over the past 12 months, but it appears that prices
have held steady, and listing inventory has been tightening.

In Westport,  sales were down less than 1% through October, 
with 354 single family sales compared to 359 through the same
time period in 2017, while the median price has increased 
16.67% to $1,370,000. 

Weston had the same number of sales, 138, in the first 10 
months of 2017 and 2018, but the median price decreased
 by 22% to $661,000. 

Wilton saw the reverse effect of its neighbor to the east, with
179 sales in 2018 compared to 193 in 2017, but the median
price increasing by 26.56% to $965,000.  The latter number
is somewhat skewed by one sale of $8,000,000-the highest sales
price ever recorded in Wilton.

Fairfield, the most affordable of the towns, also saw a slight
decrease in sales volume (5%) from 672 single family sales to
641, but the median sales price increased 13.88% to  $640,000.

For additional data points please see the links below:





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Mid Year Sluggishness

Early indications of sales volume increases in Westport were not realized as the season reached the midway mark.  Total closed single family home sales were down 2%, from a total of 205 in 2017 through June 30, to 201 in 2018.  The 2017 median sales price through June stood at $1,436,000.  It is currently at $1,236,000. The decrease is likely being influenced by a greater number of sales under $1 million, 68 this year compared to 60 at the same time last year. There are currently 96 single family homes listed under $1 million.  My suspicion is that the limits imposed by the new tax laws in terms of allowable mortgage deductions and real estate taxes is playing a role in the lower median sales values.

The sales break down for some popular areas of town were as follows for 2018:

18 sales at Compo Beach compared to 25 in 2017.  Paradoxically, the median sales price increased from $1,737,000 in 2017 to $2,200,000 in 2018.

28 Sales in Greens Farms compared to 17 in 2017, a healthy increase, though the median price decreased from $1,867,500 to $1,512,500 through June.

Lastly, Saugatuck Shores sales are down from 11 in 2017 to 8 in 2018. The median sales price has been $1,025,000 compared to $925,000 in 2017, though these figures are not representative because summer sales are common in this part of town, and these numbers are likely to change significantly by year's end.

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Friday, June 01, 2018

Quick overview of Westport results through May 31, 2018

Nearly Midway through the Year

Through the first five months of the year, there have been 
152 salesof single family homes in Westport.  This compares
favorably to the 143 sales at this time last year.  The average 
price of the 2018 sales has been $1,477,674, with those homes 
averaging 120 days on the market.  The volume of homes on the
market (inventory) has been trending downward.

There are currently  365 single family homes on the market.  
The average sales price of homes with 4 or more bedrooms
has been well above the average, whereas the 22 homes 
with three bedrooms have had an average
sales price of $733,057.  Total sales volume in Westport year
to date is $653,131,995, with an additional 105 homes that
have accepted offers or are under contract.

Greens Farms sales have increased to 
19 from 10 at this time last year, with a median price 
of $1,450,000.  Compo Beach area sales have remained even (17)
with the median price currently at $2,200,000.  Saugatuck Shores sales
have only totaled 6 compared to 10 at this  time last year.

Demand for homes under $ 1 million remains very solid, and new
construction sales continue to be steady.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2018

First Quarter Results/Westport

 Activity Up / Inventory Down

Through the first quarter of 2018, 75 single family home sales have been recorded town-wide, representing an 18% increase compared to the same period in 2017 when 61 homes sold.  Some of these early sales may have been spurred by a reduction in allowable mortgage deductions ($750,000) brought about by the new tax cuts.

The median price of $1,405,000 compared to a first quarter ’17 median price of $1,535,000.  In the coastal areas, the 2018 median price thus far is $1,775,000 compared to first quarter ’17 results.  There have been 25 sales in Greens Farms/Compo Beach/Saugatuck Shores area, a 44% increase from the first quarter of 2017.  At the same time, the inventory of homes is currently down 15% compared to the same time period in 2017. In addition there are 88 homes which have either accepted offers or are under contract.

A closer look reveals that:  9 homes have sold in the Compo Beach area ($1,775,000 median price), 11 homes have sold in Greens Farms ($1,817,000 median price) and 5 homes have sold in Saugatuck Shores ($1,500,000 median price) including the highest sale town-wide thus far at 3 Charmer’s Landing for $5,362,000.  Typically, market inventory sees a zenith in mid to late May, though new listings come on throughout the year.

For a FREE Comparative Market Analysis, to find out how much your home is worth in the current market, please give Rob a call.

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Thursday, January 25, 2018

Why Some Buyers Don't want to Buy your house

Today’s buyers are more and more savvy about what is going on in the real estate market, most specifically about how long a house has been on the market, what it was originally listed for, and what it has sold for in the past. Thanks to websites like Zillow and Trulia much of this information is readily available.                                                                

Last year in Westport there were 433 single family home sales-a very respectable number.  What is often not realized is that in 2017 there were 215 single family listings that Expired before sale (with a median price of $1,495,000).  In addition, there were 249 Cancellation of listings (with a median price of $1,679,000). 

Looking at the pricing breakdown in more detail offers some interesting insights.  In the past 12 months there have been 176 properties sold that were listed under $1,000,000, and a total of 126 Expireds and Cancellations.  In other words almost 60% of the properties sold.

In the range of $1,000,000-1,500,000 there were 113 solds and 112 expireds and cancellations, or about 50% sold.

For properties listed between $1,500,000 and $2 million there were 94 solds and 85 expireds/canc. meaning that the odds of a house in this price range selling (53%) was actually higher than those listed between $1 million-1.5 million.

Between $2m and $2.5million, the percentages dropped slightly with 43 sales and 46 expireds and cancellations. That represents a 48% sales rate.

For homes listed between $2.5 million up to $3 million, ther were 24 sales and 42 expireds/cancellations, representing roughly a 35% success rate.

Not surprisingly,(because the buyer pool is smaller)  the success rate drops for homes listed at over $3 million.  There were 28 homes listed for over $3 million that sold last year and 72 expireds/cancellations representing a 28% success rate.

Many of these listings will come back to the market as new listings, and some are currently among the 242 current active listings.  The reason that the majority of these homes did not sell is due to several factors, though it usually boils down to two.  The first is presentation-whether the home compares favorably to similar homes on the market.  The second is price.

For those that would like to learn more I give a class at Staples high School twice a year re; How to Avoid the Costly Pitfalls when selling your home, in the spring and fall, or give me a call directly and I would be happy to look at your home and give you a free consultation.  

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Tuesday, November 28, 2017

2017 Update through November 2017

                                 Westport Totals Provide Mixed Picture of Success

2017 single family home sales are nearly complete.  Comparing year to date totals with 2016 equivalents, real estate activity continued throughout the course of the year, including a more active 4th quarter in 2017 than the previous year..  Total single family home sales stand at 391 compared to 329 during the same time period in 2016, a 15% increase. 14 additional homes are also under contract.   2017’s median price of $1,325,000 represents a 2.8% increase over the $1,289,000 median price at this time last year.

Greens Farms saw a drop of single family homes from 45 in 2016 to 36 in 2017; but saw a median price increase from $1,447,500 to $1,512,500. 

Compo Beach continued to see price and volume increases, with 39 homes sold in 2017, an increase of about 14%, with the median price rising from $1,555,000 to $1,647,500.

Saugatuck Shores & Island saw a solid single family home sale’s increase from 12 in 2017 to 17 in 2017.  The median price lagged slightly from $1,132,000 to $1,167,500.

Town wide, new construction sales increased from 50 in 2016 to 67 in 2017.  

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