Monday, January 13, 2020

National update on Real Estate and Mortgage Activity

New Home Sales About 17 Percent Higher
 From Last Year

As 2019 comes to a close, there are several signs that the
housing market will be strong in the year ahead. Among them,
new home sales might top the list. For example, according to
 the most recent numbers from the U.S. Census Bureau and
 the Department of Housing and Urban Development, sales
 of newly built single family homes are now nearly 17 percent
 higher than they were at the same time last year.

Additionally, the amount of new homes for sale is now at a
5.4 month's supply. In short, demand for new homes is high
 and that's good for the economy and the housing market.
 So, what's driving the increased demand for new homes?
A large part of it is mortgage rates. Rates fell in 2019 and
 helped offset home-price increases, keeping affordability
 levels manageable.

Combined with a strong job market and rising wages, lower
borrowing costs motivated more Americans to want to make
 a move. With buying conditions expected to remain fairly
 stable in 2020, more of the same is expected in the year ahead.

More here.
Most Markets More Affordable than
Historic Average

Measuring housing-market affordability typically involves
 making some comparisons. Of course, with any comparison,
 what you discover depends on what you're comparing.
 Home prices, after all, could be down from where they were
 last month but up compared to the same time last year.

That's why the best comparison is usually one that takes
the broadest and longest view. For ATTOM Data Solutions'
 fourth-quarter 2019 U.S. Home Affordability Report, they
calculated current affordability levels then compared them
 to their long-term average. What they found was 53 percent
 of the 486 counties included in the report were more
 affordable than their historic average. That includes
counties in and around Chicago, Washington D.C.,
and New York, with areas like Orange County, CA and
 Bay County, FL showing big gains in the past year.

Todd Teta, chief product officer with ATTOM, says mortgage
 rates and wages are key. "Homes were actually a bit more
 affordable because of declining mortgage rates combined
 with rising pay to overcome the continued price run-up,"
Teta said. "As long as people are earning more money and
shelling out less to pay off home loans, the market should
 remain strong with prices continuing to rise, at least in the near term."

More here.
Mortgage Rates Remain Flat, Just Above Historic Lows

According to the Mortgage Bankers Association's (MBA)
 Weekly Applications Survey, average mortgage rates were
 flat last week from the week before. There were slight
increases to rates for 30-year fixed-rate mortgages with
 both conforming and jumbo balances and loans backed
 by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). Rates for
 15-year fixed-rate mortgages were unchanged week-over-week.

Despite rates remaining just above historic lows, demand for
mortgage applications fell from one week earlier. Michael Fratantoni,
 MBA's senior vice president and chief economist, said home-buying
activity is typically slow at this time of year. "We are in the slowest
time of the year for the purchase market," Fratantoni said.
 "Purchase application activity declined after the seasonal adjustment,
but still remains about 5 percent ahead of last year's pace.
 The increase in construction activity will bolster housing
inventories, which should be a positive for purchase volumes
 going into 2020."

Refinance activity also fell last week, though it remains 128 percent
higher than last year at the same time. The MBA's weekly survey
has been conducted since 1990 and covers 75 percent of all retail
 residential mortgage applications.

More here.
Personal Income Up 0.5 Percent

The Bureau of Economic Analysis recently reported on personal income,
 which has gone up by 0.5 percent. Disposable personal income, which
is the money left over after taxes, increased at the same rate. Personal
 income was mostly unchanged the preceding month, so the most recent
 increase could be a sign of a new trend.

Personal consumption expenditures (the money that people spend)
 increased by 0.4 percent after staying flat the preceding month. The
 personal savings rate was at 7.9 percent, which is under the recommended
10 percent, but is still a good sign that Americans are saving some of
 their money.

In short, Americans are earning more, spending more, and are saving
a decent amount of money. If this trend continues, 2020 could shape
out to be a good year for the economy and consumers.

More here.

Thanks to Sue Baxter at FM Loans for the use of this information.

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Wednesday, August 07, 2019

Fairfield Update through July 31, 2019

The pattern that we saw emerging with the three W's repeats itself here in the largest of the mid-Fairfield towns,  Fairfield.  The active listing numbers continue to be higher than levels seen before this phase of the real estate cycle, in part because of higher numbers of high end listings which take considerably longer to sell.  With 55 current active listings over $ 2 million and 11 that have sold through the first 7 months of this year, we are likely to see inflated levels for high end homes  for some time to come. 

Younger home buyers continue to seek smaller lots closer to amenities.  This has adversely affected homes in Greenfield Hills, which generally take longer to sell than homes closer to the center of Fairfield (closer to train. schools and restaurants) and the beach area.

The 461 current active single family listings are top heavy under $1 million with 293 currently being offered, representing 63.5% of the homes on the market.  The current median list price of all homes currently for sale in $849,000.  The actual median sales price through the 31st of July has been $556,500, a decrease of 8 % when compared to the same period in 2018.  The median number tends to be skewed in Fairfield because of the large number of 'affordable' homes.  There are now 115 homes listed between $ 1 million and 2 million (24.9% of offerings) representing
tremendous value in terms of condition, style and square footage, as well as extra amenities (pools, tennis courts, home theaters, etc.).

Total sales are up 8 percent (471 compared to 440) compared to the first 7 months of 2018,  Activity has picked up in the past couple of weeks, with last minute purchases driven by the nearing of the school year, as well as those selling their homes looking to either downsize or move into a different style or area of town.

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Wilton July 2019 Update

There are currently 200 active single family listings in Wilton with a median list price of $839,000.  These are distributed with 72.5% under $1 million (145); 23.5% listed between $ 1 million to 2 million (47) ; and 4% (8) listed over $ 2 million.  There are 39 properties that currently have accepted offers or have gone to contract.

Sales of single family homes through July 31, 2019 have numbered 134, a 17.5 percent increase over sales during the same time period in 2018.  The median price thus far in 2019 has been $725,000 which is a $70,000 drop from last year, representing a decrease of 8 per cent. The 2018 median price
through July 31 was $795,000. 

There have been 105 sales under $ 1 million representing 78% of the total sales.  28 sales were recorded for homes listed between $ 1 million to $2 million, representing 21% of the closed sales and there has only been 1 sale over $ 2 million. 

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Weston Market Update July 2019

As previously noted in the Westport update,  higher than typical inventory levels were seen in Weston as well, with a current active inventory totaling 155 single family homes. 107 of these homes are listed for under $1 million; 43 are listed between $1 million to 2 million, and 5 are listed for over $2 million.  The median list price of active listings is $848,500.

Through July 31, 2019 there were 94 homes that have sold with a median sales price of $665,000.
In terms of total sales that compared with 93 during the same time period of last year, a statistically equal amount.  The median price is down $25,000 or 4 percent, which mirrors the amount in Westport on a percentage basis.

There were 72 sales that were below $1 million, representing 77% of the sales.  Sales between $1 million to $ 2 million totalled 20, representing 21% of the total sales and there was one sale for over $2 million.  These number breakdowns were almost identical to the first 7 months of 2018, though there were no sales over $2 million in 2018 through July 31.

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Tuesday, August 06, 2019

Westport Market Update July 2019

We are continuing to see market inventory slightly above traditional levels for this time of year.  There are currently 357 single family homes actively available in Westport.  The breakdown of these active listings is: 109 homes listed under $1 million; 128 homes listed between $1 million-2 million; and, 120 homes listed for sale above $2 million.

There are currently 68 additional properties that have accepted offers and/or are under contract.  The breakdown is: 31 homes listed for under $1 million; 20 homes listed between $ 1 million to $2 million; and 17  properties listed for over $ 2 million.  These numbers are indicating two recent trends.  The first is a sell off in properties under $ 1 million at a rate higher than seen earlier in the year.  The second is an uptick in sales of more expensive homes (over $ 2 million).

There were 192 single family home sales through July 2019, which represented a 22% decrease compared to the first seven months of 2018.  The median price of these homes was $1,195,000, which represented a modest 4.2% decrease over the 2018 figure.  40% of the sales (77) were homes
that sold for under $ 1 million.  As mentioned above, recently sales activity seem to indicate that home sales under $ 1 million are increasing as a proportion of the total home sales.  The 90 homes that sold between $ 1 million- 2 million represented 46.8% of the market.  Recent activity in this
price range has decreased.  High end home sales (over $ 2 million) have totaled 27 through July,
representing only 14% of the total sales.  The 17 properties mentioned above that have accepted offers will increase these percentages going forward.

Looking back on 2018 sales through July (245) with a median price of $1,248,000 we saw a sales
breakdown as follows:
Under $ 1 million                               80 sales   32.4% of market
$1 million - 2 million                       120 sales    49%   of market
$ 2 million +                                       48 sales    19.6% of market

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Friday, July 05, 2019

Westport Closings June 2019

Listing vs. Closing Price                                                   

LP: $399,000 CP: $331,000                               
5 Clinton Terrace Westport 0.18 2,059 Cape Cod, Cottage
LP: $649,900 CP: $636,000 243 Sturges Hwy. Westport 1.19 2,360 Colonial
LP: $749,900 CP: $672,000 15 Coleytown Rd. Westport 2.9 4,285 Colonial
LP: $850,000 CP: $830,000 140 Imperial Ave. Westport 0.25 2,022 Colonial
LP: $889,000 CP: $870,000 8 Murvon Court Westport 0.12 996 Bungalow
LP: $899,000 CP: $885,000 6 Hyatt Lane Westport 0.32 1,867 Cape Cod
LP: $879,000 CP: $885,000 31 Sherwood Dr. Westport 0.1 844 Ranch
LP: $897,000 CP: $921,000 61 Richmondville Ave. Westport 0.65 2,482 Contemporary
LP: $999,000 CP: $935,000 28 Compo Rd. N. Westport 0.58 2,215 Colonial
LP: $999,000 CP: $935,000 58 Long Lots Rd. Westport 0.71 2,614 Colonial
LP: $999,000 CP: $940,000 28 High Point Rd. Westport 1.05 5,569 Contemporary, Ranch
LP: $1,020,000 CP: $950,000 6 Barry Lane Westport 1.02 5,221 Colonial
LP: $999,000 CP: $980,000 7 Pleasant Valley Lane Westport 1.01 2,971 Split Level
LP: $1,035,000 CP: $1,035,000 222 North Ave. Westport 2 2,714 Colonial
LP: $1,049,000 CP: $1,039,000 41 Westfair Dr. Westport 0.29 4,727 Colonial
LP: $1,075,000 CP: $1,050,000 7 Quintard Place Westport 0.24 3,162 Colonial
LP: $1,099,000 CP: $1,090,000 36 Turkey Hill Rd. N. Westport 1.01 3,584 Colonial, Split Level
LP: $1,200,000 CP: $1,150,000 3 Nursery Lane Westport 0.64 4,036 Contemporary, Ranch
LP: $1,325,000 CP: $1,225,000 23 W. Branch Rd. Westport 2.07 5,581 Colonial
LP: $1,399,000 CP: $1,275,000 15 Brookside Dr. Westport 1.33 4,232 Colonial
LP: $1,298,000 CP: $1,285,000 22 Silver Brook Rd. Westport 1 4,116 Colonial
LP: $1,400,000 CP: $1,365,000 2 Pier Way Landing Westport 1.03 5,482 Colonial
LP: $1,445,000 CP: $1,400,000 14 Red Coat Rd. Westport 1.69 4,098 Colonial, Farm House
LP: $1,495,000 CP: $1,420,000 18 Dogwood Lane Westport 1.32 4,495 Colonial
LP: $1,599,000 CP: $1,500,000 9 Fairview Dr. Westport 2 6,191 Colonial, Contemporary
LP: $1,550,000 CP: $1,550,000 24 Punch Bowl Dr. Westport 3.05 7,434 Colonial, Contemporary
LP: $1,599,000 CP: $1,555,000 144 Roseville Rd. Westport 1 5,752 Colonial
LP: $1,625,000 CP: $1,600,000 3 Canning Lane Westport 0.51 5,640 Colonial
LP: $1,850,000 CP: $1,810,000 62 Old Rd. Westport 0.64 5,500 Colonial
LP: $1,799,000 CP: $1,815,000 26 Reichert Circle Westport 0.48 5,951 Colonial
LP: $1,999,999 CP: $1,950,000 2 Pony Lane Westport 1.05 8,378 Colonial
LP: $2,099,000 CP: $1,950,000 3 Pleasant Valley Lane Westport 1 10,127 Colonial
LP: $2,250,000 CP: $2,125,000 383 Greens Farms Rd. Westport 1.5 7,396 Colonial
LP: $2,499,000 CP: $2,300,000 19 Hillspoint Rd. Westport 1.05 7,118 Colonial
LP: $2,825,000 CP: $2,640,000 42 Burnham Hill Westport 0.52 4,986 Colonial
LP: $3,250,000 CP: $3,050,000 34 Stonybrook Rd. Westport 1.09 7,922 Colonial
LP: $3,200,000 CP: $3,105,000 6 Wedgewood Rd. Westport 3.22 6,863 Colonial
LP: $3,249,000 CP: $3,255,000 14 Charcoal Hill Rd. Westport 2.32 9,768 Colonial
LP: $4,295,000 CP: $3,825,000 101 Clapboard Hill Rd. Westport 2 7,196 Colonial

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Fairfield Country Statistics through May 2019 in Comparison to same period in 2018

Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Chief Economist of National Association of Realtors Speech at the Norwalk Inn

Last week, Laurence Yun, the chief economist of N.A.R. spoke for about 90 minutes about the state of the real estate market in Connecticut as well as nationally. 

While once the wealthiest state in the nation, many of the wealthier residents have started to leave Connecticut.  This has been enhanced, in part, by the new tax laws which disadvantage states that have real estate taxes greater than $10,000/year, the limit by the new tax laws, as well as more expensive homes for which the $750,000 mortgage limit means that mortgage amounts above that will no longer be tax deductible. 

2018 GDP was +2.9%, a healthy number, but not sufficient to cover the additional costs of the tax cuts, which means that the Federal debt will be increasing significantly.  There have been some
economists that feel that a recession might be on the horizon.  Mr. Yun is more optimistic, feeling that very low interest rates might be able to sustain a continued prosperity for longer than what we have currently experienced (though he did note that there were some signals in the yield curve that might suggest that possibility) .  The fundamentals, he pointed out are still strong and consumer sentiment is also very strong (availability of jobs a factor).  The number of short sales and foreclosures are also down significantly to more historic levels.

On a national level, real estate affordability ( a measure of what people can afford based on income and debt) is actually higher than in the year 2000 (when mortgage rates were at 8%).

Job growth in Connecticut has been mixed.  In our area (Bridgeport to Stamford) it has fallen about 3% from the year 2000.  However, during the same time period New Haven saw job growth of 4%.
Further east the Norwich/New London area saw no growth. 

Weekly earning are rising, and there appears to be the capacity to expand.  At issue, in some locals, is that there are not enough qualified people to fill jobs. 

The Fed appears ready to be 'patient' and will likely not be raising interest rates until at least 2020.

Demand for starter homes remains strong throughout the country (including Connecticut), though in some places there is a lack of inventory.

The confluence of low rates and high consumer confidence are good indicators of a strong real estate market.  California and Connecticut are two areas where this has not been manifested, though the number of information requests for mortgage pre-approvals has been on the rise.

Existing home sales were slightly off nationwide, but new home sales are on the rise.  Resales of slightly older 'McMansions' were struggling, and the high end in Connecticut is 'soft'.  What had been a 10% differential between new and existing home sale prices has now widened to about 20-25%.  The growth of inventory has been slow nationwide, and housing starts for new housing is running behind demand. 

New home starts are down in Connecticut but Multi family starts are up.

In the past a typical period of time that people stayed in their homes was 7 years.  Today it is 10-11 years.  Consumers appear less excited about inventory choices.  More people not moving is an indication that people don't feel that their lives are improving (which is when they typically buy).

Unaffordable rents in the New York City market place are an indicator that there may be a shift of those people towards purchasing outside of the 5 boroughs. 

Student debt has also been a drag on millenials purchasing homes. 

In my next blog, I will speak about future solutions to improve Connecticuts real estate market  mentioned by Dr. Yun.

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Monday, May 06, 2019

Wilton & Weston April, 2019 Sales

The number of transactions for both Wilton and Weston in April were down from the previous April.
Wilton had 19 sales in April 2018 compared to 15 this year, and Weston had 10 compared to 16 in 2018.  Sales below $1 million continue to outpace the market above that number. 

There are excellent opportunities for buyers looking for value throughout the market.

Here are the properties that traded in Wilton this April:
190 Cannon Road                         $310,000
12 Tall Trees Lane                          490,000
25 Cardinal lane                              540,000
69 Range Road                                550,000
103 Catalpa Road                            555,000
25 Ridge lane                                   555,000
3 Roxbury Lane                                630,000
1 Crowne Pond Lane                        635,000
74 Old Driftway                                700,000
105 Scarlet Oak drive                        820,000
280 Cheesespring Road                     850,000
107 Pipers Hill Road                         899,000
57 Old Farm Road                             975,000
65 Hurlbutt Street                             1,112,500
66 Borglum                                       1,262,500

Here are the Weston properties that closed in April:

81 Blue Spruce Circle                          227,950
129 Good Hill Road                             575,000
53 Treadwell Lane                               689,000
1 Cartbridge Road                                699,000
157 Godfrey Road East                        775,000
37 Osborn Farm road                            830,000
4 Smith Farm road                               1,060,000
4 Norfield road                                     1,118,000
45 Hemlock Ridge road                       1,300,000
63 Fanton Hill road                             1,400,000

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Friday, May 03, 2019

Westport Property Transfers April 2019

The April 2019 closings were nearly identical to those of April 2018.  Here are the
properties that closed:

27 Whitney Glen                                              $ 410,000
103 Harvest Commons                                        720,000
4 Davenport Ave.                                                 385,000
6 Abbotts Lane                                                     390,000
7 Fairport Road                                                    526,000
12 Fillow Street                                                    535,500
250 Wilton Road                                                  575,000
11 Fairport Road                                                  612,000
42 Kingshighway South                                       616,875
5 Whitney Street                                                   660,000
4 Robin Hill road                                                  670,000
29 Cross Highway                                                 700,000
5 Davis Lane                                                         740,000
148 Greens Farms Road                                        764,000
15 Silver Brook Road                                            775,000
9 Birchwood Lane                                                  790,000
21 Crooked Mile road                                             900,000
45 Marion Road                                                      985,000
9 Melon Patch Road                                              1,000,000
4 Scofield Place                                                     1,042,000
41 Burr Farms Road                                               1,100,000
10 Ridge Drive                                                       1,304,500
19 Bauer Place Extension                                       1,475,000
4 Tamarac Road                                                       1,527,500
15 Bradley Street                                                     1,549,000
8 Tower Ridge                                                         1,304,500
8 Linda Lane                                                            1,575,000
34 Bauer Place Extension                                        1,592,000
4 Berkeley Place                                                       1,600,000
36 Edgewater Hillside                                              1,675,000
146 Bayberry Lane                                                   1,675,000
168 Imperial Ave.                                                     1,720,000
7 River Lane                                                              1,775,000
12 Green Acre Lane                                                  1,950,000
6 Crystal Circle                                                         2,475,000
25 Edgemarth Hill                                                     2,500,000
11 Burr Farms Road                                                  3,050,000
2 Driftwood Road                                                      6,300,000

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