Friday, June 24, 2016

Home Renovation Trends

 2016 Houzz & Home Report
Spending is on the rise for kitchen and bathroom renovation projects,
according to the fifth annual Houzz & Home survey of more than 120,000
respondents in the U.S.  Overall renovation activity remains high, with
more than half of homeowners on Houzz renovating their homes in 2015.

Key findings include:
  • Renovation Motivations: The desire to stay put is the primary motivation for renovating vs. buying a "perfect" home, trumping financial considerations
  • Top Activity Drivers: Recent home buyers are a key driver of renovation activity, with new home purchases inspiring more than a quarter of renovations.
  • Those planning to sell their home are also investing in renovations, focusing on exterior projects that enhance curb appeal.
  • Millennial homeowners continue to be just as likely to renovate as other age groups, yet spend a third of the amount of Baby Boomers
  • Budget? What Budget? Nearly one-third of homeowners take on a remodeling project without setting a budget the same share exceeds an established budget

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Monday, June 20, 2016

Sluggish start to Summer

The late spring  has seen a slowdown in the real estate market in most parts of Fairfield County.  Maybe it’s time to get the word out to our friends living in different parts of the City, to sing the praises of Westport
In the 20 + years that I have lived in Westport the changes that have occurred have been striking. During this time Westport has had both Republican and Democrat First Selectpersons who have contributed to making  the town the vibrant force that it is today.

Let’s consider some of the changes: The Westport Arts Center was reconverted to Greens Farms elementary and huge new additions were added; a new Bedford Middle school was built; renovations were done at Saugatuck elementary and Coleytown Middle School, as well as a huge addition to Staples and major renovations to other parts of the school; the town purchased the Baron’s property and added a Senior center as well as creating a dog area within Winslow park; First Night was added; the Westport Playhouse went through a total renovation; the new Levitt Pavillion was built; a new Boardwalk has been added to Compo; an Ice Skating rink and a tennis pavillion have been added to Longshore; a new YMCA has been built; a new Community Garden was added at Long Lots and Wakeman farm has been revitalized; a new park was created at Old Mill Pond; the Saugatuck area has been totally revitalized with new stores and housing, not to mention the many new stores like Terrain & Crate & Barrel; as well as many new restaurant options, and fitness clubs;
and the entire downtown area will be revitalized when construction is completed.

Now if Metro North can just shorten the time to get into Grand Central  we'd really be in business.

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Friday, June 10, 2016

Just Listed " The Odd Couple House"

73 Good Hill Road   Weston
Updated Revolutionary War Era Colonial

Wonderful mix of old and new. Charming Revolutionary era colonial with stunning newer custom white kitchen with granite counters and spacious Master bathroom with shower and bathtub. Located in Lower Weston, minutes to schools and Merritt Parkway. 4 bedrooms (Field card shows 5), 3 baths, 4 fireplaces, exposed beams, hardwood floors throughout. Over 3200 square feet of living space. First floor office/den can function as a guest bedroom, or au pair suite. Huge bee hive fireplace in dining area. This had once been the home of actors Jack Klugman & Brett Somers.


2-4 P.M.

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Friday, May 20, 2016

Beautiful New Construction in Westport $1,699,000 Public Open house Sunday, May 22 3-5 p.m.

Exceptional opportunity for those seeking exceptional quality and attention detail, state of the art design and craftsmanship. This architect designed home offers 6 bedrooms, 6 baths, finished on 4 levels. Spacious gourmet kitchen open to the family room with fireplace French doors to patio, a formal living room with built ins, dining room with butlers pantry, and mudroom complete the first floor. Tremendous value, close to town, train, all Westport amenities.
Open House Sunday  May 22  3-5 p.m.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Gear Up for Summer

  • Inspect the siding and trim on the house for cracks and make any needed repairs.
  • Touch up any areas where the paint is peeling, cracking, or chipped.
  • Scrub both sides of window screens with a soft brush and soapy water. Rinse well and allow them to dry in the sun. Repair any holes or tears, or replace the screen material before reinstalling.
  • Have your air conditioning unit inspected and serviced as necessary.
  • Trim shrubs and plants so they don't touch the house, restrict air flow around air conditioning units, or obstruct walkways.
  • Clear debris from gutters and eaves to allow rainwater to drain properly and prevent mosquito breeding.
  • Seal cracks in the driveway.
  • Test irrigation and sprinkler systems and replace any broken sprinkler heads or emitters. Check for proper water coverage and adjust if necessary.
  • Power wash decks and patios and seal surfaces as appropriate
  • Vacuum or brush off refrigerator coils to help maintain energy efficiency. Depending on your model, the coils will be located either on the bottom or on the back of the appliance.
  • Empty and clean dehumidifier pans and hoses according to the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Take area rugs outside. Shake or beat them, and allow them to air out.
  • Dust off ceiling fans and check for proper balance and operation - adjust as necessary.   
  • Close the chimney flue to prevent insects from entering and to help keep cool air in during the months ahead.
  • Repot houseplants to give their roots a fresh start for the summer.
  • Check door and cabinet hinges; adjust and lubricate any that stick or squeak.
  • Air it out on dry, breezy days! Open basement windows to remove dampness and open the upstairs windows to get some fresh air flowing throughout the house.
Thanks to David Leopold at Pillar to Post Home Inspectors for content.

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Saturday, May 07, 2016

April Showers Bring More Sales

Despite less than ideal weather conditions, all of the towns in Mid-Fairfield saw increased activity in April. 

Westport led the way in April with increase of homes going to contract up 105%.  On a yearly basis 151 single family homes have gone to contract, up 54%.  From the perspective of the Median Sales Price, it currently stands at $1,397,500, an increase of 11.8%.  Closed sales are up 96 compared to 86 at the end of April 2015.  This is an increase of 17.1%.  In terms of new listings coming to the market, April actually saw a decrease compared to April, 2015.  However, year to date the number of homes on the market is up 16%.  Early indications in May are showing increased new listings.  Given the wet weather that we’ve had it is likely that we will have a later than normal spring market.

Wilton also saw an impressive jump in April sales activity.  43 homes went to contract compared to 22 in April, 2015.  That’s a 96% increase!  Year to date there have been 86 homes that have gone to contract compared to 59 last year at this time.  That represents a 46% increase. The median price has remained relatively flat.  Currently standing at $875,000, this is an increase of 1.7%.  New listings were also down in April in Wilton, though for the year they are up 8%.  Closed sales are up slightly 46 vs. 43 through April 2015.

Weston has been lagging its neighbor to its west, Wilton, in 2016.  The median price of $749,000 is about 16% lower than Wilton.  Weston did have a good April with 24 homes going to contract compared to 16 in April, 2015.  On a yearly basis homes going to contract is up nearly 11%.  New homes coming to the market was also down in April, but for the year are up nearly 16%.  Closed sales are up slightly from 33 to 34 this year. 

Fairfield saw all of the same tendencies as its neighbors.  New listings were down in April, but up 8% so far for the year.  Pending sales were up in April, and for the year are up 40%, though closed sales are only up 8% through April.  The median price has been slowing gain ground in Fairfield, up 6.2% for the year to $582,000. 

Multiple offer situations are on the increase for new listings that are well priced and in excellent condition.  Mortgage rates remain near historic lows.

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Saturday, April 02, 2016

Activity Through March 2016

Pick up in March

Sales year to date seem to be on a pace similar to 2015, but March activity was up in all towns. That being said, in Fairfield, Weston & Wilton the majority of the activity was for homes under $1 million.  Only Westport had a majority of recent homes binder for over $1million.  This explains the jump in the median price in Westport to $1,395,000 through the month of March. This represents an increase in the median price of 11.6%.   Closed sales for the year in Westport are identical to 2015, with 61 single family closings ytd. Year to date there have been 111 properties go to contract compared to 63 in the previous year, a 76.2% jump.

However, part of the underlying story is the increase in new properties that have come to the market.  In Westport there have been 296 new single family homes come to the market in 2016, an increase of 29.3%. Weston’s numbers percentage-wise are similar, with 119 new properties compared to 93 at this time in 2015, a 28% increase.  The numbers in Wilton are also similar-167 vs. 133, a 25.6% increase.  Fairfield numbers are a little more modest, an 18.2% increase, with 441 new listings compared to 373 in the first three months of 2015.

The median price trajectory has been increasing, but some of these figures may be deceptive.  In Weston, for example, the $745,000 median price is 13.7% higher than figures through the first 3 months of 2015, but below the 2015 median which was above $815,000. Wilton’s median price is up only 5% compared to the median of March 2015, but at $919,000 is above the median price for the entire 2015 season.  Fairfield’s upward trend to $635,000, an increase of 16.5% may be a better indicator of prices on the lower end of the market creeping upwards, though still well behind its neighbors overall.  The overall numbers are much greater in Fairfield than in the neighboring towns.  The 115 closed sales, for example is nearly double that of Westport.  However, signed contracts in Fairfield have jumped from 137 at this time last year to 238, a huge 73.7% jump.  The relative affordability and inventory of lower priced homes is driving these numbers.

Signed contracts are also up in Westport, Weston and Wilton. In Westport up from 63 to 111, a 76.2% jump. In Weston, up from 30 to 46, a 53.3% boost, and in Wilton, the largest increase of all, from 37 to 69 signed contracts, an 84% increase.  This recent spate of contract signing suggests that months of inventory have decreased, but this will depend on the number of new listings coming to the market in April and following months.

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