Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Do the Wealthy Know something that the Media Doesn't know?

Here in Westport and other destination towns in the metropolitan area there has been a trend that would seem to go against what certain television and news media are reporting. Those reports are indicating that the real estate market has not reached its bottom, and in the case of Jim Cramer the implication was that only fools would buy in this market.

Well, apparently many of the very knowledgeable financial services people who make up a healthy portion of our population don't seem to agree.

To give some indication I decided to look at homes in the 'high end', say over $2,000,000 that have sold during the past two years in this area of Fairfield County. In Westport, Weston, Fairfield these numbers have increased dramatically in the past year. Year to date (Oct.17) comparing 2006 to 2007 here are the numbers:
Westport Weston Wilton Fairfield

2006 80 15 21 21
2007 96 22 21 39

The only town that did not have increased 'high end' sales was Wilton, but for some reason this has been an off year for Wilton.

To have a more accurate assessment of what is happening, one should also look at what is happening for example under $1,000,000. The following are the results in that category:

Westport Weston Wilton Fairfield

2006 106 59 121 418
2007 105 68 104 497

Lastly, to get the whole picture let's look at the range of $1,000,000-2,000,000:

Westport Weston Wilton Fairfield

2006 154 49 77 99
2007 140 49 63 133

Now we have a clearer idea of what the gains and losses have been. Westport has seen the largest number of sales in the 'high end' in both 2006 and 2007. Sales under $2,000,000 have been off slightly, approximately in equal numbers to the gains in the high end.

Fairfield, with far and away the largest population and the largest inventory, has remained the leader in 'affordable' sales, and Fairfield has also seen a large increase in sales in all categories observed.

Wilton, as I indicated briefly above has lost sales under $2,000,000. They have remained steady in the high end (over $2,000,000), but have not seen advances.

Weston has seen slow but steady gains for 2007, both in the high end, and the mid-range.