Saturday, January 21, 2012

Mid-Fairfield New Construction

New Construction has fared well against more recent resale properties in similar price ranges in Westport. Many of today’s buyers looking in similar price ranges seem to prefer owning a new home. The attraction lies in the combination of these homes having the most recent technology, design, & appliances, as well as in knowing that one can make their own mark on a house, that has driven these sales. In Westport, some of these homes are on streets that are in transition. Buyers coming from Manhattan, or Brooklyn understand that often when one new home is built on the street others will follow, thereby increasing the value
of the street.

There were 46 New homes sold in 2011 in Westport. The average sales price was
$2,131,011. 2010 volume was almost identical with 45 home sales, but the average selling price in 2010 was $2,500,153. There were fewer very high end new home sales in 2011, but the decrease in average sale prices has been influenced by two factors. The still shaky confidence in the housing market has led buyers to look for less expensive homes, and this in turn has had builders looking for smaller, less expensive lots which will allow them to build in the more affordable price ranges. The so-called ‘sweet spot’ in new construction is below $2
million. In some cases this has pushed down the prices of slightly older homes with kitchens and baths that might seem just a little out of date, compared to brand new homes.

The market for New Construction appears to be balanced. There are 61 homes currently listed for sale as New Homes in Westport. 12 of these homes have been on the market for 3 or more months, in their completed form. These are carryovers from the 2011 market. There would appear to be at first glance more than one year’s inventory available. However,16 of these new homes have not broken ground yet. One can surmise that builders are waiting for some sell off of the current inventory to start building. If one takes those 16 into account there remains 45 new homes currently on the market. Based on the sales of 2010 and 2011
we should see almost all of the current inventory sold off before the end of 2012. That bodes fairly well for builders. Remembering the effects of the 1980s the majority of builders are working on speculative homes one at a time. There are a handful of builders with deeper pockets working on multiple projects. Though there have been some builders that have been in financial difficulty (there are currently 2bank owned new homes on the market), they represent a smaller percentage than the builders of the late 1980s.

Westport continues to be the locomotive for new Construction in this area. Speculative builders have avoided building in Weston for several years, though there are a couple of local builders who slowly bring new product to the market. The same is true in Wilton. Fairfield has seen a few new homes built in the beach area and in Greenfield Hill, but it too is very limited.


Friday, January 20, 2012

Springtime & Yearly Lists

There are always a certain number of items that need attending to in a home on a yearly basis, or more regularly. We all overlook certain things that we need to do in our lives but in order to get everything done in our ever busier lives I’ve found that it is helpful to keep a list of those items both in a written form (as a reminder) as well as on my time-management program (which I also sync. with my phone). Here are some of the ones that I tend to overlook,but really should be done, and most of these items should be done about 6 weeks from now:

• Change the filters on your heating and air conditioning unit (if your have a forced air system), at least once every 3 months. I mark the filters with the date in case I forget when I last put them on). I like to do it on the first day of each quarter. Some heating folks will tell you to do it more often. Look at the filter itself to see how dirty it is . If it’s very dirty after 3 months try every 2 months.
• Have your heating and cooling inspected every year. This is kind of like rotating the tires on your car. The more often you do it the more likely that the system will last longer.
• Close the shut off valve in basement by October 15th to avoid frost issues, and potential water damage. They can be turned back on in April.
• Do a yearly visual inspection on the exterior of the house after the winter months to see if there has been any damaged sustained to the roof, gutters, and walkways. Start to schedule repairs in the early spring to avoid the summer rush when it is more difficult to find repair people.
• Schedule the annual service inspection of the heating system in late spring-the heating companies tend to be too busy in the winter to do servicing then. You can also take advantage of the time to call the A/C service providers to do their inspection a few weeks later, in late May usually works, do have everything in good working order before the providers get swamped in the summer months
• Spring is a good time to start fertilizing and seeding your lawn.
• If you tend to get bees or wasps late spring is also a good time to schedule the exterminator to come by. While he’s there have him check that there aren’t termites or other unwanted bugs or other creatures that might have infiltrated the house in the winter months
• If you’re on well water spring is also a good time to have the pump checked, and you might want to check out the water itself. Your water treatment specialist can do this for you, or you can also take a sample and have it checked at Brooks Labs in Norwalk.
• Open the covers of your heating ducts and take a vacuum hose to get out dust and other debris.
• Open your dryer exhaust at least once a year and clean out excess lint which could make drying your clothes more difficult and be a potential fire hazard
• If you make changes to your home, or buy new furniture or paintings take some digital photos and retain them somewhere online where they could be produced if there is a theft or damage to the house.

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Monday, January 02, 2012

2011 Mid-Fairfield Single Family Home Statistics

Westport Weston Wilton Fairfield Norwalk

Homes bindered 11 2 11 22 23
Homes Under Contract 31 11 12 52 52
Sold 2011 340 103 176 521 433
Marketing time 100days 114 116 110 118
Sold 2010 347 118 163 595 505
Average Sales Price '11 $1,340,636 838,488 958,406 694,515 575,648
Average Sales Price '10 1,454,518 929,994 879,330 679,782 565,927
Ratio List to sell 2011 94% 93% 94% 94% 94%
Ratio List to sell 2010 93% 92% 94% 94% 94%
Month's Inventory 2011 10.6 17.4 11.3 9.7 10.8
Month's Inventory 2010 11.6 13.2 11.6 10 10.8
Percent change -9 31.6 -2.8 -2.2 unchanged
Change Median Sales Price -5.40% -9.60% 5.40% 5.8 -5.10%
Median Sales Price $1,085,625 750,000 825,000 549,900 419,000

2011 Mid-Fairfield results were mixed. Wilton showed the greatest improvement in number of homes sold vs.the previous year. Westport saw a slight decrease in overall sales and median price. Volume was more impacted in Norwalk,Weston, and Fairfield. Looking at the bigger picture, the Case-Schiller N.Y. Metro Price Index is now indicating March 2004 levels and the index was virtually unchanged between the 4th quarters of 2010 and 2011. Financial crises and natural disasters both impacted sales in the 3rd and 4th quarters of 2010 and 2011. Most recent activity (properties under binder or contract) points to increased activity in the 4th quarter which may be reflective of increased consumer confidence.

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Statistical data compiled from Consolidated Multiple Listing Service

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