Thursday, September 26, 2013

Late Summer Activity-Going into Fall

It is hard to believe how quickly the summer went. Maybe it was the rainy June that brought us slowly into summer, or the blistering days of July that made us want to not think about summer, leaving us with the month of August with its mixed weather. In any case, it is now officially autumn, and kids are back in school. The beginning of September with back to school and end of summer vacations is traditionally a slow period in real estate, and there were fewer new listings coming to the market. We're now seeing some homes that came off the market in the summer coming back to the market along with a sprinkling of new inventory. We're also seeing quite a few price reductions from homes that have been on the market for some time. The activity in general continues to be moving toward more historic levels in terms of total number of sales. I often watch what's going on in new construction as an indicator of local builder confidence. Westport has the most active market for new construction in Southwest Fairfield County. Thus far in 2013 there have been 53 new homes sold in Westport, compared to 43 at this time last year, representing a 25% increase. There are also 16 new homes under contract. In addition, there are 49 new homes being marketed at this time. About half of those homes are in the early stages of development. We will most likely also see some additional inventory in the early spring for new homes. At this rate, it looks like builders are figuring that there will be an increase of new home sales for 2014. These figures also don't take into account some custom homes that do not enter the Multiple Listing service. One of the trends that we've seen the last couple of years, and continue to see, are new homes being built on smaller lots. These properties often have access to city sewer and city water, making construction easier for builders, and allowing homes to fall into more affordable price ranges. Though the numbers in August were below those seen in the very brisk spring market, almost all towns saw an increase in the number of properties that went to contract, up significantly (more than 50%) in all towns except Weston which saw its number of 23 in August 2012 fall to 21 in 2013. Year to date though, Weston has seen a 52.5% increase (year to date) of overall sales. Changes in Mortgage rates do not seem to have overly affected the number of sales. On the price side, it may have had some impact on the average sales prices. The median sales prices are just about where they were a year ago, when looking at overall statistics.

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