Monday, November 04, 2013

October 2013 Update

As we approach the final months of the year we can now look at year-to-date results with a greater amount of certainty. Across all of the towns that we cover it is clear that year over year sales are up by solid amounts in all towns. At the same time we have actually seen more homes coming to the market than in the previous year. The resulting greater sales have produced what might be seen as an anomaly: the number of months of inventory, that is the number of months that it would theoretically take to sell off existing inventory has dropped in all towns. Certainly not to the levels seen when the market was at its hottest in the previous 2004-2006 cycle, but to respectable levels. When inventories are in the 5 month to 8 month range we find ourselves in a more balanced market with buyers and sellers at fairly equal footing. The larger cities, such as Norwalk and Stamford currently have the lowest number of months of inventory. The very similar numbers of 4.9 months in Norwalk, and 5.4 months in Stamford, are indicative of a larger buyer pool in the median and lower price ranges, thereby increasing competition amongst buyers. With a median price of $450,000 in Norwalk, and $560,000 in Stamford these two towns represent good value in the New York metropolitan area. They often offer a foothold for first time home buyers looking to move to the suburbs. The median price in Stamford, unlike the rest of our surveyed towns and cities remained flat, but October sales were solid up to 57 from 43 in the previous year, a 33% increase. Year to date closed sales are up by 44 homes to 548, a solid 18.9% increase. Year over year sales in Norwalk have also posted solid gains, up to 529 from 434 in 2012, or a 22% jump, and the median price, though the lowest of our group at $450,000, was up 5.2%. Westport has seen the number of new homes coming to the market in 2013 increase over the 2012 numbers. It's important to keep in mind that many of these homes are not technically new home listings, since they may have been relisted at new prices, or just relisted for sale after having been on the market in the previous year. Westport has the largest number of high end listings (over 40% of the current listings are over $2,000,000), but also with the largest number of high end sales (76 out of the the 397 sales year to date). The median price is Westport is still well below all time highs in the previous cycle, despite a very robust high end market. It is currently at just below $1,300,000. The median price is growing at historical levels-4.5% in 2013. Sales numbers are also back to historical levels, though with a large proportion of high end properties housing inventory stands at 8 months, the highest in our survey group. Weston has also seen a modest increase of 4% in its median priced homes to $775,000. Year over year sales are up 35.5% to 145 homes vs. 107 at this time of year in 2012. October closed sales were down in Weston, and more homes have continued to enter the market leaving monthly inventory at 12.7 months-the highest of our survey group, though increases in October were quite small. Wilton has seen slightly higher gains of 8.3% in median prices, to $801,500, slightly above Weston levels. Closed sales of single family homes are up to 247 from 190 in 2012, a whopping 30% increase, and inventory levels are down to a very respectable 5.7 months. The town of Fairfield has also seen increases of single home sales to 605 from 526 in 2012, a robust 15% increase, even with a slight dropoff in October closed sales. The median price has come up 4.7% to $549,000. Fairfield and Stamford have similar track records though Fairfield has seen slight comparative gains in the past 12 months. Waterfront sales are still feeling the effect of recent storms and are down somewhat in all coastal towns. Taking this into account the recent sales gains are that much more impressive. We can probably expect to see some gains in beach area sales next year if no sudden storms arrive unexpectantly, and as homes are raised in areas that were more severely impacted by the storms of 2012.

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