Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Summer's End

The mild weather of August was much appreciated by my family and we are a little sorry to see it's end. August began quietly but there seemed to be some momentum build up during the month. All four towns that we regularly follow in Mid-Fairfield had activity (in terms of properties going to contract) that was equal to or greater than in 2013. This was fortunate since year to date activity continues to lag that of 2013. Median prices are showing some signs of improvement, but not of the order that we were hoping for. Westport saw 48 properties going to escrow, the exact same number as in August 2013. Total number of properties going to escrow this year is now at 300 compared to 346 in 2013, representing a 13.3% drop off. The 2.9% decrease in inventory does not explain this decline. It is more symbolic of the general fall off in sales as compared to 2013. It is important to note that 2013 was seen as a breakout year, with volume reaching numbers that were similar to what we had seen some of the busier years during the last real estate cycle. It may turn out that 2013 was the anomaly, and when we compare 2015 to these 2014 numbers that we will have more consistent yearly numbers. Westport did see an increase of 8% in its median price so far this year to $1,369,500. This is still below the median prices seen at the height of the last cycle. Weston also saw its median price increase by a more modest 4.9%. It also experienced a busy August with the same numbers as in 2013. Year to date Weston is still lagging 2013 escrow numbers by 8% in terms of volume. New inventory is down 5.4% current inventory at 11.7 months. This is a decrease of 14% but still above the 6 month number that we normally see in a more balanced real estate market. Closed sales are only off 5.7% compared to 2013, though Weston's median price is still lagging where it would like to be, currently standing at $810,000. Wilton had a month of August that was stronger than Weston's, with 28 properties going to escrow. Inventory has been down 3.7% for the year and monthly inventory of properties stands at 8.4 months. Closed sales are off 12.7%, though accounting for properties that are under contract the yearly totals are at 8.2% below 2013. Wilton was the only town where the median price decreased. It is now at $800,000, 3% less than the $825,000 seen last year. Fairfield's median price of $580,000 has made progress from the most difficult years of this cycle, but it remains the most affordable of the towns that we cover. August saw a large spike in activity, with 86 properties going to contract compared to only 69 in August '13. Escrow numbers are now only off 3.3% compared to 2013, though closed sales have declined 8.2% Monthly inventory numbers are at 8.4 months. The lower end continues to drive the market.

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