October Contracts: Impact of the State Budget

2017-11-02 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in October 2017

Hartford County had 727 single-family homes deals come together during the month of October. The total was about 3% fewer than October 2016, though on a year-to-date basis the market is very slightly ahead of 2016.

Discussion of the State budget situation was unavoidable during October. It was regularly a leading news story, and was not fully resolved until the Governor signed a budget on Halloween. Budget talk seemed to come up all the time, in a way that made it plausible for the budget uncertainty to have a cooling effect on the regional real estate market. Now that the data is in, we can attempt to answer whether the State budget situation actually impacted buyer behavior.

Taking the widest possible view, a 3% variance from last year suggests that the budget debate wasn’t such a big deal. The chart at the top shows a tight cluster of October contract totals over the past three years. There was no huge miss for the month. Additionally, the chart shows that wild month-to-month swings are actually not unusual for the County. At a high level, there is no way to say that the uncertainty about the State budget definitely slowed the market in October.

There are trends with individual towns, many of them quite interesting. However, they are year-long trends rather than new and unique situations that popped up when the State budget took over the headlines.

One of the strongest trends is that buyers are showing a lot of interest in the core price bands of the more densely populated towns. The table below shows that East Hartford, Manchester, Bristol, Hartford, and Windsor Locks experienced year-to-date deal activity increases of more than 10%. Looking more deeply into the numbers, the increases were primarily due to an uptick in contracts on homes priced in the $100,000s. The October results for those five towns ranged from a 112% increase in the number of month-over-month deals to an 18% decrease. Again, it is not possible to reach a definitive conclusion about the impact of the State budget standoff.

The narrowest view of the impact of the State budget uncertainty comes from conversations with individuals interested in real estate. Numerous home shoppers that I interacted with over the past month independently raised the State budget as a concern. I had multiple guests at a Hartford open house tell me they that lived in West Hartford and were concerned about buying a larger home in West Hartford because of the potential for even more property taxes if the State cut education funding to the town (as was proposed at one point by the Governor). My own buyer clients noted the budget standoff as a concern, though they did not tie it to any specific decisions. Agents in my office reported conversations about the State budget with their clients too.

At the end of the day, it is important to recognize that all sorts of factors impact the real estate markets. The State budget was the primary talking point in October. It was definitely on people’s minds, and influenced their decisions. However, there is no convincing statistical evidence (that we’ve seen) that those individual decisions caused October to be an unusual month in the noisy world of real estate.

It is interesting though … I wonder what everyone will be talking about in November?

2017-11-02 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in October 2017 by Town

5a Linden Place, Downtown Hartford

5a Linden

Welcome to your new townhome at the historic Linden community, steps from Downtown Hartford’s numerous amenities.

The formal living room is a light, bright space with bay window, white washed brick, new flooring, original fireplace and built-in shelving. Down the hall, the remodeled kitchen features leathered granite countertops, a subway tile backsplash, and stainless appliances. It opens to the family room with new flooring and an exposed brick wall. It also connects to the dining space, which walks out to a private porch, overlooking the community’s lovely garden space. A powder room and numerous closets are also located on the first floor.

Upstairs, the oversized master bedroom features a private balcony, fireplace, bay window, large closet, and remodeled en-suite bathroom. There are two additional bedrooms, both with good closet space, one with another private balcony overlooking the garden. An updated hallway full bathroom and laundry closet complete the second floor.

There are two new heating/cooling units and thermopane replacement windows throughout the unit. A deeded garage space and storage unit in the basement provide additional convenience. The Linden offers 24-hour on-site security.

Enjoy a short walk to work, the library, theaters, museums, restaurants and Bushnell Park! FHA approved community.

5a Linden Place is offered at $329,500. If you’d like to see this home, please have your agent arrange a showing, visit the open house on Saturday 10/21/2017 from 12:00 to 2:00, or call Amy at 860-655-2125 to schedule a visit. More details and a photo tour are available.

3a Linden Place, Downtown Hartford

3a Linden

Step inside this move-in ready Hartford townhome at The Linden. Enter into a muraled anteroom, before stepping into the formal living room. The large space features numerous architectural touches that carry throughout the home, including oak flooring, natural wood, and a brick accent wall. The room features a fireplace and a bay of windows with views of the skyline.

Proceeding further, past the double coat closets and updated powder room, you’ll reach the comfortable open kitchen, family room, and dining area that is the heart of the home. It’s a quiet retreat at the rear of the main level with an exposed brick wall, turned staircase, and French doors opening to a private deck overlooking the courtyard.

The kitchen features an island with seating, granite counters, and stainless appliances. There is plenty of storage and a large pantry to support your culinary adventures.

Upstairs, the master suite includes a fireplace and balcony. The full bathroom is spacious and updated with a glass surround shower. The closet is outfitted with an organization system.

Laundry is conveniently located in the upstairs hall next to another updated full bath.

Two more bedrooms at the rear of the upper level overlook the courtyard. Both include a brick accent wall, and one has French doors out to a private balcony.

The condo includes 24-hour on-site security, central air, a garage parking spot, and a prime Downtown location within walking distance of most of the main attractions.

3a Linden Place has 3 bedrooms, 2.1 baths, 1,902 sqft, and is offered for $299,000. If you’d like to see this home, please have your agent arrange a showing, or call Amy at 860-655-2125 to schedule a visit. More details and a photo tour are available.

714 Prospect Ave, Hartford’s West End

714 Prospect

This truly stunning West End home in immaculate condition awaits its new owner.

Gracious may best describe the presentation of living spaces in this historic Colonial. A double vestibule entry leads to a wide foyer, showcasing the lovely turned staircase. The formal living room, dining room, and an additional sitting room are all open to each other and make for easy entertaining. Enjoy a true cook’s kitchen with double ovens, granite counters, large working island with seating, eat-in space, butler’s pantry, and an additional pantry. A private office and powder room complete the first floor. Wide moldings, French doors, a pocket door, built-in book cases and a hutch, and a wood burning fireplace are just some of the original features.

Upstairs, the en-suite master bedroom is a true retreat. It offers a fireplace, large sitting room, walk-in closet, and full bathroom with soaking tub, shower, and double vanity. There are two additional oversized bedrooms on this floor, a full bathroom, and an office, which also conveniently houses the laundry.

The third floor boasts two huge bedrooms and a fabulous remodeled full bathroom with double vanity, heated floor and custom shower.

The outside spaces include a wide front porch with original tile floor and a private paver patio area in the backyard.

The home has a new roof, replacement windows, fresh paint both inside and out, refinished hardwood floors throughout, gas heat (5 zones) and hot water, and a 2-car detached garage.

714 Prospect Avenue has 5 bedrooms, 3.1 baths, 4,857 sqft, and is offered for $550,000. If you’d like to see this home, please have your agent arrange a showing, or call Amy at 860-655-2125 to schedule a visit. More details and a photo tour are available.

September Contracts: A Tentative Return

2017-10-02 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in September 2017

Hartford County finished September with 739 single-family home contracts, in line with the September 2016 result. On a year-to-date basis, 2017 is about 1% ahead of 2016 in terms of the total number of deals.

This month our series on contract data tentatively returns. The local MLS system still does not allow the method of data gathering that we have been doing since 2009, but tech support helped us find a workaround. It is more difficult to collect the information, but we believe it is comparable to our previous process. We will scrutinize the results each month for the rest of the year to make sure the data continues to look correct.

Although we feel good about the accuracy of the September data point, we believe that the August numbers are understated. August results were re-collected yesterday using the new collection process. Measuring the number of contracts at the same time each month, shortly after month end, is important because deals tend to fall apart over time. For every 100 contracts in place at the end of the month, there might only be 95 (hypothetically) in which the buyer and seller are still working together 30 days later. Because the August number shown in the top chart was collected in early October, it is very likely that the August total would have been higher if it had been collected in early September.

With the disclaimers out of the way, it is good to be able to look at market activity again in near real time. Deal counts have been falling over the past two months, as is typical of late summer. Hopefully there will be a small uptick in activity during October as the fall market kicks in. At the big picture level, 2017 has been a strong year for the local real estate markets.

Trends by price band show a slight increase in deals in the $100,000s, the $200,000s, and the $300,000s. Those three price bands represent over 79% of the single-family contracts in Hartford County, showing that there is strength at price points representing our core housing stock.

Inventory levels continue to be neutral below $400,000, and then increase to favor buyers as the price point rises. At the extreme end of the price spectrum, there has been a decrease in the number of million dollar homes that have gone under contract this year compared to last year. There are so many million dollar homes on the market that it would take over 2 years to sell them all at the recent pace of deals. It continues to be a good time to be a high end buyer in Greater Hartford.

2017-10-02 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in September 2017 by Town