January Contracts: Solid Start

2018-02-05 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in January 2018

Welcome to 2018, and another exciting year in Greater Hartford real estate.

The new year began with a similar level of activity as observed during the past two years. There were 602 single-family contracts during January in Hartford County. This total was about 5% less than last year, but well ahead of the January totals for years prior to 2016.

The statistic that jumps out in this report is the inventory metric showing how few homes are available in the region. Inventory levels of less than 3 months are typically considered sellers’ markets. Hartford County is currently at 2.6 months. That said, the current total of available homes is seasonally depressed. More and more homes will come onto the market in the coming months as spring approaches.

Eight towns have 2.0 months, or less, of homes available. This will keep the deal total from climbing too high – buyers don’t have much to choose from. As a point of comparison, last year at this time there was 3.0 months of inventory available. Perhaps this explains why January 2018 trailed January 2017 slightly.

We’re expecting 2018 to be another strong year for the real estate market, and nothing that happened in January changed our minds. Reach out to either of us at any point for more information, or to get started with your transaction. We’re happy to help in any way we can.

2018-02-05 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in January 2018 by Town

550 Fern St, West Hartford

550 Fern St, West Hartford

550 Fern is a turnkey home with a family room addition off the back.

A landscaped front yard invites you to enter the traditional Colonial. The front-to-back living room is spacious, and includes a gas fireplace. The updated kitchen is open to the dining room, and features stainless appliances, stone counters, multiple pantry closets, and counter seating. A family room with built-in shelving connects the kitchen back around to the living room. The updated full bath on the main level allows the family room to easily be converted to in-law space.

There is a stone patio outside the kitchen that is perfect for a grill. Beyond the patio is a large, level yard with storage shed.

The three upstairs bedrooms are all a reasonable size. The full bath on the upper level was recently remodeled, and includes a Jacuzzi tub.

The home has newer vinyl siding, most of the windows have been replaced, and has many new doors. The high efficiency gas furnace also includes micro-filtration and humidification to cut down on allergies. Central air will keep you cool all summer long.

550 Fern is across the street from the Fernridge Park tennis courts, swimming pool and playground. West Hartford Center and all its dining and entertainment options are a short walk away. The convenient Fern Street bus line provides a green, and stress-free, alternative to driving to Downtown Hartford for work.

550 Fern Street is offered at $350,000. If you’d like to see this home, please have your agent arrange a showing, visit the open house on Sunday 2/11/2018 from 1:00 to 3:00, or call Kyle at 860-655-2922 to schedule a visit. More details and a photo tour are available.

21 Courtland Street, Manchester

21 Courtland St

Fantastic curb appeal with much of the work already done in this West Side colonial.

Enjoy the traditional colonial layout with a formal living room with wood burning fireplace, dining room with built-in hutch, and an eat-in kitchen. There is also a 3-season sunroom off the dining room which leads to the backyard.

Upstairs there are three bedrooms and a completely remodeled full bathroom. The attic is accessed by pull down stairs.

An oversized, level, sunny backyard is partially fenced and perfect for gardening and play. Relax on the paver patio.

The home features many recent updates including a newer roof, vinyl siding, vinyl windows, boiler, driveway, and paver walkway and patio.

21 Courtland Street is offered at $182,000. 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 photo tour are available.

7 Pilgrim Rd, West Hartford

7 Pilgrim West Hartford

Great layout in this move-in ready Colonial located in the Hartford Golf Club neighborhood.

The first floor offers oversized formal living and dining rooms, an updated kitchen with eat-in space that opens to a family room with built-ins, a dedicated first floor office, and a remodeled powder room.

Upstairs features a master bedroom with walk-in closet and bathroom, as well as three additional bedrooms and another full bathroom.

Air conditioning, a two car attached garage, partially fenced yard, and deck complete the property.

7 Pilgrim Road is offered at $379,000. 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 photo tour are available.

2017 Hartford County Single-Family Sales Data

Hartford County finished 2017 with a slight increase in the number of single-family home sales compared to 2016. The total in the Connecticut MLS database as of 1/4/2018 was 8,649, or 1.6% higher than the previous year. Although there wasn’t significant growth in market activity, the deal total for the year remained close to the 2005 peak, signifying strong overall demand.

2018-01-07 Hartford County Single Family Sales

Looking at the trend in pricing, the chart below shows that both the average and median sales price fell in 2017 compared to 2016. There has been little progress in pricing for years, with both metrics just below the 2009 result, and well off the 2007 peak.

2018-01-07 Hartford County Single Family Prices

Pricing results are not uniformly bad, despite the middling numbers, but it is difficult to see the bright spots when reducing the entire market to a single data point. Additionally, the decrease in the average and median prices is a bit misleading, as will be discussed below.

Lower price bands showed a strong increase in activity over the past few years. Most of the housing stock in the region is worth between $100,000 and $300,000. In 2017 those deals represented nearly 65% of all sales. Those are the price bands that experienced consistent buyer interest and rising prices. The upper end of the market continues to struggle with low demand and downward pressure on prices.

2018-01-07 Hartford County Single Family Sales by Price Band

Distressed sales are a meaningful part of the Greater Hartford market. The percentage of single-family homes sales that were either foreclosures (bank owned) or short-sales (seller owed more than mortgage) remained steady at just over 13%. Most of the deals that closed for less than $100k were distressed (456 out of 652, or 70%), though more than half of the distressed deals closed for more than $100k.

Differences in buyer demand at the various price points have been evident for years. 2017 continued the trend of strength at the low end and weakness at the high end.

It appears that average and median prices decreased because of how those numbers are calculated rather than because of buyers bidding less. In 2017 the number of buyers for low end homes increased versus 2016, while the number of buyers for high end homes decreased. The mix of sold homes changed. Therefore, when the average and median prices were calculated, the mix of sales ($200,000 deals vs $500,000 deals) forced the overall average and median prices down.

Prices fell for technical reasons, not because individual homes are necessarily worth less than they were last year (though some are worth less). The big picture takeaway is that headline numbers like median sales price can’t always be trusted. It is important to get into the numbers to understand the details.

We’re looking forward to seeing what 2018 brings. As always, we are happy to answer questions for folks who would like more information.