Activity in the Greater Hartford real estate markets continued to build through the month of May, with a total of 687 Hartford County deals coming together in the Connecticut Multiple Listing Service. Markets are now back in line with the 2009 numbers.
May’s result shows that there are still buyers on the hunt for homes. The peak of the spring market is often the month of May, so seeing the number of deals increase over April is reassuring, providing some level of confirmation that the market is returning to normal patterns.
Looking at the year-over-year comparisons, May 2011 outperformed May 2010 by 70%, which is a huge number. Although it’s always fun to make predictions and then see them come true, getting this one right (see the bottom of April’s commentary) feels like a hollow victory. There was no real insight here, just a solid understanding of how math works.
The important question is whether buyers will continue to shop through June. We’ve noticed that buyers seem to be coming out in waves this spring. There have been a few very busy weeks with lots of calls to tour homes, and showings scheduled on our listings. Then there have been other weeks that have been surprisingly quiet. We haven’t figured out the pattern, so your guess is as good as ours.
Buyers continue to prefer homes in which they don’t need to make any improvements. Picture perfect homes in popular locations sell quite quickly. Homes in very nice condition seem to find buyers who are excited to live there even if the counters aren’t granite. Properties that are clean and tidy are often more marketable than better updated homes that aren’t as well maintained.
Buyers willing to step outside of the must-be-perfect mindset can find interesting properties at a reasonable price. They just have to be willing to do a little work. Sometimes it’s a simple as painting and cleaning. Other times it’s more involved projects like updating the kitchen and/or baths.
One final thought … a lot of buyers seem to be thinking of their potential purchase as an investment more than a home. I understand that everyone wants to get the best deal possible, and would ideally like their property to appreciate over both the short and long term.
There’s a difficult-to-quantify side to residential real estate that relates to “quiet enjoyment,” or how much you like living in your new home. How much do you value a certain style of home, or layout? How much do you value the neighborhood a home is in? How much do you value your commute time? Are you willing to make compromises in one area to get what you want in another?