The 2012 Hartford County single-family real estate market finished the year strongly. Which really wasn’t a surprise since it had consistently shown an increase in activity throughout the year.
The final count shows that the number of contracts for December was up about 10% over the previous December. This wasn’t as much market growth as we had seen in past months, but the strangeness that occurred at the end of 2011 makes the year-over-year comparisons difficult.
More interesting is that 2012 finished 24% ahead of 2011 for the total number of contracts written, reflecting a meaningful increase in real estate deals as the local economy stabilized. Another positive visible in the data is that the market showed consistent strength throughout the year with each month in 2012 outperforming the corresponding month in 2011.
Anecdotal evidence from living real estate day-to-day is that buyers are more confident. They feel better about their employment situations, and are more comfortable extending themselves financially with a home purchase. We also see broad consensus among buyers that mortgage rates are attractive (though rates don’t seem to be a primary factor in purchase decisions). Finally, we have heard a few people suggest that prices may be poised to increase, though that hypothesis is less widely accepted.
Inventory metrics are suspiciously low this month, so let’s not pay too much attention to the 4.4 months of inventory shown at the bottom of the table. In addition to the homes pulled off the market for the holidays, this snapshot also misses the listings that expired at the end of the year and have not yet been relisted. Sellers hire listing agents on a contract basis and it’s natural for contracts to expire at the end of a month or year. So every year there is a wave of listings that expire on 12/31 and eventually make their way back onto the market in the subsequent weeks. That number is going to climb quickly in the coming days.
We’re looking forward to an exciting real estate market in 2013 … we can’t wait to see how it develops!