February was dramatic and interesting; the market statistics brought something new and different to think about and interpret. There were 489 Hartford County single-family contracts, a 13% decrease from February of 2012 and a 10% decrease from January of 2013.
As the month progressed, we felt that the market had noticeably slowed from the January pace. But it’s very difficult to know how much of what we see is specific to our current set of clients versus happening throughout the County. Running the numbers seems to show that our experiences were representative of the overall market.
Despite the step backwards in February, we continue to believe that the local real estate market is poised for a strong spring. The main reason February is unlikely to establish a new trend is that we were hit with a very significant snow storm near the beginning of the month. The storm shut down buyer activity for the good part of a week.
The storm also seemed to encourage sellers to delay listing their homes. 857 new properties came on the market in January of this year, compared to 684 in February – a 20% decrease. As a point of comparison, there were 860 new listings in January 2012 followed by 904 more in February 2012.
The slowing pace of listings shows up in the inventory numbers for the individual towns. We now have four towns with 3 months of inventory or less: Wethersfield, West Hartford, Newington and South Windsor. Less than three months of inventory is generally considered a seller’s market. Listing activity began to increase this past Monday, as the automatic searches we have set up started picking up more new properties to send out to buyer clients.
Spring will be good opportunity for sellers looking to move. Buyer activity and interest is up, and prices in many towns finally seem to be moving in the right direction. We’ve reported this in the past, and we continue to repeat it – bidding wars are back for highly desirable properties. Check in with your favorite real estate agent if you’re considering a sale to learn more about your specific situation.