Hartford County finished December with 464 single-family home contracts, more than 12% fewer than December 2016. For the full year we observed 9,767 deals, a mere 17 fewer than the 2016 total. Local real estate performed well during 2017 despite the December finish.
We’ll get deeper into the statistics next week by analyzing closed sales for the year. Contract data is interesting because of its immediacy, which is why we report it on a monthly basis. However, the closed sales data available at the end of the year contains much more information.
Most importantly, closed sales include a true market price for each property. It is valuable to look at how pricing changes over time, but we don’t know the value of a home when the buyer and seller agree to the contract. We have to wait until the deal closes, which typically takes 45 – 60 days.
It is also nice to be able to use a full year’s worth of sales when analyzing pricing. As you can see from the chart at the top, the real estate market has strong seasonal trends. It’s better to compare a full year to a different full year so that the effects of seasonality are minimized.
The other advantage of using full year data sets is that there is a lot more data. Hartford County homes are not usually in large subdivisions, and most of the housing stock is at least 40 years old. Each property is different, both because it was built individually (versus being built with 100 other identical homes), and because owners have made different updates over the years. Therefore the mix of homes sold (style, size, price, …) can vary widely from month to month, and even quarter to quarter. The more data that is included in the analysis, the more significant the findings.
As we work to analyze the 2017 closed sales, here is the final tally of contracts for the year, which gives a good sense of market activity in the County overall and in individual towns.
Thank you for reading, and have a wonderful 2018!