2018 Condo Sales: Steady Market

2019-01-21 Hartford County Condo Sales

Hartford County condominiums maintained their pace of sales in 2018. The deal count increased by 2 properties from 2017 to finish with a total of 2,204 sales.

2019-01-21 Hartford County Condo Prices

The median condo sales price increased by 2% from the previous year, reaching $153,000. The positive direction was the first meaningful step upwards for the median price in a decade.

One of the reasons for the long-term downward trend in the median price is that developers have sold fewer “New Construction” condos in the current decade. The chart below shows that there was a wave of new properties built in the previous decade. Those new units, which represented more than 15% of the total number of deals in 2006, played an important role in pushing up the median price.

2019-01-21 Hartford County New Construction Condo Sales

The uptick in median price, and the level deal count, resulted in a reasonably steady distribution of sales by price band.

2019-01-21 Hartford County Condo Sales by Price Band

Finally, here is the breakdown of the number of deals and median prices by town. Condominiums are distributed throughout the County, so a number of towns have active condo markets.

2019-01-21 Hartford County Condominium Sales in 2018 by Town

Don’t hesitate to ask us your condominium questions. We’re experienced agents who are active the local condo market. How can we help you?

Alert: Extreme Cold Ahead

Real Estate Alert 2019-01-19

The precipitation is getting all the headlines, but the extreme cold predicted to follow is just as concerning.

Take a couple minutes today to make sure your house is ready for extended single-digit temperatures. Check your heating oil level, drain the exterior spigots, and bring in some firewood if you regularly burn fires. If you have drafty windows or doors, then consider buying insulating strips to temporarily plug the cracks.

Stay warm, and make sure your house stays warm too. Frozen pipes are bad news.

Free Houses in Sicily

Ruins

We recently wrote about municipal governments offering free houses in Japan in an effort to stabilize the population of rural areas.

Well, a similar offer is available with a Mediterranean flair. Sambuca, a town near the southern coast of Sicily, is offering homes for €1 to new residents who promise to fix up the properties within 3 years. The town dates back to the ancient Greeks, and has a variety of historical influences.

Although we’re not planning to jump at either offer, there is consensus in our house that we would choose Sicily over Japan.

AirBnB to try Modular Construction

Fast Company published an exclusive about AirBnB at the end of November. The home sharing company proposed a new initiative called Backyard, which came from their division focused on the future. It is very ambitious, as it aims to rethink the entire process of designing, building, and updating homes.

While the company’s move into the physical world of construction is the main headline, I’m more interested in one of the other details – that the homes will be modular.

Modular structures are not a new idea, but they have not gained much traction in the residential world. The vast majority of homes that people live in today were built on site from lumber.

Modular construction, where larger sections of a structure are built off-site, is more common in commercial development. For example, the large parking garage that the State built on the corner of Buckingham and Washington near the Capitol building relied heavily on modules that were trucked in and assembled by crane.

State Garage at Buckingham and Washington

I like the idea of modular homes. That might seem like a surprising position for an “old house” person to take, but if I ever built a new home then I would definitely look at modular options in order to increase the build quality and reduce the construction time. I would expect modular construction to save me money too.

What is exciting about AirBnB getting into modular construction is that they have the potential to try the idea at a large scale. The Fast Company article noted that the company was valued at about $38 billion. As a point of comparison public homebuilder D.R. Horton, one of the largest in the country, had a market cap of about $13 billion at that time.

A large scale trial of modular homebuilding by AirBnB is unlikely to happen in Connecticut. We don’t have a large unmet demand for housing, and the available land is relatively far from the existing job centers. We’ll have to watch their experiment from a distance.

Hopefully the combination of AirBnB’s drive to expand their business, their ability to finance the effort, and their fresh perspective on homebuilding will result in many home innovations and progress towards making modular construction the standard for new residential properties.