Archive for the 'Buying' Category
Single-family contracts fell to 514 in Hartford County for the month of November. The month was about 6% higher than the total from November of 2012, and the year-to-date count remains about 7% ahead of the 2012 pace.
Agents we know have commented that there were parts of November when the market seemed suspiciously quiet – like so quiet that they didn’t trust their email was working properly. Despite that, the month ended with a solid deal count, which seems like a good sign.
Barring a dramatic turn of events in December, it appears that the year will end with a modest increase in market activity over 2012. We continue to see deals come together this month, but don’t have a good sense of how active it will be. The weather and the distribution of the various holidays always seems to play a factor.
Next month we’ll take a deeper look into the 2013 full year data to see what trends emerged and what they suggest for 2014. We’ll also investigate pricing data, which we think should only be considered on an annual basis since the mix of homes sold within a particular month or quarter contains a meaningful element of randomness. Annual data also needs to be closely monitored for changes in sales mix, but with the larger number of data points the changes are more likely to mean something.
The fall market that we were expecting to see, and then wrote off when it didn’t turn up, magically appeared in October. There were 678 contracts written during the month, which is a 15% increase over October of 2012 and a meaningful step up in activity from last month.
Contract data at the individual town level continued to bounce around. Bloomfield and Bristol had big reversals of fortune from the September report, showing just how inconsistent small sample sizes can be. In addition to those two towns, Glastonbury, Manchester, New Britain, Suffield and West Hartford all had double-digit increases in the number of contracts that came together in the year-over-year comparisons.
What will November bring? This is typically the month when there is a sharp decline in contracts as buyers and sellers turn their attention to the holidays. Will the October excitement spill over into November? And this year Thanksgiving is very late in the month – will that mean a smaller decline?
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The West Hartford real estate market finished September 2013 with 52 closings, which was nearly 24% more than the total from September of last year. For the whole year, the 2013 transaction total is about 13% ahead of 2012.
There have not been any major changes in the stats since August. The distribution of closed deals has been pretty consistent over the different price bands. The number of properties under contract has fallen slightly from 104 to 102. The number of active listings has increased from 220 to 225. Inventory levels are beginning to increase.
We noted the other day that Hartford County buyer activity was surprisingly weak in September considering how August ended. West Hartford was in line with this trend, with about a 3% decline in the number of contracts written compared to September 2012.
That said, there are still a lot of homes under contract, waiting to close, so the final tally of completed transactions will certainly surpass the 636 we had in 2012. So far this year there have been 566 closed deals. The majority of the 102 homes under contract as of 10/4 (when we collected the data) should close this year, which means that we’re on track to have our best year in West Hartford since 2007.
September contract data for Hartford County single-family home sales showed a decrease in activity on both a month-over-month basis and a year-over-year basis.
The final count was 620 contracts for September, which was slightly behind the 625 from September 2012. We were very surprised by how the month developed. After a flurry of activity at the end of August and the beginning of September, we were expecting a strong month and a step up in the number of contracts – a “fall market” rebound in the deal count.
As the weeks passed it became clear that the activity level was not being sustained. Why did the market die out for a couple weeks? It got pretty quiet there in the middle of the month. And, given our observations about the slowdown, what does it tell us about the market moving forward?
We’re not sure why the market slowed, and struggle to even come up with a hypothesis. The only noteworthy change was that a brokerage with a strong Greater Hartford presence completely changed their brand. That process seemed to go smoothly, so it’s difficult to imagine it influenced the market. However, a lot of individual agents had to spend time communicating the new brand to their clients and changing over their personal systems, so it is possible that it had a small market impact.
The inventory of homes available jumped meaningfully between the August and September reports. We are now at 7.9 months of inventory for the county overall, with much higher levels in some towns. Even the towns that had the most favorable conditions for sellers (low inventory) through the spring and summer months are seeing more listings and the market creep back up into neutral territory.
Taking a step back, we’re not sure what to expect for the rest of the year. The government shutdown is now a week old, and may begin impacting deals if it continues for too much longer. We’re just going to have to take it week by week until some of the uncertainty is resolved.