2017 Hartford County Single-Family Sales Data

Hartford County finished 2017 with a slight increase in the number of single-family home sales compared to 2016. The total in the Connecticut MLS database as of 1/4/2018 was 8,649, or 1.6% higher than the previous year. Although there wasn’t significant growth in market activity, the deal total for the year remained close to the 2005 peak, signifying strong overall demand.

2018-01-07 Hartford County Single Family Sales

Looking at the trend in pricing, the chart below shows that both the average and median sales price fell in 2017 compared to 2016. There has been little progress in pricing for years, with both metrics just below the 2009 result, and well off the 2007 peak.

2018-01-07 Hartford County Single Family Prices

Pricing results are not uniformly bad, despite the middling numbers, but it is difficult to see the bright spots when reducing the entire market to a single data point. Additionally, the decrease in the average and median prices is a bit misleading, as will be discussed below.

Lower price bands showed a strong increase in activity over the past few years. Most of the housing stock in the region is worth between $100,000 and $300,000. In 2017 those deals represented nearly 65% of all sales. Those are the price bands that experienced consistent buyer interest and rising prices. The upper end of the market continues to struggle with low demand and downward pressure on prices.

2018-01-07 Hartford County Single Family Sales by Price Band

Distressed sales are a meaningful part of the Greater Hartford market. The percentage of single-family homes sales that were either foreclosures (bank owned) or short-sales (seller owed more than mortgage) remained steady at just over 13%. Most of the deals that closed for less than $100k were distressed (456 out of 652, or 70%), though more than half of the distressed deals closed for more than $100k.

Differences in buyer demand at the various price points have been evident for years. 2017 continued the trend of strength at the low end and weakness at the high end.

It appears that average and median prices decreased because of how those numbers are calculated rather than because of buyers bidding less. In 2017 the number of buyers for low end homes increased versus 2016, while the number of buyers for high end homes decreased. The mix of sold homes changed. Therefore, when the average and median prices were calculated, the mix of sales ($200,000 deals vs $500,000 deals) forced the overall average and median prices down.

Prices fell for technical reasons, not because individual homes are necessarily worth less than they were last year (though some are worth less). The big picture takeaway is that headline numbers like median sales price can’t always be trusted. It is important to get into the numbers to understand the details.

We’re looking forward to seeing what 2018 brings. As always, we are happy to answer questions for folks who would like more information.

2016 Hartford County Single-Family Sales Data

2016 was another good year for Hartford County real estate. It was the second year in a row that showed growth in the number of closed deals. The total number of single-family sales recorded in the Connecticut Multiple Listings Service (CTMLS) database was 8,515 (as of 1/6/2017).

2017-01-06 Hartford County Single Family Sales

The number of closed sales increased by 10.6% over the 2015 total. As the above chart shows, the market has returned to the activity levels seen in the early 2000s. Last year’s sales total was only about 6% below the 2005 peak.

The increase in sales was not been equally distributed across price bands. Most of the increases in 2016 were in the middle price points of the $200,000s and $300,000s. However, on a percentage basis, the price points between $400,000 and $1,000,000 also showed good growth.

2017-01-06 Hartford County Single Family Sales by Price Band

Year end is the only time that we look at pricing trends. The chart below updates the annual calculation of median and average home prices. For the first year in quite some time, the median and average sales prices both increased. It’s difficult to tell from the high level charts, but the pricing gains were concentrated in the lower price points. Sellers at the upper price points still struggled with more supply than demand.

2017-01-06 Hartford County Single Family Prices

The market is now well into the recovery phase, and is showing the first signs of upward price movement in quite some time. We’re looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings. Feel free to reach out to us if you have questions or would like more information.

2014 Wrap-Up: Single-Family Results

The headline trend in the Hartford County single-family real estate markets in 2014 was that there was no prevailing narrative. After a few years of uncertainty in the late 2000s following the financial crisis, the markets enjoyed a few years of obvious recovery. The results of 2014 cannot be explained in comparable terms.

The simple way to explain the year is to say it was a repeat of 2013. The number of single-family deals recorded in the CTMLS was nine higher in 2014 than in 2013. That’s a surprisingly small difference for a market with over 7,000 total deals. The chart below shows the single-family deal counts since 2001.

2015-01-15 Hartford County Single-Family Deals by Year

January is the only time of the year when we review pricing in the real estate market. Other analysts look at median and average prices on a monthly basis. We feel that the lumpiness of the market makes it difficult to trust data sampled over narrow time intervals.

The number of homes that close in a month varies wildly throughout the year. The types of homes that are available in the spring market seem different than those available in the winter. All of those factors, and more, could be addressed with a complicated model. And maybe the other analysts have the computing power and creativity to overcome those challenges. We don’t, so we stick with full year data. But I disgress…

Average prices were basically flat in 2014, while median fell by about 3%. The chart below shows average and median prices for single-family homes since 2001.

2015-01-15 Hartford County Single-Family Prices by Year

Why didn’t the average and median prices move in the same direction last year? Looking at the number of deals by price band seemed like a good place to start addressing that question.

There was a 4.9% increase in the number of deals in the $100,000s and a 4.7% decrease in the number of deals in the $200,000s. We believe that this is evidence of falling home prices during the year. Properties that used to sell in the low $200,000s fell into the high $100,000s.

There was an increase in the number of deals that closed at prices above $700,000. In fact, there was a 25% increase in the number of properties that sold for between $700,000 and $1,000,000. This was the second year in a row of strong deal count growth in that price band. It is important to note, however, that the price band only contributed 155 deals to the County’s total, so it is not a fundamental driver of the market.

2015-01-15 Hartford County Single-Family Deals by Price Band

How Long Does it Take to Close?

Days to Close

The amount of time between the contract date and the closing varies greatly – every situation is a little different. However, after looking at all of the single-family deals that closed in Hartford County in 2013 we can see some trends.

The peak of the curve is between 35 and 55 days. This is the range that we usually see with our clients. It allows the buyer enough time to secure a mortgage, and the seller enough time to move out. Mentally you should plan for a closing somewhere in this window as you consider a real estate transaction.

Closing dates are negotiable. Buyers usually begin the conversation by proposing a closing date in their initial offer for a home. From there, it may, or may not, get changed depending on how the negotiation proceeds.

Buyers need to be more aware of the time until closing than sellers. Mortgage lenders offer rate locks to buyers and perform other due diligence that has a shelf live. You need to find a lender and get pre-qualified before making an offer on a home, so make a note to ask if they have advice on a reasonable closing timeline.

The closing date will need to be a mutual agreement between the buyer and seller. In most cases it’s within the 35 to 55 day window. Understand what the implications may be if you choose a closing date in less than 30 days or more than 60 days. Your agent should be able to provide more guidance.

Town-by-Town Sales Data for 2013

Last week we published some charts showing the direction of the overall single-family market in Hartford County for 2013. The quick summary was that sales activity has been increasing nicely for two years, but median prices have been stuck in a protracted valley.

The data tells a variety of different stories when we zoom in to the individual towns. Before we get there though, a quick disclaimer. It’s difficult to take too strong a position about any single data point without looking more deeply into what is happening in the town. We’re going from 7,000+ data points on the year at the County level down to a small percentage of that number for most towns. With that, here is the table showing each town.

2013 Year End Single-Family Stats by Town

The results are incredibly varied:

  • East Granby saw the deal count increase 44% and the median sales price rise by 9%.
  • The towns with the 2nd through 8th largest increases in deal count had median prices either remain virtually unchanged or decrease.
  • Avon and Granby both exactly matched 2012 in terms of deal count, and both saw the median price rises.
  • Simsbury remained basically unchanged in each metric.
  • Only five towns had their number of successful closings decrease in 2013.
  • Hartland, Marlborough and Farmington were the only three towns with negative deal count growth and negative median price change.

The markets in each town have their own story to tell. In order to understand what’s happening, the mix of homes that sold, and the level of distress in the market, must both be considered. One could imagine that the multiple towns with large increases in deal count but falling median prices were highly impacted by distressed sales.

We have a model that lets us more easily visualize the numbers for each town, organizing the raw sales data into various charts and tables. I doubt we’ll post the charts, there are far too many, so please feel free to reach out to us if you have specific questions about what is going on in a particular town. We are happy to share.