February Contracts: Spring is Coming

2017-03-05 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in February 2017

Hartford County finished February with 673 single-family contracts, which was 6.5% fewer deals than February 2016. On a year-to-date basis 2017 is 1.7% behind last year.

The market continues to be very active, and quite competitive. We’re not concerned about February under-performing last year. Two important factors played into the decline. The more important factor was that the inventory of available homes was quite low. As of the March 5th, when we analyzed the data, the 3 months of inventory put the County on the cusp of officially being a seller’s market.

The second, less important, factor was that the market lost a few days because of a significant snow storm. February had 28 days this year, so the 673 contracts resulted in an average of 24 per day. Most school districts cancelled two days because of the big storm. If buyers were snowed in those two days, then that translates to about 48 deals, which is almost exactly the difference between February of this year compared to February of last year.

All signs point to an active spring market for Hartford County. The only caveat is that we’re not yet sure how the upper end of the market will perform. Let us know if you’re interested in a particular town or towns. We’re happy to share a more fine-grained market analysis.

2017-03-05 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in February 2017 by Town

January Contracts: More Buyers than Sellers

2017-02-03 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in January 2017

Hartford County began 2017 with 636 single-family homes going under contract in January. The total represented a 4% increase over the total from January 2016.

The market is currently imbalanced in favor of sellers in most price bands. Because most owners target listing their properties in the “spring market,” the number of available properties does not grow quickly in January. Buyers have been eager to start their home search this year, and are currently outnumbering sellers by a meaningful margin.

Months of Inventory is the metric that we use to compare the activity level of buyers to the number of homes available for sale. Inventory is currently at 3 months, which is a low number for Hartford County. Buyers have even fewer options at price points below $300,000s, which was the strongest portion of the market in 2016.

We are expecting the real estate markets to be active this year, perhaps even building on the gains in the number of deals observed from 2014 to 2015 to 2016. The best opportunities we see right now are for homeowners looking to move up to a larger home. Most markets are much stronger at the lower price point (where the move-up buyer would sell) than they are at the upper price points (where the move-up buyer would buy).

As always, we’re here to help with your real estate needs. Feel free to reach out to us at any point.

2017-02-03 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in January 2017 by Town

December Contracts: Steady Finish

2017-01-04 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in December 2016

The Hartford County single-family market finished 2016 at almost exactly the same activity level as the previous year. The chart above shows the fourth quarter for 2015 and 2016 nearly overlapping.

The vast majority of the 9% increase in 2016’s contracts, compared to 2015’s total, occurred in the first half of the year. There was modest outperformance in August, but the second half of the year was unusually similar.

We traditionally only look at pricing data once per year, in January. Looking at smaller time periods, months or even quarters, is not very useful since the mix of homes that sell is inconsistent. This is especially true in Hartford County, where home prices cover a very broad range. Our view is that a full year’s worth of data is needed to even out the inconsistency.

We’re interested to see whether the increased activity translated into higher prices during the year. Come back for that analysis in a day or two. We want to give agents a little more time to close out all of their deals in the MLS before analyzing the 2016 sales.

Have a Happy New Year! And if you have real estate questions, please feel free to call or write … it’s time to think about spring!

2017-01-04 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in December 2016 by Town

November Contracts: Election 2016


November 2016 finished with 656 single-family home contracts in Hartford County. It was a 5% increase over the November 2015 total, leaving 2016 about 9.5% ahead of the the 2015 pace through eleven months.

As a County that voted for Ms. Clinton by a sizable margin (58% to 31%), the election of Mr. Trump could have been disruptive to the local real estate markets. We’ve been told in the past that real estate activity slows down in the final months of presidential campaigns. A natural extension of this hypothesis is that an unexpected loss by the County’s preferred candidate should also be seen in the sales activity data.

The second half of 2016 was not as active as the first half of the year. However, it is unclear if the slowing pace of deals can be attributed to the election. There was not a precipitous drop in activity at any point as voting day neared. Month-by-month results closely follow last year, which was not an election year. If anything, the consistency in the month deal counts suggests that home buyers didn’t feel the presidential election impacted their real estate activities.

It is so close to the end of the year that we’ll save the detailed data analysis for the year end report. The high level results clearly show that it was a good year for the local real estate markets. 2016 will finish with more sales than 2015.


October Contracts: Mirroring Last Year


There were 752 single-family contracts that came together in Hartford County during October 2016. The total was virtually identical to the October 2015 deal count. Activity in the county is 10% ahead of 2015 on a year-to-date basis, though essentially all the gains were made in the first half of the year.

When breaking down the year-to-date deal count by price band, the trends have evened out considerably. There were three price bands with gains of more than 20% through the end of June. Only the $200,000s stand out in the data through October, with gains of 18%. Most of the other price bands showed gains of about 12% plus or minus a couple percent.

The extreme ends of the pricing spectrum both have fewer deals than at this point in 2015. Contracts on properties with asking prices of less than $100,000 are down about 12%. The reduction is mostly related to a strong pricing environment created by demand for entry level properties. Homes are selling for more than they did last year, in the lower $100,000s instead of below that line.

Sales are down about 10% for homes with asking prices of more than $1,000,000. However, this only corresponds to a difference of four properties, so it’s not clear how meaningful the result actually is.

Trends over the past few months suggest that the real estate markets will experience their traditional winter slowdown. Buyers will still be out shopping for homes, though there will be fewer of them than there were during the warmer months of the year. Sellers need to understand the dynamics of their town and neighborhood markets, and make sure that they price their property correctly for the environment. Feel free to reach out to us with questions, we’re always happy to help.