Hartford County finished March with 984 single-family contracts, a 2.3% increase over March of 2016. The slight outperformance brought the year-to-date contract total to within one deal of the first quarter of 2016.
The market continues to be very active, with strong demand from buyers. The County-wide market is on the verge of being a seller’s market, which is traditionally defined as having less than 3 months of inventory. In general, sellers have an advantage at low price points and buyers have an advantage at high price points. However, people actually in the market looking to buy or sell need to look closely into the dynamics of the individual towns, price points, or both, to get a true picture of their situation.
The count of active listings for this time of year is down compared to recent years. The MLS reported 2,471 active single-family homes in Hartford County when I downloaded data a few days ago. Last year at this time there were 3,178. There were 3,188 in 2015.
Since the number of deals is virtually identical to last year, but the number of active listings is about 22% lower, it seems safe to conclude that the “problem” is on the supply side. Meaningfully fewer owners have listed their property for sale this spring, limiting the supply of available homes.
Too few listings is a great problem for property owners. It gives people thinking about a move some comfort that there will be buyers interested in their home. Hopefully the favorable dynamics will allow them to sell for a good price. We’ve been telling our seller clients to consider getting their home onto the market sooner rather than later.
If you’re considering a sale, we would love to have a chance to interview for your listing and provide a more in-depth analysis about your situation. Feel free to reach out to us at any point.
Finally, I should note that the table showing the number of contracts by town has been updated to include the year-to-date totals. Monthly results can be quite volatile, especially for the smaller towns. Adding the deal total over a longer time period should give a better sense of what is happening in each town’s market.
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.
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.
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!
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.