WH Real Estate News: Feb 2017

The West Hartford real estate market performed well through the first two months of the year. The number of closed sales totaled 90, which was about 9% more than 2016’s total through February. It was strongest start to the year since 2007, which also had 90 deals in the first two months.

West Hartford Month February 2017

The Transactions by Price chart shows that over the past 12 months most of the increase in sales activity was between $200,000 and $499,999. These homes represent the core housing stock in town, and they drove median prices up about 3% in 2016.

West Hartford Price February 2017

You’ll notice that there was about a 17% decline in the number sales that closed in the $100,000s. The decline reflects a strengthening price environment at the low end of the market. Homes that in previous years were selling below $200,000 are now worth more, and many are selling in the next highest price band.

West Hartford Active February 2017

The Active Listings chart shows how many options buyers have in each of the price bands. However, the more interesting information is the ratio of the available listings to the number of sales over the past 12 months.

Consider the 44 active listings shown for the $200,000s, which is the highest count of all the price bands. Because that price band is so active, with 265 sales over the past 12 months, that only represents enough available listings for 2 months of sales. We refer to that price band as having 2 months of inventory. The $200,000s, and all the other price bands below $500,000, are markets that favor sellers. Properties that are in good shape, and that are marketed well, have an opportunity to generate considerable interest.

Inventory levels increase as the price point increases, but that doesn’t mean sellers are out of luck. West Hartford homes that are priced appropriately tend to sell. That’s one of the nice things about the town’s real estate market.

Although we like to let the data inform our opinions about the market, we also pay close attention to the day-to-day in town. We’re seeing bidding wars on nicer properties on a regular basis. The market is currently limited by the relatively few homes available in the lower and middle price points. We are expecting a strong spring real estate market in West Hartford.

Amy & Kyle Bergquist are residential real estate agents based in West Hartford Center. Reach out to us at any time for a free consultation – we would love to help you buy or sell a home!

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

2016 Single-Family Sales by Town

The other day I posted the County level stats for sales activity and pricing. The big picture view gives a good sense of high level trends, but doesn’t provide much insight into the markets of individual towns. The reality of Greater Hartford real estate is that each town is its own market, and there can be very different dynamics at play.

Here is a summary chart showing the activity and price changes in each of Hartford County’s towns. This continues to be for single-family homes, which represent the majority of the housing stock in most towns.

2017-01-06 Hartford County Single Family Sales in 2016 by Town

How did your town do last year? If you’re interested, send me a quick note at KyleB@KyleB-RE.com and I can send you our town report to get deeper into the data.

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.