Archive for the 'Simsbury' Category
Hartford Winterfest features free public ice skating on a new and larger outdoor rink in Downtown Hartford’s Bushnell Park. This year the event runs from Friday, November 23rd, 2012 through Monday, January 21st, 2013.
There are other skating facilities and opportunities in the area too. Here’s a (likely incomplete) list of ones we have found:
Veteran’s Memorial Ice Skating Rink, West Hartford
South Windsor Arena, South Windsor
Newington Arena, Newington
Champions Skating Center, Cromwell
Bolton Ice Palace, Bolton
Enfield Twin Rinks, Enfield
Happy skating, and feel free to send information about other good places to skate and we’ll update this list.
The Hartford County single-family market continued its strong 2012 performance with an October that was more than 26% ahead of October of 2011. Year-to-date, the County is about 24% ahead of last year in terms of the total number of deals.
The Contracts Written by Month chart shows a gradual decline in market activity since the spring. Every year is different, with its own unique pattern, but this one seems pretty easy to interpret. Activity picked up quickly in the spring and remained strong throughout the year, gradually tailing off as winter approached.
Last November shows a downward dip that can be attributed to the Halloween blizzard that knocked out power for about a week in much of the county. We were (fortunately) spared the brunt of the most recent storm, so if it had any impact on the market it would have showed up in the October numbers. Our sense is that the region went into crisis prep mode on Friday 10/26 and didn’t return to business as usual until Tuesday 10/30 when the storm had passed.
We also don’t see evidence that the presidential election had an observable impact on the number of deals. Recall that the hypothesis was that buyers would be distracted by the election and the market would slow down earlier than usual. We do have clients who are very concerned about the election, and one who is explicitly waiting to see what happens before making a bid, but the Hartford County buying public in general was still out in force in October.
Current inventory has dipped below the 6 month level. We don’t remember the last time we saw it this low, and can’t find any market stats posts since the beginning of 2011 (when we began using our current methodology) with a lower number. There are multiple ways that inventory can decrease, but the most common are active buyers putting homes under contract and sellers taking their properties off the market. We know buyers are doing their part, but right now we don’t have a good sense of how the listing side of the market is faring compared to normal seasonal trends. Still, this seems like a positive indicator for the local real estate markets.
Here’s a quick look at how the Hartford County real estate markets performed last month. Closings in October reflect deals negotiated during the summer and fall depending on the amount of time between the contract date and the closing date. The data comes from the Connecticut Multiple Listing Service (CTMLS), which is deemed reliable but not guaranteed.
There was a wide range in the percent change in number of transactions for this October versus last October. Most towns were considerably less active, though there were some positive towns. Glastonbury had 25% more sales than last year (6 deals), while Rocky Hill saw 3 more deals close for a 50% gain. At the other end of the spectrum there were 7 towns in which the number of deals fell by more than 50%. Hartford County overall saw a 38% decrease in the number of transactions for October 2010 versus October 2009.
Part of the reason for the drop in activity was the Federal Home Buyer Tax Credit. Last fall there was a version of the credit scheduled to expire at the end of November, before the program was extended for the final time. Many buyers planning to take advantage of the credit scheduled their closings for October and early November, so the activity this year should be less.
Buyers should have some very good choices in the market, as inventory levels show a buyer’s market for nearly all the towns in the County. The standard benchmark for a buyer’s market is when there is 6 months or more of inventory available. Based on recent activity, only four towns are NOT in a buyer’s market. West Hartford has the least inventory, at 5.3 months, while the other three are each much closer to the 6 month dividing line.
Sellers need to be willing to price their homes attractively if they really want to sell – this isn’t the time to stretch for that extra few thousand dollars. Buyers do have a lot to choose from and seem comfortable taking their time to make a decision. Sellers need to give them a reason to pull the trigger. Make sure the property shows as well as possible and consider touching up any problem areas before putting it on the market.
So who pays the most taxes in Greater Hartford? It’s not as easy to figure out as it might seem. All the talk of revaluations, budgets, and referendums got us thinking about how we could get at that question using the real estate data in the MLS.
We decided to look at all the single family home sales in Hartford County that were input using the Grand List 2009 mill rates. The initial data set had just over 4,000 closed MLS transactions (deemed reliable but not guaranteed) with listing dates between July 1, 2009 and June 19, 2010, which should have been input using the Grand List 2009 mill rates. After eliminating deals with missing data, we ended up with just over 3,800 data points spread across 29 towns.
Next we did some simple calculations and took the median values for everything. Ideally all of this data would have been published in a sortable table embedded in the post, but we couldn’t get it to work right (feel free to send tips or hints). Instead you’re getting the same large table sorted in different ways … our apologies in advance.
The first sort is based on the dollar amount of taxes paid – who wrote the largest checks?
Residents of the more expensive towns wrote the largest checks. Since the values of their homes are the highest, the tax bill – even at a lower tax rate – will he higher.
What if adjust for the home prices? Who pays the highest percentage of their home’s value as taxes each year?
With this adjustment, some towns with low median sales prices have moved to the top of the list, though some of the higher median sales price towns are also paying more than 2% of their home’s value in taxes each year.
Finally, we could adjust for home size to see who pays the most taxes per square foot of house…
This time we see towns with smaller homes and higher median sales prices leading the pack. The results should be very similar to a sales price per square foot calculation. People end up paying the highest taxes per square foot in towns where they also pay the highest purchase prices per square foot.
These results show a slightly different result that simply looking at the mill rates, though the mill rates are helpful as a quick first estimate. Farmington has some of the lowest taxes of the towns with high median sales prices, while Windsor Locks is the least taxed town with low median sales prices.
Last week we gave an overview of the 2011 City of Hartford revaluation. Here’s the revaluation schedule for the rest of the towns in the County.
The process is basically the same everywhere. Towns review all the properties to make sure they have the correct stats – beds, baths, size, etc. Next they gather information on sales and feed all the data into the computer. A value is assigned to each property and the owners are notified – generally in the fall of the revaluation year.
What will happen to my assessment if I improve my property?
While property improvements generally increase the value to your property, they may or may not change the assessment to your property. For example, while replacing a roof covering, a furnace, a water heater or updating your electrical main should have a positive effect on your market value they are not likely to increase your assessment. Landscaping your property should increase its curb appeal and could also increase its value, but would not increase your assessment. There are also improvements that would increase your market value and correspondingly your assessment. Some of these changes include adding central air conditioning, finishing off a basement, building an addition, and possibly remodeling a kitchen or bath(s).
Even after property owners receive their initial letter, they have an opportunity to challenge the new valuation. It usually begins with an informal hearing, which is basically just a meeting in which the owner can present their case. We always advise bringing data to support your argument. If the informal hearing doesn’t produce the desired outcome, then there is a more formal appeals process. This can vary by town, so be sure to check with your assessor to find out the exact process.