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.

November Contracts: Slowing for the Winter

Single-family contracts fell to 514 in Hartford County for the month of November. The month was about 6% higher than the total from November of 2012, and the year-to-date count remains about 7% ahead of the 2012 pace.

2013-12-04 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in November 2013

Agents we know have commented that there were parts of November when the market seemed suspiciously quiet – like so quiet that they didn’t trust their email was working properly. Despite that, the month ended with a solid deal count, which seems like a good sign.

Barring a dramatic turn of events in December, it appears that the year will end with a modest increase in market activity over 2012. We continue to see deals come together this month, but don’t have a good sense of how active it will be. The weather and the distribution of the various holidays always seems to play a factor.

Next month we’ll take a deeper look into the 2013 full year data to see what trends emerged and what they suggest for 2014. We’ll also investigate pricing data, which we think should only be considered on an annual basis since the mix of homes sold within a particular month or quarter contains a meaningful element of randomness. Annual data also needs to be closely monitored for changes in sales mix, but with the larger number of data points the changes are more likely to mean something.

2013-12-04 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in November 2013 by Town

West Hartford Stats: The Summer Season

July was an active month in the West Hartford single-family real estate market, but not quite as exciting as June. There were 86 closings in July, which was modestly above the 2012 count, and on a year-to-date basis we are about 12% ahead of 2012 in the total number of closed deals.

2013-07 West Hartford Transactions by Month

The statistics can shift a lot over the summer months. Buyers that put properties under contract in the spring close on those deals and move in to their new homes over the summer, so June and July tend to be the peak for closings. At the same time, the number of homes under contract will begin to shrink – there was 158 under contract in June versus 144 right now. The change in the number of active listing is less predictable, and it has remained almost identical to what we reported in June.

The charts below show that the inventory of active listings in the $200,000s has increased since the June report. This is the most active price band in town, and is just below the median sale price for West Hartford MLS deals – the median price in town was pretty consistently right at $300,000 for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

You can find lots of different types of homes with prices in the $200,000s. There are nicely updated smaller homes in many neighborhoods, medium sized homes in very good condition in a few neighborhoods, homes that are a bit dated, and homes that need a complete overhaul.

It’s not yet clear why inventory is increasing in this price band, especially because there is less available in the $100,000s, the $300,000s and the $400,000s than there had been in June. Our guess is that buyers have slowed down on buying homes that need updating. It also looks like there are a few properties in the price band with quirks that will require waiting for the right buyer.

At upper West Hartford price points, sales activity continues to be taking a slower pace. There are many fewer listings with asking prices of $700,000 and the market dynamics are distinctly different.

Overall, West Hartford has had a strong year in 2013, and it will be interesting to see what kind of fall market develops in the coming months.

2013-07 West Hartford Transactions by Price

2013-07 West Hartford Listings Under Contract

2013-07 Active West Hartford Listings

May Contracts: Extending Spring

Hartford County single-family contracts edged up in May to 855 deals, a 1% increase over April of this year.

Hartford County Single Family Contracts in May 2013

More impressively, the month was more that 14% more active than May of last year. The active season extended later into the spring before the deal count plateaued. Through May, the market is more than 7% ahead of the 2012 market in terms of deal count.

Hartford County Single Family Contracts in May 2013 by TownDrilling down into the individual towns, the numbers bounce all over the place. Manchester showed the largest increase in the number of deals, with +32 over May of 2012, and 76 total contracts. Five other towns had double-digit increases in deal count.

West Hartford was the most active market in May, with 102 deals, though the town was actually down slightly from the May 2012 activity level. This result in particular, when combined with the County-wide 14% increase in activity, suggests that we’re seeing more widely distributed market strength in the Greater Hartford region. Last year increased buyer activity was concentrated in specific towns, some of which even saw price increases. This year it feels like more towns are turning the corner towards a recovery, and are seeing the benefits of increased buyer activity – more deals and the potential for rising prices.

Inventory of available homes in the County increased from 5.0 months to 5.4 months, as the number of homes on the market increased from 3,153 to 3,465. South Windsor continues to have the fewest options for buyers, followed by Newington and West Hartford. As agents actively working with buyers in all of these towns, we can confirm that it is difficult to find quality properties for buyers. And when they are listed they can attract interest from multiple buyers, we had a client involved in a bidding war in South Windsor just last week.

As we move into the summer months, we’ll be looking to see how quickly deal activity falls off. The top chart shows that in 2012 it was a gradual decline through August and then a sharper drop through the end of the year. Or will 2013 look more like 2011?