1 Arnold Drive, Bloomfield

1 Arnold Drive, Bloomfield

Looking for lots of space, a fantastic floor plan, and plenty of updates? 1 Arnold Drive is the place for you. This five bedroom, two and a half bath colonial is located on a cul-de-sac in a quiet neighborhood and backs to the Wintonbury Land Trust, so privacy and natural habitats abound.

The first floor has so much to offer including an updated kitchen with stainless steel appliances, cherry cabinets, granite counters, and eat-in space for a large table. There is an oversized family room with built-ins, a hearth with wood burning stove, and sliders leading to the backyard, paver patio, and deck. A formal living room and dining room are perfect entertaining spaces. Additionally, there is an office with another wood burning stove. The dedicated mudroom and laundry room provides abundant storage and connects to the 2-car attached garage. The first floor is completed with an updated powder room.

Upstairs, the oversized master bedroom features a remodeled en-suite bathroom with tile flooring and pretty tiled shower. Down the hall, there are four additional bedrooms and a full hallway bathroom.

The fenced backyard is level and perfect for gardening, grilling, play, or just relaxing on the deck and patio.
If you’re looking for space and minimal work in a lovely setting, come see your new home!

1 Arnold Drive is offered at $319,900. If you’d like to see this home, please have your agent arrange a showing or call Amy at 860-655-2125 to schedule a visit. More details are available.

47 Bath Crescent Lane, Bloomfield

47 Bath Crescent - Family Room

Move right in to this bright end unit in the Balbrae community. The formal living room, with fireplace, opens to a private elevated deck. Enjoy the updated kitchen with stone counters, butler’s pantry, and elegant dining room with wainscoting. A first floor den with gas fireplace and built-ins is a terrific place to work or relax.

Retreat upstairs to a spacious master bedroom with en-suite full bath and walk-in closet. The finished lower level features a large family room (shown above) that walks out to a patio. The fourth bedroom, a full bath, and laundry are on the lower level.

The heat pump and hot water heater were replaced in 2013. The home has central air, an attached 2 car garage, a quiet location at back of the community. Balbrae’s amenities include swimming and tennis, and the community is adjacent to the MDC trail system.

47 Bath Crescent is offered at $275,000. If you’d like to see this property, please have your agent arrange a showing or call me at 860-655-2922 to schedule a visit. More details and a photo tour are available.

2013 Year End Data Review

Most of the year we avoid looking at prices when we analyze market statistics. Considering only a month’s (or even quarter’s) worth of data is risky because the sample size is too small, while making a more sophisticated model to account for the small sample size is beyond our abilities. However we are comfortable looking at a full year of data, and now that the calendar has turned over to 2014 we can look back on the past year to see what happened.

First, we noticed that real estate activity increased during the year. The number of closed transactions in 2013 was about 12% higher than in 2012. Deal count continues to be well below the consistent trend line that was established in the early 2000s, so there appears to be room for activity to increase even further.

2014-01-09 Hartford County Single-Family Transaction 2013

We also noticed that median prices have not shown nearly as much strength over the past two years as the activity levels. In 2013 the median single-family sales price rose less than 1% over 2012, and remains just below the median sales price for 2011.

2014-01-09 Hartford County Single-Family Prices 2013

Pricing traditionally lags behind deal count in the real estate market. We saw this clearly at the top of the market, where prices continued to rise in 2006 and 2007 even though the deal count peaked in 2005 and was already falling quickly. The bottom of the market appears to be following this same trend, with prices more or less stable since 2009.

The Hartford County single-family home market has many individual town markets, and even neighborhood markets, that are all recovering at their own pace. We see some towns that are well into a recovery, with price appreciation. Other towns are struggling to find a bottom and buyers have an opportunity to really negotiate on price for their choice of homes. 2014 will continue this dispersion trend – the differences in the individual markets are likely to increase this year.

The most difficult part of interpreting median price changes is understanding how the mix of homes sold at the various price points impacts the final result. Hartford County has an active single-family market at a very wide range of prices, from less than $100,000, all the way into the millions of dollars. The number of closed deals increased in all of the categories except the $1MM+ bucket.

2014-01-09 Hartford County Single-Family Price Bands 2013

We know that bank-owned homes continued to be listed and sold in 2013. However, it is difficult to know the exact number because not all agents mark them properly in the CTMLS. It appears that at least 787 of the closed single-family deals in 2013 were bank-owned, which represents about 11% of the overall market. There were an additional 332 deals that the listing agent described as a “potential short sale,” bringing the total distressed sale percentage up to nearly 16% of the overall market.

Our view is that high-quality homes are attractive to buyers and seeing rising prices. At the same time, an active distressed market, with associated distressed prices, is putting downwards pressure on properties that are not in top condition. Buyers looking to update a home are more likely to go after the cheaper bank-owned property than a non-distressed house of the same quality.

We expect the local real estate markets to continue to improve in 2014. We’ll postpone our detailed predictions for now, but the big-picture trends are positive in Hartford County. Please let us know if you have specific questions about your town/property – we’re happy to help. Next week we’ll provide specific, town-by-town data for Hartford County.

October Contracts: The Fall Market Arrives

The fall market that we were expecting to see, and then wrote off when it didn’t turn up, magically appeared in October. There were 678 contracts written during the month, which is a 15% increase over October of 2012 and a meaningful step up in activity from last month.

Hartford County Single Family Contracts in October 2013

Contract data at the individual town level continued to bounce around. Bloomfield and Bristol had big reversals of fortune from the September report, showing just how inconsistent small sample sizes can be. In addition to those two towns, Glastonbury, Manchester, New Britain, Suffield and West Hartford all had double-digit increases in the number of contracts that came together in the year-over-year comparisons.

What will November bring? This is typically the month when there is a sharp decline in contracts as buyers and sellers turn their attention to the holidays. Will the October excitement spill over into November? And this year Thanksgiving is very late in the month – will that mean a smaller decline?

Hartford County Single Family Contracts in October 2013 by Town

August Contracts: A Late Summer Breather

Single-family contracts dropped to 694 for the month of August, which is a continued fall-off from the spring peak yet still outpacing the 2012 results. On a year-to-date basis the 2013 deal count is about 8% ahead of where we were in 2012 as of the end of August.

Hartford County Single Family Contracts in August 2013

From an agent’s point of view, the market felt quiet in August. Deals still came together, but the pace was noticeably slower than it had been earlier in the summer. Our broker’s theory is that for the first time in years people had enough money to actually leave town for a vacation (rather than taking stay-cations) and so there just wasn’t a lot going on in August.

Hartford County Single Family Contracts in August 2013 by TownThe last week of the month saw an uptick in calls and general inquiries, though it was still a mixed bag for showings and writing contracts. We think this signals an increase in activity for the coming months and a more defined “fall market” than we have seen in the past few years. Looking at the chart at the top of the page, we have recently been seeing a peak in contracts signed in May and then a gradual decline into the winter months. This could be the first year in a while that shows a secondary peak in the September and October months before the market shuts down for the year.

Town by town data shows that August was quite erratic. Many towns saw a sharp decrease in activity versus 2012, while others showed a meaningful increase. Without digging deeper into the data it is difficult to know why a town experienced a dramatic swing. For example, West Hartford had 19 more deals this year than last year, while Bloomfield had 17 fewer deals. In both cases it turns out that the August 2012 number is the outlier – it was West Hartford’s worst month of the year and Bloomfield’s best month of the year. Which is odd since August is rarely the best or worst month when looking at the traditional seasonality of the market.

Inventory is climbing at the county level, up from 6.2 to 6.9 since July 2013. Recall that this metric is the number of months that it would take to sell all the active listings at the current pace of contracts. Results in the 3 through 6 month range are considered a neutral market. Under 3 months of inventory is a seller’s market, while more than 6 months of inventory is a buyer’s market. So the county overall is trending back into buyer’s market territory. As always, individual buyers and sellers need to consider the dynamics of their particular sub-markets before deciding on their strategy. There are still sub-markets in Greater Hartford that favor sellers.