It’s a balmy 50 degree day as I report on the January contracts. The weather so far in 2016 has not followed traditional winter patterns. One meager snow storm so far, with about 3 inches of snow at our house. It really hasn’t been that cold either.
The real estate market seems to be taking its cues from the weather. There were 611 single-family contracts in Hartford County in January, an 18% increase over last January. If the weather continues to trend on the warm and dry side, then we may be in for an early and active spring real estate season.
Activity has been distributed over all the price bands in a reasonable manner. There are not obvious gaps in the market where buyers and sellers are out of sync. Inventory metrics continue to show more supply at the higher price points, though the overall average is a modest 4.0 months of homes available for sale. More and more homes will come onto the market each month, building inventory totals until buyer activity eventually catches up with sellers in the late spring.
Individual towns showed a lot of variation in activity, as usual. Manchester got off to a strong start. Its 45 contracts is well above their typical January total, and continues a strong run from the end of 2015. Simsbury’s 32 deals is perhaps even more surprising since it is basically equal to the April and May totals from 2015. No towns had an especially bad month, so we’ll keep our fingers crossed that January is a sign that 2016 will be an active real estate year.
The Hartford County single-family market finished December with 529 contracts, an increase of 23% over the 429 observed in December of 2014.
For the full year there were 8.980 total contracts, which was an increase of 14% over 2014. The above chart shows that 2015 outperformed every month of 2014 except January. In general, the first quarter got off to a bit of a slow start because of the regular snow storms.
The weather was more favorable to the real estate market at the end of the year. November and December were especially mild, and although things did slow down a bit in the final months of the year, both were much busier than previous years.
We will publish a more detailed full year review in the coming week(s) based on 2015 closed sales. Year end is the one time when we think it is useful to use data to look at pricing trends. Since that’s the main question people ask us, it will be nice to have some recent data to supplement our anecdotal feel for the market.
Inventory is down right now due to sellers pulling their homes off the market for the holidays. However, we expect things to pick up quickly since we’re seeing a surprising amount of activity from both buyers and sellers. Seems like people are interested in real estate at the moment, so the markets may get an early start if the weather cooperates.
Hartford County had 994 single-family deals come together during the month of June. The total represented an 18% increase over June 2014, and a 5% increase over May of 2015.
Last month we titled our May Contracts post “Peak Spring,” which was proven dramatically incorrect. Numerous towns throughout the county outperformed in June, while very few towns showed meaningful drops in activity compared to June of last year.
On a year-to-date basis, most of the increase in activity was in the $100,000s and the $200,000s. Those two price bands represented 63% of the total contracts so far this year, meaning what those are the buyers and sellers that drive the overall market.
The number of distressed sales remained in line with previous analysis. So far in 2015 about 15% of the contracts have been for properties advertised in the CTMLS as either bank-owned or as short sales.
Inventory levels continued to vary by price band. The overall level of about 6 months is pretty accurate for homes that have asking prices in the $200,000s.
There are fewer listings available at the lower price bands (more favorable to sellers), and more listings available at the higher price bands (more favorable to buyers). Despite the pace of the overall market, it is still very much a buyer’s market for homes with asking prices above $700,000.
Hartford County finished May with 943 single-family home deals coming together. The month was 4% more active than May of 2014, and it took over from April of this year as the most active month since we began tracking contract data in 2009.
May is traditionally the peak month for contracts in the cyclical real estate market, so we expect that the sales pace will begin to slow as we enter the summer months.
Not all the towns in Hartford County were moving full speed ahead in May. In fact, four towns had noticeably fewer deals than than their comparison month of May 2014. Enfield, Hartford, Southington, and West Hartford all showed at least 10 fewer deals than the previous year.
On the other hand, four other towns significantly outperformed their May 2014 comparison month. East Hartford, Glastonbury, Manchester, and South Windsor all reported at least 10 more deals than the previous years. Other towns with smaller real estate markets actually showed greater improvement when looking at the percent change.
Inventory increased to 6 months worth of homes on the market, up from 5.2 in the April report. This suggests that the pace of new listings was even greater than the pace of buyers and sellers agreeing to contracts. The MLS shows 1,626 Hartford County single-family properties with a May listing date. As a point of comparison, there are a total of 4,105 active listings.
This post and beam Cape offers dramatic soaring ceilings and a flexible, open floor plan.
Tucked away on 1.6 acres, the house is a private retreat, yet close to Canton’s amenities. The living room and dining room spaces, with double sided brick fireplace, connect to the updated kitchen with granite counters and stainless steel appliances. The kitchen and an adjacent sitting room walk out to the tiered deck, overlooking the secluded backyard.
The master bedroom suite features a spa bathroom with finished loft space and an office. Two additional bedrooms and a full bathroom complete the main floor.
The lower level has the laundry room, unfinished space which could easily be finished, a walkout to the yard and an oversized 2×2 tandem garage which provides an extraordinary amount of storage space or work shop area.
29 Morgan Road is offered at $360,000. If you’d like to see this property, please have your agent arrange a showing or call me at 860-655-2125 to schedule a visit. More details and a photo tour are available.