The Hartford County single-family home market turned in another strong month in October. A total of 758 contracts came together during the month, which was nearly 18% higher than October of 2014.
On a year-to-date basis, there have been over 13% more deals through the first 10 months of this year versus last year. The chart above shows that the outperformance has increased since June.
The lower price points continue to show more activity than the upper price points. The lower price points also have the least inventory, meaning they are more favorable to sellers.
The general consensus from conversations with other agents is that the market is slow at the upper price points. The data shows that the upper price points are actually more active year-over-year, but that inventory numbers are higher. The issue is not that there are fewer buyers, it’s that there are more sellers competing against each other.
November is the month when the real estate markets turn the corner into winter, so the number of deals will trend downwards. This time of year is a pretty good time to be a buyer, and a great time to start thinking about 2016. Feel free to call or write with any real estate questions – we’re happy to help in any way we can.
It’s been a few months since we published an update on contract activity, and the local markets were rather active over that time.
Hartford County finished September with 739 single-family contracts, an increase of about 17% over September of 2014. It was the fourth month in a row of strong outperformance. On a year-to-date basis the County is about 800 deals and 13% ahead of where it was at this point of last year.
Year-over-year outperformance is spread across most of the price bands, with only $1+ million homes showing a decrease in deal count in 2015. However the lower price points, where the vast majority of the County’s deal take place, are the most impressive.
The lower price points are also the most favorable to sellers, with the fewest available listings. Inventory levels rise with asking prices. There is only about 2.3 months of inventory for single-family homes with asking prices of less than $100,000. The metric jumps to 4.4 months for the $100,000s; 6.2 months for the $200,000s; 7.5 months for the $300,000s; and 8.3 months for the $400,000s. Above $500,000 inventory is consistently above 10 months, and it continues to rise with the price point.
2015 has not been equally good to all the towns in Hartford County. There are two towns in which the year-to-date contract totals are actually down from 2014. Many of the larger towns are showing single digit growth. At the other end of the spectrum, Granby has 54% more activity this year than last year. Its activity increase of +51 contracts puts it in direct competition for biggest jump in deals with much larger County towns. Go Granby!
Hartford County finished the month of March with 726 single-family home contracts, an increase of 6.3% over March of 2014. There continues to be excitement and energy around the real estate markets. Buyers are out in force, and seem confident about bidding on homes.
On a year-to-date basis, the price bands of $100,000s and the $200,000s have shown strong outperformance over the first quarter of last year. There have been 6.8% more deals for homes with asking prices in the $100,000s, and an impressive 23.4% more deals for homes with asking prices in the $200,000s.
At 4.8 months of inventory, the number of homes available for sale is in line with what we have reported for the beginning of April in past years. Listings will continue to come onto the market over the coming months, as April and May are usually the months with the highest number of contracts signed.
Contract data continues to vary significantly within the County. Windsor Locks had a very strong first quarter, finishing with a 40% increase in the number of deals. It is also the town with the lowest inventory level by a large amount … it’s apparently a good time to be a seller in Windsor Locks.
The month of October finished with 643 single-family homes going under contract in Hartford County. The total was a slight increase from the previous month, and a slight decrease from October of 2013.
The real estate markets continue to plug along without much flash or excitement. Inventory levels declined since the September report. At 6.4 months worth of homes available, the markets are very slightly into buyer’s market territory (6+ months of homes available). The decline in inventory seems mostly related to fewer homeowners listing/keeping their home for sale rather than a change in the pace of deal activity.
November is the month in the year when market typically begins to go into its winter slowdown. Casual buyers focus on other activities, and would-be sellers are more aggressive about removing their properties from the market. The holidays, beginning with Thanksgiving, play a big part in these decisions.
A meaningful amount of snow and extended cold spells also slow down activity in a hurry. Fortunately, we have not had to deal with either yet this year. From our point of view as agents, the darkness is also a problem. Basically all after-work showings are in the dark now that we have lost an hour of evening light. Since most buyers work during the day, this forces their home search onto the weekend.
November is also the time of the year when homeowners considering a spring sale begin to prepare their home for the market. Most properties benefit from a proactive approach, whether there are repairs to be done or it’s more a matter of cleaning out and staging.
We are ready, willing, and able to advise on those matters. Don’t be shy about reaching out for help; we can work with you throughout the process. We act as a resource and consultant during the preparations, and then take the lead in developing and executing a marketing strategy. Our ultimate goal is to make sure everything goes smoothly, and to help you get the highest possible value for your home.
The Hartford County single-family home market began 2014 with 519 contracts in January. The total was more than 4% lower than January of last year, though still higher than any other year since our data began in 2009.
January was the longest cold stretch that we can remember in Greater Hartford. There have been brief deep freezes, but our experience in the area is that the temperature rarely falls below 20 degrees for long. This winter temperatures of less than 20 degrees have been a regular occurrence.
We believe that the cold weather is keeping the market from looking ahead to spring. The deal count is currently being limited by the low number of homes that are available for sale. Owners who are looking to move are delaying their listing decisions, which has a ripple effect on buyers. The inventory column in the bottom chart shows that the options for buyers are very limited. And many of the homes that are available have been on the market since last year.
Supply and demand dynamics favor sellers in many towns. The weather may be limiting the number of buyers actively searching for a home, but there are still enough buyers in the market to create opportunities for sellers. Homes that are in very good condition, and that are priced appropriately, are attracting the most attention. Our buyer clients have been involved in competitive situations for properties, and we’re hearing from other agents that they’re seeing bidding wars as well.
This may be a good opportunity for owners who are looking to move to get their property on the market. We’re happy to share our thoughts on the particulars of a home, and can also help out in other ways as part of our advisory services. Only time will tell when the spring market truly starts. Now that we’re in February there seems to be a snow storm each week … another winter challenge for the local real estate markets.