February Contracts: An Active Start to 2016

Hartford County Single Family Contracts in February 2016

February 2016 strongly outperformed 2015 in terms of Hartford County single-family contracts. There was a 24% jump in activity versus the prior year, putting the year-to-date tally at nearly 22% ahead of 2015.

Last month we noted that the mild January weather may have played a role in the real estate market’s strong start. Cold weather arrived almost immediately after we pushed published that story, yet the lower temperatures did not discourage buyers. Pleasant weather is never going to hurt the real estate market, but it doesn’t seem to be driving it either.

Just about all the price points we track have experienced gains in contract activity in 2016. The one exception is the set of properties with asking prices of less than $100,000. There have been 2% fewer contracts on those homes. During 2015, 60% of the homes that went under contract with an asking price of less than $100,000 were bank-owned. The decrease in contracts for properties in this price band could be a sign that the price floor on bank-owned homes is rising.

As we begin to get into the traditional spring market, we’ll start to look more carefully at the upper price points. The data we have so far is promising, but the raw number of deals is still too small to draw any strong conclusions. Hopefully sellers at the upper price points will have a better experience in 2016.

Hartford County Single Family Contracts in February 2016 by Town

January Contracts: Where’s Winter?

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.

Hartford County Single Family Contracts in January 2016

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.

Hartford County Single Family Contracts in January 2016 by Town

December Contracts: Sunny and Warm

The Hartford County single-family market finished December with 529 contracts, an increase of 23% over the 429 observed in December of 2014.

Hartford County Single Family Contracts in December 2015

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 Single Family Contracts in December 2015 by Town

October Contracts: Fall Market Peak

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.

2015-11-06 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in October 2015

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.

2015-11-06 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in October 2015 by Town

June Contracts: Bonus Spring

2015-07-02 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in June 2015

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.

2015-07-02 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in June 2015 by Town