The first three months of 2016 have been extremely active for the local real estate market. The number of single-family contracts that have been signed in the County is dramatically higher than we have seen in past years.
There were 942 deals that came together in March, which was about 34% higher than March of last year. The County finished the first quarter 26% ahead of the first quarter of 2015.
We’ve been watching the price bands carefully to see how buyer activity is distributed. Most of the activity gains have been in the lower price bands that represent the bulk of the County’s housing stock. The $300,000s are currently showing the biggest gains, with about a 34% year-to-date increase.
The jury remains out on the high end. There are more buyers successfully bidding than there were last year. However, there continues to be much more inventory at the higher price points compared to the lower price points, strongly favoring buyers.
We should have a good sense of where that segment stands by the end of May. At that point most of the sellers will have their homes on the market, and the buyers will have had months to figure out whether asking prices are fair enough to bid.
The Hartford County single-family real estate market finished November with 574 contracts. The total was 7% higher than November 2014, and was 13% ahead of 2014 on a year-to-date basis.
Trends that we have discussed throughout the year continued to hold. Activity grew more strongly at the lower price points, and the inventory of available homes increased as the price point increased. The only price band that experienced fewer deals than in 2014 (on a year-to-date basis) was the $1,000,000+ band, which dropped from 49 contracts to 40 contracts.
We have reached the time of the year when most of the buyers that are out looking for real estate are serious about finding a new place to live. December shoppers are often relocating to the area for jobs, or are making other important life changes. We are seeing both in the market right now.
The unseasonably warm weather should help extend the real estate market further into December. Sellers have been less inclined to pull their homes off the market than in past years when there was already snow on the ground. And casual buyers might be willing to continue their search for another couple weeks since it’s still actually nice to go outside. We will take advantage of the opportunity to hopefully sell some more homes before calling it a year.
Happy holidays everyone, enjoy the season!
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 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.