Hartford County began 2017 with 636 single-family homes going under contract in January. The total represented a 4% increase over the total from January 2016.
The market is currently imbalanced in favor of sellers in most price bands. Because most owners target listing their properties in the “spring market,” the number of available properties does not grow quickly in January. Buyers have been eager to start their home search this year, and are currently outnumbering sellers by a meaningful margin.
Months of Inventory is the metric that we use to compare the activity level of buyers to the number of homes available for sale. Inventory is currently at 3 months, which is a low number for Hartford County. Buyers have even fewer options at price points below $300,000s, which was the strongest portion of the market in 2016.
We are expecting the real estate markets to be active this year, perhaps even building on the gains in the number of deals observed from 2014 to 2015 to 2016. The best opportunities we see right now are for homeowners looking to move up to a larger home. Most markets are much stronger at the lower price point (where the move-up buyer would sell) than they are at the upper price points (where the move-up buyer would buy).
As always, we’re here to help with your real estate needs. Feel free to reach out to us at any point.
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.
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 just completed the most active month in years, narrowly edging out May 2014. The single-family deal count represented a 17% increase over the number of deals observed last April, and on a year-to-date basis the County was about 10% ahead of 2014.
Earlier in the year we noted that people seem more interested in real estate than they had in quite a while. These numbers begin to quantify the anecdotal observations. Closings, as they happen in May, June, and July, will be the final confirmation of just how the spring compares. So far, so good.
Looking at the individual price bands, much of the increased activity came from the most active parts of the market. There was a 22% jump in the number of contracts for homes with asking prices in the $200,000s, which represented 132 more deals than the year-to-date count in 2014. Increases were closer to the high single digits in most of the other price bands.
Contracts traditionally peak in either April or May. The spring peak has been May for the past several years … which suggests the County could do even more deals this month? At this point we have not seen any warning signs to make us think the market will slow down, so we’ll just have to wait and see.