February Contracts: Spring is Coming

2017-03-05 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in February 2017

Hartford County finished February with 673 single-family contracts, which was 6.5% fewer deals than February 2016. On a year-to-date basis 2017 is 1.7% behind last year.

The market continues to be very active, and quite competitive. We’re not concerned about February under-performing last year. Two important factors played into the decline. The more important factor was that the inventory of available homes was quite low. As of the March 5th, when we analyzed the data, the 3 months of inventory put the County on the cusp of officially being a seller’s market.

The second, less important, factor was that the market lost a few days because of a significant snow storm. February had 28 days this year, so the 673 contracts resulted in an average of 24 per day. Most school districts cancelled two days because of the big storm. If buyers were snowed in those two days, then that translates to about 48 deals, which is almost exactly the difference between February of this year compared to February of last year.

All signs point to an active spring market for Hartford County. The only caveat is that we’re not yet sure how the upper end of the market will perform. Let us know if you’re interested in a particular town or towns. We’re happy to share a more fine-grained market analysis.

2017-03-05 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in February 2017 by Town

2016 Single-Family Sales by Town

The other day I posted the County level stats for sales activity and pricing. The big picture view gives a good sense of high level trends, but doesn’t provide much insight into the markets of individual towns. The reality of Greater Hartford real estate is that each town is its own market, and there can be very different dynamics at play.

Here is a summary chart showing the activity and price changes in each of Hartford County’s towns. This continues to be for single-family homes, which represent the majority of the housing stock in most towns.

2017-01-06 Hartford County Single Family Sales in 2016 by Town

How did your town do last year? If you’re interested, send me a quick note at KyleB@KyleB-RE.com and I can send you our town report to get deeper into the data.

2016 Hartford County Single-Family Sales Data

2016 was another good year for Hartford County real estate. It was the second year in a row that showed growth in the number of closed deals. The total number of single-family sales recorded in the Connecticut Multiple Listings Service (CTMLS) database was 8,515 (as of 1/6/2017).

2017-01-06 Hartford County Single Family Sales

The number of closed sales increased by 10.6% over the 2015 total. As the above chart shows, the market has returned to the activity levels seen in the early 2000s. Last year’s sales total was only about 6% below the 2005 peak.

The increase in sales was not been equally distributed across price bands. Most of the increases in 2016 were in the middle price points of the $200,000s and $300,000s. However, on a percentage basis, the price points between $400,000 and $1,000,000 also showed good growth.

2017-01-06 Hartford County Single Family Sales by Price Band

Year end is the only time that we look at pricing trends. The chart below updates the annual calculation of median and average home prices. For the first year in quite some time, the median and average sales prices both increased. It’s difficult to tell from the high level charts, but the pricing gains were concentrated in the lower price points. Sellers at the upper price points still struggled with more supply than demand.

2017-01-06 Hartford County Single Family Prices

The market is now well into the recovery phase, and is showing the first signs of upward price movement in quite some time. We’re looking forward to seeing what 2017 brings. Feel free to reach out to us if you have questions or would like more information.

December Contracts: Steady Finish

2017-01-04 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in December 2016

The Hartford County single-family market finished 2016 at almost exactly the same activity level as the previous year. The chart above shows the fourth quarter for 2015 and 2016 nearly overlapping.

The vast majority of the 9% increase in 2016’s contracts, compared to 2015’s total, occurred in the first half of the year. There was modest outperformance in August, but the second half of the year was unusually similar.

We traditionally only look at pricing data once per year, in January. Looking at smaller time periods, months or even quarters, is not very useful since the mix of homes that sell is inconsistent. This is especially true in Hartford County, where home prices cover a very broad range. Our view is that a full year’s worth of data is needed to even out the inconsistency.

We’re interested to see whether the increased activity translated into higher prices during the year. Come back for that analysis in a day or two. We want to give agents a little more time to close out all of their deals in the MLS before analyzing the 2016 sales.

Have a Happy New Year! And if you have real estate questions, please feel free to call or write … it’s time to think about spring!

2017-01-04 Hartford County Single Family Contracts in December 2016 by Town

August Contracts: Hot Summer

hartford county single-family contracts in august 2016

Hartford County finished the month of August with 855 single-family contracts. The total was an increase over the prior month, and a return to significant outperformance over the prior year. On a year-to-date basis, 2016 is about 12% ahead of 2015 in terms of the total number of contracts signed.

The August result makes the July data point look like the outlier. This year had been consistently more active than last year beginning right away in January, and continuing through June. Although the gap narrowed considerably in June, it was unusual strength in June 2015 that closed the gap rather than weakness in June 2016.

It was somewhat surprising that the August contract total exceeded the July total, but not unprecedented. Since we began tracking contracts using this methodology in 2009, there have been 2 other years in which August was more active than July, and one year in which they finished with the same number of deals.

Real estate markets are active in the summer months, as August showed, despite being after the “spring market” has ended. We think of the market as being pretty consistently active from March into November. Casual home buyers are less inclined to think about real estate over the darker and colder winter months, and especially during the holiday season at the end of the year. But otherwise there are usually buyers looking for homes.

The “spring market” builds on the baseline activity level with a combination of pent up demand that formed over the winter, and the subset of buyer and sellers that scheduled their transactions to coincide with the end of the school year. The magnitude of the “spring market” varies from town to town, and from neighborhood to neighborhood. There are more buyers and sellers active in the spring, but it’s a mistake to think that the spring is the only time it’s possible to buy or sell a home.

hartford county single-family contracts in august 2016 by town