I really enjoy gathering and reviewing year-end data from the Greater Hartford real estate market, probably to an unhealthy degree. There is a lot to consider this year, so I’m going to break the analysis into multiple articles. This is Part 1 of the year-end review … let’s reminisce about 2020!
Hartford County experienced a strong increase in the number of single-family real estate transactions during 2020. Our local MLS, called SmartMLS, included 9,907 closed sales during the year. This represented an increase of about 15% over the 2019 total, and record high since 2001 when the predecessor MLS went digital.
Although the monthly contract reports tipped us off that this year would exceed prior totals, it is amazing that it occurred during a global pandemic with an unprecedented spike in unemployment claims. The pandemic environment was apparently very motivating for buyers, as it made them strongly prefer single-family homes. The environment also encouraged the government to try to stimulate the economy, which resulted in historically low mortgage interest rates throughout the year.
Taking the deal count data a step further, the chart below breaks down the year’s closed sales into price bands.
Decreases in the two lowest price bands (<$100,000 and the $100,000s) strongly suggest that prices rose during the year. A homes valued at $190,000 in 2019 (as an example) was probably worth a little more in 2020 and moved up to a higher price band.
There were clear gains in the number of sales in the $200,000s, the $300,000s, the $400,000s, and the $500,000 - $699,999 bands, which reflected the step up in buyer demand for single-family homes throughout the County. There were even modest gains at price points above $700,000, which was a very slow portion of the market in recent years.
Next: The annual look at prices.