June was a busy month for Hartford County real estate. There were 1,139 contracts signed, which is high for normal years but behind the 2020 pace due to pandemic distorts. The better comparison for this year’s data is the 2019 data. The market showed much less of a decline from May than in 2019. Through the first half of the year there were about 8% more single-family deals than in 2019.
Inventory continues to be the largest concern. The chart below shows that the number of single-family homes available at month-end continues to slowly increase. The line follows the trends of 2018 and 2019, with inventory starting the year low and then slowly growing through the summer. A key difference from prior years is that inventory did not grow very much. Since the beginning of the year we have progressed from 0.6 months of inventory to 0.8 months of inventory.
Our anecdotal read of the market is that buyer demand continued to be strong, but not quite as strong as it had been at the beginning of the year. All the buyers who successfully bid on homes are no longer competing for additional homes … they only need one. In addition, we saw some buyers choose to rent instead of buy because they had be settled by a certain date. We saw some buyers who had been focused on our area expand their search to other areas that were less competitive. Finally, some buyers put their search on hold to take a break during the summer. Overall these factors improved the balance between the number of buyers and the number of sellers.
Buyers still need to bid aggressively in order to win most homes. New listings in the hottest sub-markets attract immediate attention and multiple offers. The next aspect of the market to monitor is seller behavior. Spring deals have closed at high prices, setting a new value level for appraisers to use. Will sellers set their asking prices at this new level? And if they do, how will buyers respond? Might the imbalance between buyers and sellers ease?