September Contracts: Falling Activity Levels

2021-10-04 Hartford County Single-Family Contracts in September 2021

Hartford County finished the month of September with 921 single-family contracts signed. The result was the first month since February with fewer than 1,000 contracts, and trailed September 2020 by about 12%. On a year-to-date basis the market is about 4% behind the 2020 contract total, yet about 10% ahead of this point in 2019.

The shape of the various trend lines definitely reverted to those of a traditional market, with 2019 being the most relevant comparison. A modest uptick in contracts sometimes happens during the fall, but so far this year we have not seen one. Instead, Greater Hartford appears to be trending gradually downward as we approach the colder months and the end of the year.

Inventory continues to be of particular interest. The total number of single-family homes available in the county ticked upwards again in September, and has almost reached the 1,000 level. Active listings represent about 1 month of inventory, meaning that the market still strongly favors sellers.

2021-10-04 Hartford County Single-Family Inventory in September 2021

The seasonal peak of inventory tends to be sometime in September. New listings continue to come onto the market, thought at a slower pace than in the spring. Buyers also continue to be active, though also less than in the spring. The key reason that inventory tends to fall in the fall is that owners who were unsuccessful in their attempt to sell allow their listing to expire and pull their property off the market.

The chart above shows inventory tailing off during the final quarter of both 2018 and 2019. In both cases inventory finished the year at about the same level as it began the year. Hopefully 2021 will not finish the year at the extreme inventory lows that Greater Hartford saw in the first quarter. We think it is unlikely that inventory will fall below that level – there seemed to be a natural minimum of about 600 active listings that we never broke through.

Our sense is that buyers are still in the market and ready to bid on homes that work for their needs. Extreme bidding wars are less common than they were in the spring. Setting an accurate listing price is more important for sellers than ever. They cannot rely on a wave of buyers to bid the sale price up to the right number if they set the asking too low. And if they set the asking too high they risk no buyers bidding on the property in the first place. Price reductions are more common than they were … which is to say they are happening now when they really weren’t in the spring.

Here are the high level stats for each of the individual municipalities in Hartford County.

2021-10-04 Hartford County Single-Family Contracts in September 2021 by Town