Noticeably low inventory levels and few new listings led to a quiet October in the Hartford County real estate market, effectively accelerating the winter slowdown by a couple months. The County finished with 658 single-family contracts, which was 30% fewer than the October 2021 total of 948. On a year-to-date basis the County was trailing last year by about 20%.
Once again, the total number of contracts for the month closely followed the number of new listings. The 682 new listings in October were in line with the September 2022 total, but well below the October 2021 total of 872. We looked at the number of active listings in more detail recently, which were also on the extreme low end. With neither strong carryover inventory of active listings, nor strong new listing activity, buyers didn’t have a lot of options.
The current market feels like a time when both buyers and sellers are taking a pause to regroup. There continues to be a lot of uncertainty in the overall economy, and more importantly how the Fed and others will try to manage the economy. There are also a number of headwinds for buyers (higher prices, higher mortgage interest rates, etc) that make it less appealing to just go for a purchase even if they are not seeing a property that they love.
Despite ramping down earlier than normal, 2022 should still be considered a good real estate year. Through October the market strongly outperformed all the years in the early 2010s, and is only slightly trailing the strong years in the second half of that decade.
We should also note that there continue to be opportunities even though activity is lower than normal. Sellers can take advantage of fewer competing listings. Buyers who are paying close attention can find interesting homes before the casual shoppers notice they are available. It’s all about knowing the current state of the market and what it takes to succeed.