FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- First-quarter market reports released Tuesday from William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty and Prudential Connecticut Realty indicate that recent improvements in the Fairfield County real estate market are continuing steadily into 2013.
Pending and closed sales continued to climb gradually in the first quarter of 2013, while inventory and days on market are dropping, and prices remained stable.
“The positive signs for Connecticut’s real estate market are very evident and there is good momentum in the marketplace,” Candace Adams, CEO and President of Prudential Connecticut Realty , said in a statement.
William Pitt Sotheby’s President and CEO Paul E. Breunich said, “If first quarter 2013 pending sales are any indication, we should experience a very strong 2013 relative to recent years.”
As for sales prices remaining steady, this is to be expected, said Rick Higgins, the chairman and founder of the Higgins Group .
"It's a cycle. It could take a good three or four years to see an increase in prices," Higgins said.
Single-family home sales were up 15% over the same period last year. Condominiums outpaced that, with a 17% increase in sales levels versus the same period a year ago.
Pending sales were particularly strong in Fairfield County, which experienced a 110% increase in pending sales for the month of March year over year, William Pitt Sotheby’s reported. Correspondingly, Realtors reported increased showings in the first quarter.
And as the housing activity picks up, available inventory is on the decline, particularly among homes priced at under $1 million. In Fairfield County the inventory of single family homes declined 16% from the first quarter of 2012 and is 21% below the past three year average.
The luxury market remained unchanged across the county as a whole, Prudential reported. Greenwich was a bright spot, though with sales, up 23.3% over the first quarter of 2012. Median prices dropped 4.5%, however, to $3,497,419.
This is apparently inspiring potential buyers. "All of a sudden we're seeing more expensive homes on the market," Higgins said. His firm currently has 20 or so homes priced at $3 million and up. "That is a good sign of confidence," he said.
Overall, the market is heading in the right direction after some difficult years.
“It appears as though there is good momentum, and with record low interest rates and stabilized prices, it is the best time to get into the housing market,” Prudential Connecticut Realty’s report states.
Both reports indicated that confidence is up among both buyers and sellers. William Pitt Sotheby’s attributed this to three factors:
- Fairfield County residents are feeling more stable in their jobs
- After five years of market declines it is generally accepted that the market won’t go lower, and buyers in some segments feel there is some risk that prices may start to rise as demand outpaces supply
- Low prices coupled with low interest rates have greatly enhanced affordability
Higgins said sellers are still cautious, but that things are looking up. He made this comparison: "Five or six years ago you never heard the term 'short sale.' Now we hear 'multiple offers' more than we hear 'short sale.' "
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