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Closing Comments -- 1st Quarter 2017

Marion Filley

Marion began her real estate career in 1989 and has since become a prominent agent in the New Canaan area...

Marion began her real estate career in 1989 and has since become a prominent agent in the New Canaan area...

Feb 8 3 minutes read
 March marked the end of the first quarter and the third month in a row where sales equaled or outpaced 2016. The growth for the month was over 12%. While the median price dipped over $235,000; the average was down $220,000. Inventory ticked up from last month to 177 single family houses. However, that is 12% below last April 1st’s record setting level. (Average price is up $100,000, but that is attributable to 144 Huckleberry Hill coming back on the market for $22,000,000.)

With the first quarter now finished, the year-to-date numbers start to become indicators for the year. The numbers of homes sold has risen surprisingly close to 70%. At the same time, the median sale is down 14.6%. While it is not unexpected that there would be a lower median with this large an increase in units, a differential of $125,000 is noteworthy. The average price lost ground in March, the year-to-date is a small loss of 1.3% ($12,500). On the positive side, the total revenue is up a whopping 67%.

There are trends that bear watching. Just under 30% of the sales through the first quarter were $1,000,000+ only 15% of the homes under agreement/under contract are over $1,000,000. The uncertainties of the current economy have pushed a large number of people into the market and some well-priced houses are seeing multiple offers in lower price ranges. Mortgage rates have slipped back slightly even with prime rising but that could vary week-by-week. The chart below illustrates how other towns are performing (the large increase in sales in New Canaan is not surprising after their close to a 25% drop in sales last year). Finally, the possibility of a “buyer’s conveyance tax” is being considered in the state legislature. (House Bill 6926 would allow municipalities to add up to a 1% conveyance tax to be paid by the buyer on sales over $150,000.) Everyone should write their representative in opposition to a levy that could have a significant impact on buyers’ attitudes.  

A Look At The First Quarter
The chart below is an interesting look at the real estate markets for Wilton and surrounding towns. While the first quarter is not always indicative of the whole year, it is clear that the end of 2016 into January of 2017 prompted a large number of buyers to make their buying decisions.Only one town (Stamford) saw a decline in Single Family purchases. Others--Wilton and New Canaan in particular--saw unusually large spikes in the number of purchases (given the time to close most of those offers were made in the end after the election).
The universal red ink in the average column is less of a concern for towns with double digit gains in number of sales as a decrease in average, and often median, tends to accompany higher sales volume. This chart becomes much more valuable as we move into the third quarter of the year.

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