Top-Producing Fairfield County Realtor Specializing in Westport Homes
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Archives from month » December, 2011

Happy Holidays!

Happy Holidays to all!

It looks like there may be reasons to be happy in the new year if you’re in the market to sell and/or buy a home. Two things:

1. Existing home sales in November were +4.4% vs. October and +12.2% vs. November 2010. While prices were down nationwide, they appear to be stablizing locally.

2. Mortgage rates continue to be at historic lows. a 30 year fixed rate mortgage ended last week at 3.94%. An all time record. A 15 year fixed rate mortgage ended at 3.21%. The lowest since Freddie Mac began keeping records. This won’t last forever and potential buyers should consider taking advantage of these rates while they’re here!

Couple these with the apparently improving emploment picture and we could see an accelerating RE market in Q1/Q2 of 2012.

Ho! Ho! Ho! and a very safe and happy New Year to all!

 

 

 

 

 


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Case-Shiller Index

A very good tool for understanding the arc, the trajectory, of the Westport area RE market is the New York Commuter High Tier Index. This is a better tool than the broad Case-Shiller Index.

You can access this by clicking on the link below.

www.standardandpoors.com/home/en/us/

After accessing Standard & Poors, do the following:

1. Under S&P Indices, either type in Case Shiller or scroll down and click on Case Shiller.

2. Click on “Home Price Tiered Index Level”.

3. At the top of the page, click on “New York Commuter”.

4. You’ll see a low, mid, high and total. For most people reading this, the high tier will be most appropriate. This reflects home sales over $453,603.

Based on this, we are currently at May/June 2004 prices. This seems about right. However, we have seen recent sales consistent with 2003 pricing, too.

Again, while not a perfect barometer, it does give a good representation of the trajectory of the Fairfield County RE market. I hope this is helpful.

 

 

 


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Whither Weston?

There’s good news and there’s bad news  regarding the Weston, CT Real Estate market. Like most things, whether you see it as good or bad depends on your point of view. Or, in this case, which side of the Real Estate transaction you’re on.

First, some stats:

Year to date, 12/5, 88 single family homes have closed or are pending in Weston. 62 were less than 1 million. That’s down 15% from 2010. 25 were between 1 and 2 million. That’s down 32%. Only 1 home has sold over 2 million. In 2010, 7 sold. An 85% decline. No home has sold in Weston over 3 million in almost 3.5 years. Total unit sales are down 25% vs. 2010 and a whopping 55% vs. the average unit sales of 2004/2005 which for most towns in Fairfield County were the two best years for unit sales. There’s 12 months of inventory active less than 1 million. 24 months active between 1 and 2 million. There are 21 homes active over 2 million. At the current rate of sale, it’s impossible to predict how long it wil take to clear this invemntory.

Let’s compare this to Westport. 329 single family homes have sold in Westport. 146 were less than 1 million. Down 3% vs. 2010. 136 sold between 1 and 2 million. up 3% vs. last year. 47 have sold over 2 million. Down about 15% compared to 2010. Total unit sales are down a little over 2% vs. 2010 and 34% vs. the average of 2004/2005. There’s 5 months of inventory active below 1 million. 9 months active between 1 nd 2 million. 24 months active over 2 million.

How about Wilton? 168 single family homes have sold YTD. 112 were less than 1 million. Down 3% compared to 2010. 50 were between 1 and 2 million. UP 11% vs. 2010. 6 were over 2 million. This compares very favorably to last year when none sold over 2 million. Total unit sales are UP 4% compared to last year and down a relatively small 18% vs. the average of 2004/2005. There are 11 months of inventory below 1 million. 11 months between 1 and 2 million. 28 months over 2 million.

While there are obviously parts of the Westport/Wilton RE markets that we would all like to be stronger, particularly in comparison to 2004/2005, they look pretty good realtive to Weston.

The questions are:

Why is Weston struggling to this degree?

What does it mean for buyers and sellers?

Why? Everyone I discuss this with has a different overall opinion, but there are commonalities. Some of them are:

As Westport’s prices have come down it’s more affordable relative to Weston. It’s more convenient than Weston. Especially true for commuters to NYC. Westport’s cooler. Subjective for sure, but that’s what some people say. A lack of basic services. Too rural. High taxes. The tax issue is true. At least compared to Westport at a given assessed value. Of course, you have to pay more to get the same house in Westport, so the tax burden may be comparable. Some say that Wilton has been “found”. Wilton offers comparable prices. More services. Can be more convenient for commuting depending on where you’re commuting to. Self fullfilling prophecy. The more sales soften, buyers become even more concerned and more look for alternatives. I don’t know how to weight these, but I’m sure it’s some combination of these and probably others. If you read this and have an opinion, I’d love to hear it.

While we may not know exactly why, we do know what it means for both buyers and sellers. Weston is a great town. Old Connecticut charm. Lovely homes. The right to use Westport’s recreational facilities. Fabulous schools. It’s agreat place to live. Here’s a link to the Weston, CT web site:

http://www.westonct.gov/

If you’re a buyer, there are many great homes available at very affordable prices in every price range. Let’s look at how a fairly average home compares between the towns.

The home is a colonial on a half to 3 acres with 4,000 to 6,000 SF and 4 to 6 BRs, 3 to 5 Full BAs and 1 to 2 Half BAs.

In the last 6 months 7 homes with these characteristics have sold in Weston. 11 in Wilton. 37 in Westport. The average selling price in Weston was $1,056,275 and the median $1,100,000. In Wilton the average was $1,330,909 and the median $1,260,000. In Westport the average was $1,779,794 and the median $1,800,000.

While we’d have to look at each home individually to know with certainty that these numbers are equivalent, they’re probably more alike than not. If so, you’ll pay about 18% more for a home in Wilton and 60% more in Westport. You have to ask, is it really that far to the Westport train station?

Advice to sellers. Your initial List Price price must be razor sharp. Nothing else is more important! Listen to your agent. He or she knows the market and will work with you to develop a price that sells your home in the shortest possible time. “Let’s taking a shot at a high price.” “Let’s give it a try.” “Let’s see what happens.” All of which are said frequently by sellers to agents, will only lengthen the time it takes for your home to sell and ultimately lower the selling price. Unlike wine and cheese, a home on the market doesn’t get better with age!


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Westport GIS

Those of us interested in the Westport, CT Real Estate market have a very powerful tool provided to us by the town of Westport. The Geographic Information System or GIS.

The GIS enables users to do tasks such as:

> Reviewing aerial photos of the town.

> Reviewing property info for boundaries and zoning designations.

> Checking the location of designated wetlands and flood zones.

And, much, much more!

Check it out by using the attached link and then going to the GIS system.

www.westportct.gov


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© 2011 Cathy Blount The Riverside Realty Group, 1254 Post Road East, Westport, CT 06880203-858-8710cathy@cbwestporthomes.com
Licensed Realtor in the state of CTLast updated November 1, 2011
Riverside Realty