Closing Comments: Housing market ends year on mostly positive note

For the fifth month this year, closings exceeded 20 houses in November. To put that in perspective, you have to go back to 2006 to find a year where there were five such months (2009, 2010 and 2011 combined produced only five total months with sales over 20). As encouraging as this figure is, the median price trailed November 2011 by over 41%, a $460,000 differential. The average price was down slightly over 31%, more than $340,000. Closer examination of the numbers reveals in November 2012 only three (13%) of the 24 sales were over a million dollars whereas in 2011 six (55%) of 11 sales were over a million. Inventory was down just over 17% from last month (not uncommon for the season), but the average list price rose over $60,000.

Year-to-date, Wilton is up almost 27% (44 houses) in sales volume. This exceeds annual sales for each of the last four years and there is a small possibility that by the end of the year we will run ahead of 2007. That is a very positive trend line. However, median sales continue to be further below last year’s level, now over 12% behind. Average sales lag even further, almost 18% behind 2011.

Total revenue is 4.5% above the previous year and even if there is not a jump in end-of-the-year closings should stay positive for the year.

The decline in inventory, which will probably continue for another month, is similar to what has been seen in healthier markets around the country. With mortgage rates continuing at amazingly low levels and the Fed’s recently announced policies tied to reaching a jobless goal of 6.5%, the early part of 2013 appears to be a window of opportunity for sellers and buyers alike.

New, well-priced inventory is extremely important. Certainly this is tempered by economic uncertainty and potential tax code changes (especially those affecting mortgage deductions), but there are some higher-priced houses in the pipeline and, for this time of year, reasonably good traffic at the existing inventory.

Marion Filley is Realtor at Prudential Connecticut Realty and may be reached at 203-762-4221 or