Closing Comments: Market declines in September

After five straight months where sales were equal or outpaced last year, September brought a significant downturn in the number of closing — nine versus 16 in 2011, or 40+% less. The median sale was below $700,000, disappointing on its own and emphasized because it is more than 10% below last September’s median. The average sale price was down almost 6%. Inventory rose to 189 properties, the highest level for Oct. 1 in the last six years with the average price about $90,000 above last October, but below 2006-2010 levels.

The drop-off in September closings had a major effect on year-to-date performance. While closings are still running 24 houses ahead of 2011, that is down to a 17% increase. The median sale is 9% below last year with average sales price 15.5% behind last year. The most glaring change is that for the first time in several months total revenue for single-family houses was below the 2011 level (even with 24 more sales,) if only by slightly more than 1%.

Despite the low number of closings in September, there are some positive signs for the local market. With the number of houses under agreement in the pipeline it appears as if there is a good chance there will be just over 200 single-family houses closed by the end of the year. There are also two houses under contract with list prices of over $2,000,000 which will help both the average sale and the upper end in general. As we move toward the end of the year, houses listed below the current median ($751,000) represent only 35% of the inventory. This relative lack of inventory below the median combined with low rates and some overall economic/election uncertainty should create an opportunity for sellers in the price range.

Marion Filley is a Realtor at Prudential CT Realty, 101 Old Ridgefield Road. E-mail: or