Where the most real estate sales took place in CT during 2022

A Dorset Lane house in Brookfield, Conn., priced for sale in January 2023 at just under $500,000 as part of a foreclosure sale. The median-priced house in Brookfield for 2022 sold for $480,000, up $60,000 from the median home price the prior year.

A Dorset Lane house in Brookfield, Conn., priced for sale in January 2023 at just under $500,000 as part of a foreclosure sale. The median-priced house in Brookfield for 2022 sold for $480,000, up $60,000 from the median home price the prior year.

Alexander Soule / Hearst Connecticut Media

With December home sales a dud at just under 3,000 transactions statewide, Connecticut closed out 2022 with less than 41,200 homes sold in the year, according to one preliminary estimate. That's roughly 10,900 fewer than in 2021 for an 18 percent drop. 

Stamford led the state for the year with about 1,590 homes sold in 2022, with close to 1,250 transactions in Norwalk, nearly 1,200 in Waterbury and about 1,050 in Bridgeport, according to Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties.

In its annual review of select Connecticut markets, however, William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty noted that New Haven County saw big increases in sales of houses priced at $750,000 and above, as was the case in Hartford County for houses priced between $700,000 and $1 million.

The CEO of William Pitt Sotheby's told CT Insider that 2023 will be challenging for buyers and sellers, with the latter camp still seeking pandemic prices for their homes in many instances and plenty of buyers pouncing on properties they deem at value prices, creating bidding wars.

"Houses under contract, we're still ahead of 2019 looking into January and February, based on activity from November and December, but its getting more normalized," said Paul Breunich, CEO of William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty based in Stamford. "The New York exodus — that's not settled down there, and we are still seeing the demand. The inventory is what is keeping us down."

The median-price Connecticut residence sold for $345,000, a 7 percent increase from the 2021 median. As tracked by Zillow, 290 properties sold for that amount last year from Stamford to Mystic.

After the pandemic boom market of 2020 and 2021 that saw most of the state's most desirable listings snapped up, 2022 was marked by ballooning interest rates that kept  on the sidelines some buyers who saw the cost of a mortgage extend past what they were able or willing to pay.

But it remained a seller's market, with buyers paying 2.4 percent more than the final asking price on average, indicating continued competition for the smaller number of houses deemed a good value.

Breunich said some potential sellers may be deterred from listing their homes on fears of having to overbid for any new residence.

Through the first five days of 2023, more than 500 homes were listed for sale, some of them a repeat try after sellers were unable to obtain their asking prices in 2022. They range from a Greenwich estate at the head of Byram Harbor priced for just over $11 million to a foreclosure fixer-upper in Lebanon for $55,000.

The week's listings also included a five-bedroom house in Brookfield under foreclosure priced at just under $500,000. After hitting the market on Thursday, more than 400 people viewed the listing on Zillow alone, as one barometer of buyer demand whether people looking to move or invest for a flip or rental.

Foreclosures are one of several wild cards that could impact the Connecticut market, as interest rates rise on mortgages with adjustable rates, putting any struggling homeowners at risk of default. Under state law, lenders must go through a formal mediation process with mortgage borrowers in an attempt to reach a payment plan before moving ahead with any foreclosure action.

About 40 foreclosed houses and condos were scheduled to go to auction in January in Bridgeport alone, more than triple the number for Stamford which had the next highest count.

Democrats in the state Senate made housing costs one of nine priorities in bills filed this week at the outset of the 2023 session of the General Assembly. The Housing Committee's co-chairs are Sen. Marilyn Moore, D-Bridgeport, and Rep. Geoff Luxenberg, D-Manchester, who is a real estate professional as co-owner of No Fee REIT in Glastonbury.

Longer term, the state is hoping to promote the construction and renovation of more affordable housing, as a way to rein in prices by increasing the number of units available for purchase or rent.

"We must create more affordable housing through a combination of mandates and incentives, especially in communities who have failed to recognize over the years that we are one Connecticut," said Senate President Pro Tempore Martin M. Looney, D-New Haven, in a Wednesday address in Hartford.

Alex.Soule@scni.com; @casoulman