WILTON — While Wilton real estate sales in May and the first five months of 2020 were slightly down from last year, the real estate pipeline of transactions in the works is heating up.

“We were in a lull, but we’re now encouraged by what we see,” said Patrick Russo, Realtor at Berkshire Hathaway and member of Wilton’s Chamber of Commerce. “People from Brooklyn and New York are considering Wilton and surrounding towns. At this point we are encouraged and delighted,” he said.

Since the coronavirus pandemic hit in March, there has been an exodus from cities and urban areas, with families seeking more room to live and work while under self-quarantine. That is driving the market to Connecticut. “People want more space and more control over their environment,” Russo said.

The first area to see a burst of activity was the rental market in lower Fairfield County. Wilton had 32 rentals of single-family homes from March through May, compared to 14 that same time last year.

Seasonal rental homes with swimming pools are especially high in demand, with people not wanting to deal with restrictions at beaches and fear of the coronavirus.

There was one such rental property that fetched a staggering $25,000 a month, according to Russo.

“The rental market for the summer is very high, and people are willing to pay extraordinary prices for certain homes,” he said.

There are 18 rentals in the pipeline in Wilton, with nine of them year-round rentals, according to John DiCenzo, executive director of sales for Westport and Wilton for Halstead Real Estate.

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Wilton real estate sales appear to be on the upswing as well, according to DiCenzo. “There’s been a shift in the market,” he said.

As of May 31, there were 68 Wilton homes in the pipeline, in some form of negotiation and contract, compared to 61 this same time last year.

Sellers who pulled their properties at the beginning of the pandemic are advertising them again.

“We are encouraged that more potential buyers are showing up,” Russo said. “That means sellers have more opportunity to negotiate. We’re seeing deals closing quickly, with multiple offers on properties,” he said.

The future of the real estate market in Wilton is uncertain, but for now, more buyers are looking.

Russo isn’t surprised people are considering Wilton as a town to relocate to with their families.

“Wilton is a beautiful town with a strong sense of community and a lot of positives. Property taxes are now lower too,” Russo said, referring to the FY 2021 town budget which has a 3.77-percent decrease in the mill rate.

Market report

For the month of May 2020, there were 20 single-family home sales in Wilton, compared to 23 for the same time in 2019, a 13-percent decrease, according to a market report by Halstead Real Estate.

The decrease was also reflected for the first five months of 2020, January through May. There were 73 home closings in Wilton, compared to 79 for the same time in 2019, a 7.6-percent decrease.

The average sales price, however, was up slightly. It was $774,793 from January through May 2020, up 1.4 percent from $764,266 for that same time last year.

As has been the trend, lower-priced homes dominated Wilton real estate sales for the first five months of 2020. Of the 73 homes sold, more than half sold for under $800,000. There were 11 sales under $500,000, 20 between $500,000-$700,000, and 15 between $700,000-$800,00.

In the middle range, seven homes sold in the $800,000-$900,000 range, and six sold between $900,000-$1-million.

On the upper end, six homes sold between $1-$1.2 million, four between $1.2-$1.5 million, and two homes sold from $1.5-$2 million. There were no sales over $2 million.

Condo sales saw a slight increase. There were seven condo sales from January through May 2020, with an average price of $239,500. For that same period in 2019, there were five condo sales, with an average price of $265,980.

The market was better in a number of lower-Fairfield County towns in the first five months of 2020.

Darien was up 23.3 percent from 2019, Easton was up 2.2 percent, New Canaan was up 7.5 percent, Redding was up 7.0 percent, Ridgefield was up 16 percent, Weston was up 21.2 percent, and Westport was up 22.5 percent.

In addition to Wilton, which was down 7.6 percent, Fairfield was down 9.1 percent. They were the only lower Fairfield County towns with sales lagging from the same time last year.

pgay@wiltonbulletin.com