Wilton real estate market starts to surge

This chart shows the number of houses and condominiums sold January through June from 2013 to 2020.

This chart shows the number of houses and condominiums sold January through June from 2013 to 2020.

Bryan Haeffele / Hearst Connecticut Media

WILTON — It’s been a whirlwind of change for Wilton’s real estate market in the first six months of 2020.

January through April saw single-family home sales quietly snoozing along, down slightly from 2019, which was already down from the year before.

But then the coronavirus pandemic hit. Suddenly the real estate market was wide awake and active, with the past few months of 2020 picking up steam.

Looking to escape quarantining in the city, people from New York started buying homes in Wilton and the rest of Fairfield County. Demand started overtaking supply, multiple offers and bidding wars ensued on numerous homes, and a longtime buyer’s market instantly became a hot one for the seller.

The housing demand was most apparent the past two weeks in Wilton where 30 home sales were recorded on the land records, with one house on Middlebrook Farm Road selling for $3.5 million. It’s optimistic to see 30 sales in one month at this time of year, rather than in just two weeks.

Wilton’s real estate pipeline is also on the rise, according to John DiCenzo, executive director of sales for Westport and Wilton at Halstead Real Estate. As of June 30, there were 119 homes under binder or contract in Wilton, compared to 60 in 2019, nearly double the amount of potential sales in the works.

As of July 13, the pipeline numbers were even better, DiCenzo said. The number of potential closings has grown from 119 to 130. Plus, as of July 1, there were 53 pending sales (headed to closing) compared to 43 pending sales on July 30, 2019.

“When new sales outpace the rate of closed transactions that suggests the market is continuing to accelerate,” he said.

This is good news for Fairfield County, which has been recovering for the past 12 years from a sharp decline in real estate sales following the 2008 financial banking crisis.

While other states recovered over time from the market collapse, Connecticut has been in slow recovery mode, not reaching the levels where it once was.

Six-month market report

Reflecting the year’s slow start, sales of Wilton single-family homes were up just 4.9 percent for the first six months of 2020, according to a real estate market report by Halstead Real Estate.

In the first half of 2020, 107 homes were sold, up from 102 during the same time in 2019. This includes 68 sales in the second quarter, up from 61 last year.

Total real estate sales volume for single-family homes and condos increased from $79.62 million for the first six months of 2019 to $92 million so far in 2020.

The average sales price for the first six months of 2020 was $820,329, compared to $766,103 in 2019, a 7.1-percent increase.

The most popular price point in Wilton for the first six months of 2020 is for homes in the lower price range, as it has been for a number of years.

Of the 107 homes sold, 63 were under $800,000. There were 14 under $500,000, 27 between $500,000-$700,000, and 22 between $700,000-$800,000.

In the mid-range, there were 14 sales between $800,000-$900,000, and 10 between $900,000-$1 million.

On the higher end, there were nine home sales between $1 million-$1.2 million, seven between $1.2 million-$1.5 million, three between $1.5 million-$2 million, and 1 over $2 million.

Condominiums also saw an uptick in sales in Wilton, with 12 units sold from January through June, up from eight units during the same period last year. The average condo sale price was $358,708, up 15.7 percent from $310,113 in 2019.

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Fairfield County

A number of other towns in Fairfield County also saw a healthy surge in property sales for the first six months of 2020.

Joining Wilton’s 4.9-percent increase, Darien was up 12 percent, New Canaan was up 9.9 percent, Ridgefield was up 5.4 percent, Weston was up 43.8 percent, and Westport was up 25.2 percent.

Redding remained the same, with no increase or decrease from 2019. Easton was down 7.8 percent, and Fairfield was down 7 percent.

Given the momentum in the real estate market, DiCenzo said it is a good time to sell. “Buyers are plentiful. However, it is important to note that while many properties are experiencing multiple offers, houses that are overpriced are languishing. Buyers are aggressive, but they’re not out of control,” he cautioned.

When it comes to getting the most from a home sale, sellers can list their homes in their existing condition, or make some cosmetic changes to enhance their home’s appeal.

“Many people want a turnkey property. But we don’t recommend that the seller make major adjustments to the property unless absolutely necessary. Big changes may not appeal to a potential buyer. For example, if you decide to put in a new dark-wood kitchen and the buyer wants a white one, the buyer will not value the work you’ve done,” DiCenzo said.

In this scenario, the well-intended investment made by a seller could be wasted, DiCenzo said.

Halstead’s data was sourced from the Connecticut Smart MLS and Greenwich MLS.