Housing stock swells in Wilton

If you think there’s a greater number of houses for sale in town than usual, you would be correct.
According to Consolidated Multiple Listing Service data provided by Realty Seven, there were 268 active single-family real estate listings in Wilton as of May 20. That’s 23% more inventory than around the same day last year. In 2015, on May 22, there were 218 active, single-family listings.
Here are numbers for the period for the past 10 years:

  • 2016 — 268, as of May 20

  • 2015 — 218, as of May 22

  • 2014 — 214, as of May 23

  • 2013 — 207, as of May 17

  • 2012 — 241, as of May 18

  • 2011 — 210, as of May 13

  • 2010 — 190, as of May 14

  • 2009 — 212, as of May 15

  • 2008 — 194, as of May 16

  • 2007 — 206, as of May 11

The more striking outliers here are 2012, which had 241 homes on the market around May 20, and 2016, which had 268.
“I can say that regionally, we’re falling behind the rest of the country” in terms of rebounding from the recession, Peg Koellmer, principal broker at Realty Seven, told The Bulletin this week.

“Connecticut’s behind, and Fairfield County is behind the rest of Connecticut,” Koellmer said. She attributed this in large part to Connecticut’s place in line heading into 2008, when the financial crisis hit.
“We were last to go into the recession. Florida, Nevada, Arizona, California — they got hit first, so they came back first, but they’re not coming back gangbusters either,” she said.
Calling it the “new normal,”  Koellmer added she believes people are beginning to accept that things might not change soon, and are taking chances on the market now instead of waiting another year or two for it to improve.
“I’d love to say that I can explain it by saying that everybody has all this confidence in the market, but I think that the confidence people have now is in knowing that we’re not going to see a huge upswing like people were thinking,” she said.
“People are floating their homes out there to see what they get for them,” Koellmer said.
With approximately 5,750 single- family houses in Wilton, 268 active listings means 4.7% of all single-family houses were up for sale around May 20.
“That’s pretty high,” JoAnne Fisher of William Pitt Sotheby’s Wilton office told The Bulletin. “This is very unusual for us to have this much inventory, especially since we’ve gone through our spring market.”
Other towns in the area seem to be mirroring Wilton’s inventory surge. Wilton’s on the high end, but New Canaan had the most stock of area towns during the third week of May.

  • Wilton — 4.7%: 268 single- family listings out of approximately 5,750 total single-family homes.

  • Ridgefield — 4.1%: 319 single-family listings out of approximately 7,698 total single- family homes.

  • New Canaan — 5.7%: 346 single-family listings out of approximately 6,123 total single- family homes.

  • Darien — 3.1%: 205 single- family listings out of approximately 6,551 total single-family homes.

Eric Weitz, managing broker of Coldwell Banker, told The Bulletin there “certainly has been a slowdown in the market.”
Unlike Koellmer, however, Weitz thinks more people are attempting to sell their homes because they are confusing the recession return of the nation with that of the state. He thinks there might be a false belief that Connecticut and Wilton are gaining steam as quickly as the country overall.
“Over the last couple of years, when the market was really quite difficult, a lot of people weren’t putting homes on the market. Now, when they hear that the national scene looks healthier, people are now anxious to make the moves they’ve been planning to make, except the local numbers are not quite as healthy as the national markets indicate,” Weitz said.
It’s also a tough year for real estate in general, Koellmer pointed out, for a number of other reasons.
“It’s an election year,” she said. “We have a ton of bad news in Connecticut. We have major companies leaving. There was just a study that came out that out of the 50 states, we were number 50 for economic stability. That doesn’t help us, our taxes are high, and all of those things are contributing to us having a little bit of a hard time,” Koellmer said.
Weitz agrees with Koellmer that the exodus of industry — General Electric in particular — has delivered a blow to the local and statewide real estate market.
“Locally, our business has been impacted, and all of us have been impacted by GE’s decision to move from Connecticut to Boston, so you have a little bit more inventory building as a result of that,” he said.
Koellmer is confident that Connecticut will “come out of this.” Her reasoning? The nature of the business.
“I can guarantee you anything that we’re going to come out of this. I know that because it’s happened how many times historically. It is what it is; we always come out.”
“It comes up, and it goes down, and it comes up again. I see no reason why that’s ever going to change,” Koellmer said.

The information in this story was compiled using Connecticut Economic Resource Center town profiles, and multiple listing service data provided by Realty Seven.