Marion Filley's Closing Comments: February

There is little doubt the weather will be blamed for the apparent halting start in the real estate market throughout Connecticut in 2015. And while it is true that January closings were almost 50% below those of 2014, February 2015 bounced back to not only exceed 2014 (by a single sale), but also was only fractionally below the 20-year average. Median and average sale points were not as impressive. The median fell 32.3% (more than $370,000) and the average 21.4% (over $230,000). Again, this is a very small sample and not as meaningful early in the year. Inventory rose to 131 houses (24 ahead of the same time last year); however, the price of the inventory is almost $70,000 lower than for the same period. The anomaly is that there are 18 more houses in inventory listed over $1 million than last year.
The year-to-date is a mixed message. Sales are down 24%. Median price is up a healthy 22%. The average sale point dropped 4%. Total revenue has slipped by more than $6 million, or 27%. The average price differential can be completely attributed to a single $3 million-plus sale in 2014 that completely skewed the average from positive to negative . However, when we look at neighboring Westport, everything is positive, from a slight 6% in closings to a better than 48% increase in average sale price and 58% growth in total revenue.
While it may feel as if this year’s was a record snowfall, we actually did not experience anything close to the snows of 2011. Farther north, record cold was recorded in many towns. Certainly not a recipe for strong sales, and many have held off. At the end of January, 27 states and the District of Columbia had returned to a point within 10% of their price peak prior to the mortgage crisis. Connecticut still trails its 2006 peak by 19%, according to CoreLogic. It is clear that well-priced houses in Wilton, particularly under $900,000, are attracting the most attention. Within the next month, we expect to see a rush of new listings and with any luck an uptick in houses going under agreement.