Marion Filley's Closing Comments: Sept. 18

Making up somewhat for July’s sharp drop in unit sales, August single-family sales were up six units (26%). While still far from the 20-year average, this is the highest total for the month of August since 2006. The rest of the numbers for the month can only be termed as less than impressive. The median dropped $130,000 or 14%. The average sale was down almost $139,000, or about 13%. Inventory levels, as we have seen in the last few months, are ahead of last year at this time, but behind the previous three.

The year-to-date numbers were not helped by August performance. Even with the improvement in unit sales, we are 24 behind last year, almost 13%. It is hard to imagine (especially with a relatively small pipeline) that we will come close to last year’s total without a large number of buyers showing up in the near future. The median sale has now dropped to 3% below last year. Average sales are 2% above last year. Still positive, but not what they were a few short months ago.

As we look at the Wilton numbers, it is important to note that Manhattan has been experiencing slowing patterns in its “hot” real estate market over the summer. The median price has been hit the most (by some statistics down close to $125,000) and while average price is down, the drop is much smaller. In neighboring towns of Wilton, only Norwalk and Weston are not down more than 10% in unit sales. However, only Norwalk and Wilton are down in median sales. And only Norwalk is down in average sale. Fall markets are not known to reverse trends and with less than half the inventory under $1,000,000, we have to hope there are a good number of buyers in the upper mid-range who will see these houses for the values they represent. Mortgage rates, while seeming to gain upward momentum, continue to offer close to unprecedented low levels possibly into mid-2015.