Marion Filley's Closing Comments: September

September brought with it some encouraging signs in the real estate market. While the number of sales dropped two units, a little over 11%, it was still equivalent to or higher than in every September since 2005, with the exception of last year. The median sale for the month rose $162,500, or 22.7%, and the average sale increased more than $300,000, or 46%. While some higher-end sales and the small sampling size are partially responsible for the size of these increases, these are positive trends. Inventory rose from last month, mainly in the $1-million to $2-millon range, and while up it did not represent a terribly strong start to the fall market. We continue to see more price reductions than houses new to the market.

As we end the third quarter, sales trail 2013 by over 12%, 181 to last year’s 207. However, the drop in median price over the last few months has been reversed and we are now about 1% above last year’s performance. The average sale continues above 2013, now up more than $40,000 (a solid 5% increase).

While Ben Bernanke’s recent claim that he was having problems re-financing his own home might have been more hyperbole than reality, it does speak to the concerns of some buyers, especially those who cannot show the last two years of stable income. Plenty of portfolio lenders and lenders with other products would certainly take on Bernanke (and others) as a good risk. The Commercial Record takes a strong stance: “The real estate market in Connecticut is slumping a bit at the moment. Single-family home sales and prices have fallen in the first 8 months of the year. … The recovery in the real estate market has stalled.”

In August, Connecticut home prices ranked 47th nationwide per CoreLogic. With many economic concerns, this is not at all surprising, and has made buyers that much more value-conscious at this point.