Wilton real estate market is more of the same

The year 2018 was pretty much a year of status quo for the real estate market in Wilton and lower Fairfield County.

Sales overall in Wilton were down slightly from 2017, but the average sale price was up slightly, according to a report by Halstead Real Estate.

The number of single-family home closings in Wilton for 2018 was down 10% from 2017. There were 206 closings in 2018, compared to 229 in 2017.

However, purchase prices went up. The average closing price in 2018 in Wilton was $867,153, compared to $825,002 for 2017.

The biggest number of home sales in Wilton for 2018 was in the $500,000 to $700,000 range, with 57 units sold, followed by 36 units in the $800,000 to $900,000 range.

The fewest sales were in the over-$2-million range, with just six units sold, followed by four units in the $1.5-million to $2-million range. Those price ranges also had the greatest decrease in sales from 2017.

Wilton condominium sales increased by 20.8%. There were 29 condos sold in 2018, compared to 24 in 2017. The average condo price paid in 2018 was $409,190, compared to $352,246 for 2017.

Lower Fairfield County

Overall, the lower Fairfield County real estate market was relatively steady in 2018, with no town suffering a significant decline or gain.

For Wilton and neighboring towns  — Darien, Easton, Fairfield, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, and Westport — the total number of single-family house closings, taken together, was down slightly, by 4.3% from 2017. The dollar value of closings was down 7.3%.

With a 10% decrease, Wilton had 5.7% fewer house closings than the 4.3% average countywide decrease. The dollar value of closings in Wilton was down 5.4%, which was 1.9% better than the countywide 7.3% decrease.

John DiCenzo of Halstead Real Estate, whose territory includes Wilton, said Wilton is maintaining a pattern of status quo. “We are within a 10% range up or down over the past 10 years,” he said.

He said the flat market dynamic is not specific to Wilton. “We are generally seeing the same thing in other towns. Wilton is experiencing what most communities are experiencing,” he said.

Sales in all of Fairfield County, including larger cities, like Greenwich, Stamford and Norwalk, were down 2.2% from 2017.

Market inventory is plentiful in Wilton and neighboring towns, as they continue to recover from the 2007 global financial crisis and real estate market crash, DiCenzo said.

For example, in 2007, there were 208 home sales in Wilton, followed by a sharp decline in 2008 with just 144 sales and 130 sales in 2009. The market has gradually increased since then.

Mid-range and lower-range homes are selling stronger than homes in the upper ranges. “We’ve  seen that now for a number of years. The higher the price point, the smaller the buyer pool and they’re more selective,” he said.

But the buyer-friendly market alone does not prevent homes from selling. “If a home reaches a sweet spot in terms of value, it generally tends to move and often will move quickly. What we are seeing are buyers who are being very selective due to the amount of inventory, so sellers need to be strategic in listing their homes. In the early 2000s, we would have seen the converse,” he said.

DiCenzo says expect more of the same in 2019. “Sales have also slowed in New York City, which is a strong feeder market for the county,” he said.

His advice for sellers is to “respect the comps.”

“Pay attention to what comparable homes in the neighborhood are selling for. Stage your home. Update where possible. Families are weighing your home against a bunch of  others,” he said.

Halstead Real Estate’s data for this story was sourced from the Connecticut Smart MLS and Greenwich MLS.