WESTPORT, Conn. -- Fourth quarter statistics from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties report painted a dichotomous picture for Westport real estate.
The median sale price for Westport homes jumped 6.7 percent for single family homes and 6.3 percent for condominiums. Sales of single family homes fell 10.9 percent, however, and condo sales fell 33.3 percent.
Mary Crist, the office leader for the Westport office of Berkshire Hathaway, believes more home sales in the higher end of the marketplace helped push the median sale price higher. Sales fell overall, she said, as many buyers purchased homes in more inexpensive communities close to Westport.
“Over the last several years, we’ve seen a decrease in the higher end properties,’’ Crist said. “We’re starting to see more transactions in the higher end than we’ve seen in the past. It’s not a complete recovery, but we are seeing more transactions in that area, and that will skew the price point.”
Sales volume fell in Westport, but many other towns in Fairfield County saw significant increases. In Fairfield, for instance, sales jumped 52.2 percent in the fourth quarter, according to the Berkshire Hathaway report. Sales also rose dramatically in Monroe (95 percent), Bethel (31.3 percent) and even Redding (65 percent) and Easton (15 percent). The median sale price in all of those communities is nearly 50 percent or more less than the median sale price in Westport, which the BH report listed at $1,333,500. Greenwich, New Canaan and Darien are the only other Fairfield County communities where the median sale price tops $1 million.
“The communities that are seeing growth are the ones with the lower price points,’’ Crist said. “We’ve had a flurry of new listings coming on at lower price points, under $1 million, and they are getting a huge amount of traffic.”
For the year, home sales in Westport stayed virtually flat compared to 2014. Crist’s office, however, doubled its sales volume. While all of the sales were not in Westport, Crist believes the upward trajectory is a sign the Berkshire Hathaway brand is taking hold. “Our business is growing exponentially,’’ Crist said. “Our office production is way up.”
Among the sales last year was the Emily McLaury house in Westport. The listing by Berkshire Hathaway’s Darcy Sledge was a 1921 Colonial built by one of Westport’s premier architects, Charles E. Cutler. The home was purchased by the town of Westport and fully restored by a team of architects, historians, designers and preservationists in 2007. Crist’s office was selected to market the property, and it was listed in late summer. The property sold in October.
Mild winter weather has fueled an early start to the spring market. The spring market clock generally starts ticking in February, but Crist saw increased activity last month. “We’re off to a good start,’’ Crist said. “I’m optimistic for the first half. I think it’s going to be stellar. We’re excited by the amount of people currently listing homes. If the weather stays moderate, it should be a productive first quarter.”
For more information on the Westport office of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, click here to visit its website or contact the office at 203-227-5117. Click here for the fourth quarter report from Berkshire Hathaway.