FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Fairfield County real estate continued to surge in 2013 with gains in dollar volume, closed sales and median sale prices.
The first quarter of 2014 also looks healthy as under contract sales were up 37 percent for the fourth quarter in 2013 over the same timeframe in 2012, according to a report from William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.
“I feel like everything lined up to have a strong year,’’ said Paul Breunich, president and CEO of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty. “It was the perfect combination between consumer confidence, mortgage rates, and supply and demand. The good thing about 2013 is the upper-end of the housing market started to kick in. That’s the last market to get stabilized.”
The William Pitt Sotheby's International Report is available online .The fourth quarter report from Berkshire Hathaway New England Properties is attached as a PDF.
Closed sales for single-family homes jumped 22 percent in Fairfield County for 2013, including 13 percent in the final quarter.The dollar volume increased 28 percent, and the median price rose 4 percent to $450,000. For the fourth quarter, the median sale price rose 1 percent over the same period from 2012.
According to the Berkshire Hathaway report, there were 28,058 single family home sales in Connecticut in 2013, 12.3 percent higher than the number of sales in 2012 and totaling $11.4 billion in sales volume, one of the best years since 2006. At the same time, condominium closings totaled 7,174, up 19.8%. Most of the activity generated mid-year closed in the third quarter. Growth in home sales was strongest in Fairfield, Litchfield, Hartford, Windham and New London Counties.
The best news for sustained momentum is the huge increase in under-contract sales, with 2,009 homes in Fairfield under contract in the fourth quarter.
The other positive news for Realtors is the sale of higher-priced homes. Ultra-luxury home sales, defined as those in the top 5 percent in any given market in the William Pitt Sotheby’s report, surged in 2013 with a 50 percent to 75 percent improvement in sales levels.
“When the higher-priced homes move, it means there’s consumer confidence across the board,’’ said Brad Kimmelman, brokerage manager of the William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty office in Southport. “When they decide it’s a good environment, it sets a tone. They weren’t so sure. Now it seems those buyers are much more comfortable.”
Nearly every Fairfield County community saw positive real estate results in 2013. Cheryl Scott-Daniels of CSD Select Homes in Westport, and the 2013 President of the Mid-Fairfield County Board of Realtors, reported a 29 percent increase in sales in Westport, 30 percent in Weston, 24 percent in Norwalk and 21 percent in Easton. Wilton at 19 percent and Fairfield at 17 percent also saw huge jumps.
"From the beginning of last year, we thought things would be better,’’ Scott-Daniels said. “I was hopeful and anticipated that last year would show some positive trends, and it did.”
There was activity throughout Fairfield County in 2013, but some of the mid-county towns did best. Ridgefield, for instance, saw a 45 percent increase in closed sales, according to the William Pitt Sotheby’s report, and a 2 percent jump in the median sales price.
Norwalk’s jump in single-family sales came with an 8 percent increase in the median sales price from 2012. The median sales price also increased 8 percent in Wilton, 7 percent in Greenwich and 6 percent in Fairfield.
“It all comes down to supply and demand,’’ Breunich said. “Fairfield County is special because towns have their own character. That creates value to the potential buyer. It’s 15 markets with their own character. That’s what makes it valuable and such a great place to live.”
The William Pitt Sotheby’s report indicated there is a five-month supply of inventory of homes on the market, and the equilibrium number is six months. The consensus is, however, that prices won’t rise drastically in the next year. The Realtors believe 2014 will be another strong year with a slow but steady upward trend.
“We’re seeing bidding wars on homes that are perceived to be a good value,’’ Kimmelman said. “But we’re not seeing price spikes. I think we’ll see a 2 percent to 5 percent increase. The top end of the market is starting to move, which is encouraging.”