January single-family home sales statewide saw the largest year-over-year decline since January 2009, according to the latest report from The Warren Group, publisher of the Commercial Record.
However, local realtors and appraisers say the numbers don’t equate with activity in central Connecticut.
January single-family home sales statewide totaled 1,835 transactions, a 14.5 percent decrease from January 2018 when there were 2,145 transactions. This marked the largest year-over year decline for the month of January since 2009 when sales fell 35.3 percent on the same basis at the start of the recession. Meanwhile, the median price of a single-family home fell 0.4 percent on a year-over-year basis to $235,000, compared with $236,000 in January 2018.
“Last year the number of home sales fell in nine of 12 months and for the entire year sales fell by 1.9 percent,” said Timothy Warren, chief executive officer of The Warren Group. “However, no month in 2018 had a decline approaching the 14.5 percent decline that we saw last month. Homeowners and prospective buyers are standing fast with their current living quarters.”
Condominium sales in Connecticut also experienced a notable decline, falling 17.6 percent on a year-over-year basis with 519 transactions. On the same basis, the median sale price for condos increased 2 percent to $153,000, the highest price for the month of January since 2015.
“This is the first uptick we’ve seen in the January condo price since 2015,” Warren said. “Despite the increase, the median sale price is still well below the peak price of $191,000 seen in January 2006.”
Jonathon Carbutti, of Carbutti & Co. Realtors, said the local market does not reflect all of the Commercial Record findings.
“My experience has been very different,” Carbutti said. “I’m coming off a holiday in January. I listed 33 properties in January and sold 38. We’re getting multiple offers off the asking price.”
Carbutti said he had a recent sale in Meriden that was $25,000 over the asking price.
Meriden appraiser and real estate agent Rob Clermont said that there is pent up buyer demand and less inventory in the local market that is keeping prices and sales numbers up.
Homes under $300,000 are selling the quickest in Wallingford and Meriden and the spring market is predicted to be one of the busiest in years, Clermont said. Condos are also selling close to the listing prices.
“I’ve been in the business for 21 years, and this is the busiest I’ve been in January and February in the past three years,” he said.
Clermont said homes in foreclosure or distress and homes in need of remodeling are going quickly in Meriden.
“People are starting to see that Meriden’s value is it’s a place where you can buy a house and get a bang for your buck,” Clermont said. “The market is very hot right now, normally we have 130 to 140 homes coming to the spring market, now there are only 93 homes.”
As an appraiser, Clermont looks at supply and demand when recommending price.
The low-end and foreclosure market is seeing brisk activity with investors competing against each other to bid on distressed properties. And there is considerable interest is in flipped homes.
He points to a house at 19 Silver St. Meriden on the market for $189,900 that had seven to eight showing requests and received an offer in less than 24 hours. It had sold for $100,000 in November and was recently remodeled. A sale is pending.
The tight inventory has helped boost local prices, he said.
According to Clermont, in the last 365 days, there were 555 single-family home sales in Meriden, ranging in price from $25,000 to $375, 000. The average price was $169,817 and the homes stayed on the market for 54 days. Many sold for small percentages within their lowest selling price.
In 2017 to 2018, there were 616 single family homes that sold in the city ranging from $15,000 to $375,000, with an average price of $158,409. Most stayed on the market an average of 51 days and sold for 98 percent of lowest list price.