Whether renting or buying, finding local affordable housing a challenge

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WALLINGFORD — After getting divorced a little while back and facing high mortgage rates, Melissa Stensland has been looking for a new home in town for over a year now. 

“I just feel like it’s impossible,” Stensland said. 

Stensland, a lunch and recess aide at Cook Hill Elementary School and an employee in Amazon fulfillment, is looking to stay in town so her two children can remain in the school district. Currently, Stensland is living with her parents, but is hoping to move out by August.

“I have no idea if that’s going to happen,” said Stensland, 36. 

She is hoping to find a two or three-bedroom apartment, with a maximum rent of $1,800 a month.

“Everything that I try for is either gone quick because people are offering over asking price and most places are over my budget to begin with,” Stensland said.

Rents have increased nationwide about 15.3 percent over the past year, according to apartmentlist.com. Kevin Green, an agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Wallingford, said that is why he hasn’t seen more people choose renting over home ownership.

“Rents are very high too,” Green said. “... They are not saving anything by renting.” 

Candace Adams, president and chief executive officer of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, reported that in the first quarter of 2022, the number of new homes sold is down 15.2 percent. 

For those that are purchasing new homes, bidding wars are still common, Green said. 

Most homes in Connecticut are sold “considerably above the list price,” Adams wrote in the quarterly market report. The median listing price for the first quarter of 2022 was $304,900, with the median selling price $314,700. 

“Competitiveness is still out there,” Green said. “They’re bidding over list price usually anywhere between $15,000 and $30,000 is my experience so they don’t give up, which is good in a way.” 

Adams, in the report, wrote that according to a survey by Realtor.com, around 64 percent of prospective sellers in 2022 are planning to list their homes in the next six months. 

“Sellers are realizing they can make quite a profit in this market,” Green said. “The problem lies in when you sell high, you’ve got to buy high. So they have to understand that predicament.” 

Green said those looking for a new home, have to be “persistent and consistent.” 

“You’ve got to get creative with your offers,” Green said. “Obviously, the more money you put down, the stronger you look as a buyer.”

Reporter Jessica Simms can be reached at jsimms@record-journal.com.


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