We have been saying for some time that momentum has been building in our markets, and now we are pleased to confirm that 2012 was a watershed year for residential real estate in all of the areas we serve. We now have 13 consecutive months of month-over-month pending sales improvements as well as substantial quarterly and annual closed unit sales gains. Please click here to find our detailed analysis of residential real estate in Connecticut and the Berkshires.
We believe that a number of factors came together to result in a healthy housing market for 2012. These included improvements in consumer confidence, pent-up consumer demand, low interest rates and stabilized housing prices, as well as increases in rental prices, driving many consumers to take a greater interest in purchasing over renting. Buyers and sellers are also finally on the same page in terms of home values.
The period of November and December was an especially bright spot in the year as activity was much greater than anticipated considering the expected influence of Hurricane Sandy, the elections and the fiscal cliff. This was partly due to both sellers wishing to close deals before the New Year to avoid higher taxes in 2013 and buyers who sensed that the timing was right to make a purchase. Many sales, more than expected, were still pending at the end of the year and should lead to generous closed figures for the first quarter of 2013.
All of this good news has us feeling particularly optimistic as we look at the year ahead. While we don’t suggest that a boom is on the horizon, we do feel that housing sales will continue to grow to healthy pre-crisis levels while prices will hold steady. Buyers, many of them pre-qualified, are in the market, for our agents are reporting that showings are significantly increased for properties in all price ranges. We also believe that strong levels of well-priced inventory will be coming to the market soon, enticing more buyers. In addition, consumers are simply more confident in their personal financial situations and housing valuations. The market is on the rise and ripe with opportunity, and we hope that you find our Annual 2012 Market Watch useful as you evaluate your own real estate needs for 2013.