We entered 2013 with a strong sense of optimism about how our markets would perform this year, and the newly released results from the first quarter have confirmed our expectations. The upward trends we observed across all of our markets throughout 2012 are continuing, indicating that our local housing is clearly strengthening. All of the relevant metrics support the improving health of residential real estate in the markets we serve. We invite you to click here to find our detailed analysis of residential real estate in Connecticut and the Berkshires, and here for a close look at how the market performed throughout Westchester County, New York.
In all markets, closed sales have demonstrated consistent improvement in each of the past six months, and pending sales have improved for each of the past twelve. Days on market has dropped below the past three year average to 18% in Connecticut and the Berkshires and 20% in Westchester County, and inventory levels also stand well below the past three-year median. With prices remaining stable, consumers are perceiving significant value and pursuing good deals, while sellers are finding they can effectively negotiate and usually find a price that is acceptable to all parties.
The vitality in the markets was the result of a number of converging influences. The moderate national economic growth has helped to improve demand, while the positive tone assumed by the press has had an effect on consumer confidence. This confidence combined with historically low mortgage interest rates and an average 20% reduction in home prices has created optimal conditions for making a purchase. In addition, a number of families have been productive putting their personal finances in order for the past five years, placing them in a strong position to enter the market.
The psychology among buyers and sellers appears to have genuinely shifted, with both looking at the market as a good place to be right now. With such strong data to report from the first quarter coupled with the substantially higher number of buyers we are seeing in the marketplace, we expect the high level of confidence among buyers and sellers to persevere in the second quarter. All signs are pointing to another year of positive growth, with prices maintaining and sales improving in all price categories. We hope that you enjoy our latest market reports and find them useful as you evaluate your own real estate needs for 2013.