Sales Declines Continue Amidst Inventory Shortage, Yet Contracts on the Rise in Connecticut

Our residential real estate markets continued to experience significant sales decreases in January versus the same month last year as historically low inventory restricted sales. Closed unit sales were down by a consistent 30 to over 40% across all markets, with closed dollar volume down by 25 to over 40%. This outcome was largely expected as fourth quarter 2022 contract data pointed to a slower rate of closings in early 2023.

Yet the month suggested a shift has occurred in Connecticut, where contracts for January landed in positive territory compared to the same month last year. Even as closings were down, properties under contract increased across the areas we serve statewide, with unit sales growth ranging from 11-35% and volume from 9-33%.

The current pace of contracts, a leading indicator for our housing markets, leaves us feeling optimistic that the substantial sales declines we have seen in recent months will reverse course in the near future. Notably, this uptick in contracts is only happening in Connecticut so far. Contracts declined significantly month over month in our markets outside of Connecticut, declining by 22% in units and 33% in volume in Westchester County, N.Y., and by 24% in units and 28% in volume in the Berkshires, Mass.

We are still witnessing elevated buyer demand, particularly out of New York City, but reduced inventory remains a major factor limiting sales. The Shoreline region of Connecticut, encompassing New Haven, Middlesex and New London counties, is the one area where overall inventory increased from this time last year, but new listings taken for the month demonstrated a decline. This metric shows a consistent decrease in all our markets, and by higher percentages than overall inventory.

In Fairfield County, Conn., unit sales and closed dollar volume declined in January versus the same month last year by 42% and 39%, respectively. Overall inventory was down 11% compared to January last year. In Westchester County, N.Y., unit sales and closed volume decreased by 30% and 27%, respectively, from January last year. Overall inventory was down by 13%. Other markets served by the company experienced similar trends.

Please see the accompanying charts for a full review of the data for all market areas, comparing January 2023 to the same month in 2022, sourced from various MLSs.

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