The summer market is ripe with opportunity for buyers and sellers alike. In Fairfield County, Connecticut, buyers are clearly feeling like the time is right to make a purchase, as evidenced by the significant sales increases versus this period of last year. In Westport, for example, there is a 57% improvement in dollar volume and a rise in units sold from 294 to 383, comparing this year to date over the same time in 2012. The activity can be attributed to many factors: prices have adjusted to the point where the market has stabilized, mortgage rates are favorable, and consumers are more confident than they have been in recent years. In addition, the market has a number of magnificent offerings for buyers to choose from—properties like the gorgeous Nantucket-style home at 24 Surf Road. All of this is exciting news for sellers, who are benefiting from the increased competition resulting from the current low levels of inventory. According to Marc Caldarone, manager of our Westport brokerage, “If a seller has a strong property that’s priced effectively, it will generate an offer.”
Virginia Doetsch, manager of our Julia B. Fee Bronxville brokerage, has observed similar trends in her market area. With buyers feeling more secure in their jobs and prices reflecting fair values, many are ready to make the investment in a new long-term home. “Buyer demand is very high,” she says, pointing to the multiple bids on properties in Bronxville Village, New York, as well as neighboring markets such as Mount Vernon and Yonkers. “There is an absolute heightened sense of urgency in every price range.” Bronxville Village is particularly attractive given its close proximity to New York City, highly rated public school system, charming village atmosphere and amenities, quintessential 1920s and 1930s Tudor-style homes, and fantastic current offerings like the historic Italian Renaissance-style home at 21 Ridge Road. Smaller, more manageable homes are selling particularly well. In addition, much like Westport, the combination of low inventory levels and buyer demand is ensuring that sellers are receiving great offers for well-priced properties and even better offers if their homes are renovated.
Inventory levels are also an important driver in the Berkshires, Massachusetts, market, where the active inventory is 17% lower than the same time last year. There is also clear buyer demand, with year to date sold listings 22% higher than this time in 2012. This is a positive development for sellers, and indeed with the buyer competition that results from lower inventory, the average list price is 2% higher than the same period last year. Newer inventory in particular is selling very close to the original price. Buyers are frequently drawn to properties with breathtaking views and privacy, as well as convenient access to amenities either in-town or in nearby communities—properties like the ideal weekend retreat at 150 Mt. Washington Road in Egremont, Massachusetts. Dan Alden, an agent with the William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty Great Barrington brokerage, advises, “Properties that are new to the market at 2013 prices are going quickly, so buyers really need to be attentive to the market to score the deals that are out there. Since prices are starting to creep back up, now is a good time to buy.”
Rental properties are the primary driving force in the market in Litchfield County, Connecticut. The area is a highly sought-after second home destination, especially for New Yorkers interested in escaping from the city and exploring nature, the quaint charming villages, and recreational activities from hiking and biking to kayaking. “The summer rental market is really hot right now,” says Carolyn Fugere, regional manager of the Litchfield Hills and Berkshire. “We are seeing a lot of qualified inquiries—many more than we have received in the past two years.” These renters come to the area for its country lifestyle, beautiful scenery, cultural amenities including notable art galleries, and exceptional restaurants. Renters will find a wide variety of wonderful properties now available, including a sophisticated Kent, Connecticut, home with stunning views. Those interested in staying permanently will also find that Litchfield County has plenty to offer year round as well, including several top-ranked private schools.
With so much opportunity, now is an excellent time for both buyers and sellers to enter the market. Please contact us to assist you with your real estate needs.