After Norwalk home sales stagnate, new listings remain scarce

The calls started coming in Tuesday afternoon almost from the time William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty listed a property in the Sasqua Hills neighborhood of Norwalk near the water, with owners asking $1.85million for the home 6,000 square feet.

“They recognized it was the perfect time to sell,” said listing agent Mary Phelps with her William Pitt Sotheby’s colleague Gabrielle Gearhart. “If you have somewhere to go, it’s a good time because there are so many buyers waiting.”

But in Norwalk and surrounding towns, listings remain sparse in early February, raising questions about where the housing market will go in 2022.

After a historic 2020 when single-family home sales skyrocketed during the initial phase of the COVID pandemic, only New Canaan continued that momentum last year with a 12% increase in sales to just over 870 transactions. , according to data compiled by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties.

Norwalk saw five fewer single-family homes sell last year for a total of just over 980, but condo sales exploded with a 25% increase to around 560 units.

Brokers say the flattening of home sales was largely the result of buyers swooping in on top properties as soon as they hit real estate websites, leaving those who outbid them to wait for comparable properties to arrive on the market.

Agents in other parts of Connecticut say they are seeing more and more people searching for available properties that would have typically limited their search to the southwestern part of the state. They are priced, but with more people working remotely, they have more leeway in choosing where to live.

“High-end buyers go anywhere,” said Nancy Newman, an agent for Keller Williams Realty in Middletown who is familiar with the Connecticut River and coastal markets east of By Mike PignataroNew Haven. “They’re looking all over the state.”

Covering Norwalk and its five neighboring towns in an arc from Darien to Westport, single-family home sales fell 3% in 2021 to just under 3,900 transactions, according to data compiled by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties.

The shortage of available homes continues to put pressure on prices, following a year in 2021 where Norwalk sellers fetched an average of 1.2% more than their asking prices. For a home listed at $600,000 near the city’s median price, that would add about $7,000 more to the price.

Weston ranked among the cities with the largest increase in median price, up 36% from the 2020 median of $1.1 million.

During the second half of 2021, the majority of homes in Norwalk sold for between $400,000 and $750,000, but several fetched $4 million or more. Norwalk’s best sale of the year came in November, when a Wilson Point estate, formerly owned by real estate developer Carl Kuehner III, was purchased for just over $7 million.

A handful of properties in Westport, Darien and New Canaan also sold for more than $7 million last year.

Regardless of property values, homebuyers face the prospect of having to pay more on their mortgages, with the Federal Reserve signaling that it plans a series of interest rate hikes this year in a bid to contain the ‘inflation. This might prompt some to search more aggressively in the early months of the year to get a better rate.

“It will be interesting to see how this all pans out,” Phelps said.

[email protected]; 203-842-2545; @casoulman

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