Stamford, Norwalk top property sales in 2022

About 31,100 homes and condominiums sold in Connecticut between January and September, down 7,000 from the first nine months of 2021, according to calculations by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties.

Although this was a 16.6% drop, it was a slight improvement from the 17.4% year-over-year drop that Berkshire Hathaway had calculated for the first six months. of 2022 compared to the previous year.

Buyers are still paying more than sellers are asking on average in most cities and towns, but with fewer bidding wars than during the initial exodus from New York in the first two years of the coronavirus pandemic. COVID-19. The median home price sold in Connecticut was nearly $350,000, up 7.7% from the midpoint home sold price between January and September 2021. The average price in Connecticut has rose by a smaller margin to $533,000, reflecting slower volume for the top tier of luxury home sales.

“You have more people who can afford median values ​​between $500,000 and $750,000,” said Paul Breunich, CEO of Stamford-based William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty. “If we had double the inventory, we would have double the sales.”

Breunich added that he thinks Connecticut will see continued activity in the fall market.

A sustained employment boom has helped. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated on Friday that U.S. employers added 263,000 jobs in September, bringing the unemployment rate down to the record high of 3.5% it hit in July.

But mortgage borrowers are taking on much more debt. On Thursday, Freddie Mac reported a national average rate of 6.66% on a 30-year fixed mortgage, down slightly from the previous week but still 3.1 percentage points above the 30-year rate at the beginning of this year.

For those looking to buy for the first time, rent inflation is prompting many to borrow at higher rates in hopes of being able to refinance in a few years expecting the Federal Reserve reduce its prime rate.

“Mortgage rates affect things at some level, but demand always outstrips supply,” Breunich said. “People are just looking for places to live, and the inventory is so sparse.”

OPEC’s decision to cut oil production further fuels economic uncertainty, signaling the end of a recent decline in fuel prices as the winter heating season begins.

Speaking Thursday at a workforce development conference in Southington, the CEO of the Connecticut Business & Industry Association stressed the need for Connecticut policymakers to redouble their efforts to find ways to reduce the cost of living in Connecticut, which he says is preventing employers from filling many of their open jobs.

“Connecticut is at a critical juncture right now – over the past year it has become clear that labor shortages pose the greatest threat to our economic recovery,” said Chris DePentima, CEO of CBIA. .

And BLS surveys suggest more people are returning to their workplaces, which could impact Connecticut’s real estate market down to New Yorkers who may still be considering a cross-border move under deals. flexible work. The BLS reported that 5.2% of survey respondents nationwide said they worked remotely in September, down from 6.5% in August.

Remote work sparked a housing boom as Connecticut sales hit a record 53,322 transactions in 2021, a slight increase from 2020 according to Wallingford-based SmartMLS, which oversees Connecticut market listings with broker support. In 2019, sales fell just below the 44,000 flat threshold of the previous year.

Stamford continues to be the biggest magnet with just over 1,250 homes and condos sold in the first three quarters of 2022 to bring the total since the start of 2020 to 4,500 homes sold. Waterbury is second in sales over the 33 months with around 3,325 transactions, 100 more than Norwalk.

Bridgeport and New Haven saw their sales decline by less than 10%. And Hartford’s relatively small home sales market has bucked the trend with sales up 9% so far this year to nearly 320 units sold. The median home price sold and the overall average were both below $200,000.

Bristol overtook several other cities and towns to enter Connecticut’s top 10 markets for total transactions, with just over 675 transactions over nine months about even with its total from a year earlier.

Fairfield County’s “Gold Coast” towns saw sales fall more sharply from earlier pandemic totals, but with buyer demand still high by historical standards. Greenwich sales fell 35% in the first nine months of the year to just over 650 transactions, with Darien and New Canaan absorbing larger declines.

“The high end is moving a lot more than in the past – that’s why there’s such a big increase in dollar volume,” Breunich said. “It’s not totally the result of the New York buyer, but the influx of New Yorkers is still there, and in my opinion it will continue.”

Includes earlier reports by Dan Haar, Paul Schott and Luther Turmelle.

[email protected]; @casoulman

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