FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Despite dreary weather, first-quarter residential real estate statistics looked encouraging for Fairfield County homeowners, especially in Danbury and Ridgefield, where the number of sales increased.
Single-family home sales jumped 13 percent in Fairfield County for the first quarter, compared with the same time frame last year, according to the first-quarter report from William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty. Days on market declined by 8 percent. The median selling price fell 3 percent countywide, down to $394,000 from $405,000 in the first quarter of 2014.
“It’s hard to encapsulate the first quarter,’’ said Rick Higgins, CEO of Higgins Group. “It was like three different periods -- before the snow, the snow and after the snow. Since March it has been pretty busy. The spring market has started to take off.”
The William Pitt Sotheby’s report said there were 1,288 closed sales in Fairfield County in the first quarter, and dollar volume approached $1 billion, which was the figure for the pre-recession years from 2004-07.
In Danbury, single-family home sales rose 21 percent compared with the first quarter in 2014. Days on market fell 19 percent to 100, one of the lowest totals in the county. The median sale price rose 1 percent compared with the same quarter last year, and the 12-month median sale price stayed flat at $256,000. Inventory fell 38 percent, and the eight-month supply is one of the lowest totals in Fairfield County.
Ridgefield single-family home sales increased 4 percent -- from 45 to 47 -- but other figures declined. The median sale price fell 9 percent compared with the first quarter in 2014 and 6 percent for the 12-month period that ended in March. The 12-month median sale price for a single-family home at the end of March was $641,000, which is $40,000 less than at the end of the first quarter in 2014.
Peg Koellmer, principal broker-owner of Realty Seven in Wilton, said many homeowners could not list properties until March due to the snowy weather.
“For the first 2 ½ months of a three-month quarter, you couldn’t see if a house had a pool. I’d stand in the house and say, ‘Are there gardens?’ I couldn’t tell because there was so much snow.”
The first-quarter report from William Pitt said low interest rates and a strong economy bode well for the rest of the year.
“Pending sales were a full 78 percent higher than the first quarter of 2014 as buyers took advantage of the strong economy and low interest rates to secure new housing. Both local buyers and relocating buyers were active in the marketplace very early in the season, mirroring 2014 patterns,’’ the report said.
The delayed spring market could spark a strong second quarter. Gregg Wagner, Coldwell Banker's regional vice president in Fairfield County, said there are already encouraging signs.
"We thought a lot of the demand might be shifted to the second quarter, and so far that is coming true,'' Wagner said. "It could be a really dynamite second quarter. It has all the trappings for just that. I think this is going to be the most important quarter for the year."
Click here for the William Pitt Sotheby’s market report. The first-quarter report from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties is attached as a PDF.
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