We really struggled with this report. On the one hand area sales are looking good with strength in the $3 million range raising our January numbers. On the other hand the loss of GE, stock market volatility, an uncertain Fed, an increasingly uncertain election and State budget woes have translated into a wait-and-see attitude among buyers. With interest rates dropping, record high levels of inventory with more coming on every day, buyers are waiting and prices are dropping.
- Area Sales: Once again its a mixed bag across the county. Sales are up 1% and dollar volume down 1% with Darien, New Canaan and Stamford showing strength and Wilton and Westport soft.
- New Canaan market: We take note of the precipitous 44% decrease in Pending Sales from 25 to 14. It illustrates perfectly the anxiety buyers are feeling this month. Add only 6 more Pending Sales for the trailing 30 days (ending today) and you see that this is an awful start to 2016.
- New Canaan Inventory: In January inventory was up 47 houses. In February it's up 62 year over year. A whopping 33 houses came on the market in the first half of February alone. Surprisingly 24 out of 33 are new listings we did not see on the market last year. Unsold inventory from the end of last year has yet to re-emerge.
- Condos: Solid. 4 sales every month, 12 last quarter, 43 per year. Average price remains $870,000, reflecting continued demand for affordable housing in town. This is fresh inventory, turning over on average in 100 days. Of the 8 new listings this month we saw only 3 of them last year.
- Timing: We've told you 66% of homes listed in February sell within 90 days, making it the best month to list nationally. But, we found in New Canaan buyers typically wait until May and June to make a deal, as shown in the chart above. However, what you didn't know is the spread between asking price and sale price is larger when snow is on the ground, making January the best time to make an offer:
We told you interest rates will rise this Spring. Wow, were we wrong! We predicted the psychological impact of rising rates would stimulate a sense of urgency and drive more energy into the first quarter. Now its shaping up to look more like last Spring with most of the deal-making occurring late Spring. Predictions have cooled from 2.7% growth in prices in 2016 to plus or minus 1%.
Below is a link to the New Canaan February Market Report, and the Connecticut 4th Quarter Report, each of which includes detailed information on the market this past year. If you would like to discuss the report, or if you have any other questions, feel free to contact us at 203-247-4700 (JE) or 203-247-5999 (SE).
John and Susan