Realtors Remain Upbeat After Dip In Home Sales In New Canaan

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- The total number of home sales may have dipped in the second quarter in New Canaan and Darien, but Realtors believe the real estate marketplace is healthy and stable.

Sales fell in the second quarter in Darien and New Canaan compared to the same time frame in 2013, but realtors are convinced the market remains healthy.
Sales fell in the second quarter in Darien and New Canaan compared to the same time frame in 2013, but realtors are convinced the market remains healthy. Photo Credit: Daily Voice File Photo

“I think there was concern in the first quarter and the early part of the second quarter,’’ said Liz Bacon office leader and sales manager in Darien for Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties. “June was gangbusters. We’re feeling a lot more confident. It has been a confusing market because we’re getting things back in balance. Now we have inventory, and we’re in the process of getting everything back in sync.”

Single-family home sales fell 24 percent in New Canaan compared with the second quarter in  2013, according to the quarterly report from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England. Single-family home sales in Darien fell 12.3 percent.

Dollar volume was down 20 percent in the second quarter in Darien compared with last year, and New Canaan was down 6 percent. For the first six months, Darien’s dollar volume was down 6 percent for the first six months compared with 2013, while New Canaan’s dollar volume improved 8 percent.

Fairfield County as a whole struggled to match the second quarter of 2013. William Pitt’s quarterly report reported a 6 percent decline in sales of single-family homes and in dollar volume. The complete report from William Pitt is online. The Berkshire Hathaway report is attached as a PDF.

“Prices are recovering a little bit,’’ said Rachel Walsh of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty. "It’s hard to say if it’s volume of sales or buyers. My feeling is the buyers are becoming more and more picky. Even if a house is well priced, they want to negotiate.”

Walsh said the “sweet spot” for New Canaan real estate is the $1 million to $2 million market, where 70 homes in that price range have sold this year, with 46 of those sales in the second quarter.

One surprising twist in New Canaan is the increasing popularity of the condominium market. Sales improved 69 percent compared with the second quarter last year, and the average sales price jumped 3.7 percent from last year. Days on market dropped 26.4 percent to 128 days, according to the Berkshire Hathaway report.

“In New Canaan, there is sense that people want to be urbanized,’’ Walsh said. “They want to live near town, and within walking distance to schools and the train. They want convenience.”

Walsh said the trend has been developing in the past few years, as storms have made caring for big properties more costly and time consuming. “The No.1 amenity people want now is a generator,’’ she said. "Five years ago, that wasn’t even a thought.”

Bacon said that despite the second quarter numbers, she believes the final numbers at the end of the year will be balanced.

“In the beginning of the second quarter everyone got a little excited,’’ Bacon said. “Some of the sellers got a little ambitious and the buyers rocked back on their heels. Now we’re seeking a little bit of normalcy come back into the relationship. Maybe that’s why the balance of the year will have a more familiar feel.”

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