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Tough Times Continue for Fairfield Real Estate

FAIRFIELD, Conn. – Fairfield’s weekly property sales lists may frequently be topped with seven-figure home sales. But 2011 ended on another rough note for the town’s real estate market. Judy Szablak, a Realtor with Re/Max in Westport and author of the CT Realty Blog , did not like what she saw in the market’s statistics to end 2011.

“Although it may look initially that prices have risen in some segments of the market, other markets within Fairfield appear to have lost ground,” Szablak said. “Certain sales can skew statistics out of probable proportion and have to be looked at and analyzed quite closely before a true overview and forecast can be given. What I am saying is don't get too excited just yet.”

Fairfield prices continued to fall in 2011, according to data from real estate market watchers Trulia. During the last quarter of 2011, the median sale price in the town was $426,000. That was a sharp decline from the previous quarter’s average price of $502,750. It was also 2.1 percent drop from the same stretch over 2010.

Fewer homes sold during that stretch of time than in years past as well. Trulia’s numbers show 46 residential sales from October through December 2011. That represents a 62.6 percent drop compared with the same span in 2010.

The numbers were especially grim when taking into account home sizes. The average cost per square foot of a home in Fairfield from October to December was $293, or a 19.1 percent drop from 2010. The figure had not been below $300 for nearly two years.

The town’s homeowners, however, appear optimistic about the market’s chances of recovering. Despite the declines, initial listing prices actually increased at the end of 2011. The average listing price last week was $1,063,604.

A Greater Fairfield County Connecticut Multiple Listing Service report had similar data about current home sales but included an optimistic outlook on the future. The report cited the addition of 2,430 jobs in Fairfield County over the second quarter of 2011 as a positive factor. “This steady job creation will help buyer confidence and fuel home purchases down the road,” the report says.

Szablak maintained an optimistic outlook as well. “Historically, presidential elections have brought about increased real estate activity,” she wrote. “And coupled with low interest rates and increasing consumer confidence, I expect that 2012 will surpass last year’s sales in volume and pricing gains, and fully expect that we have a very good probability to gain more ground in value by the end of this year.”

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