FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Real estate sales in Fairfield County continued their strong growth in the third quarter, with closed sales improving 28 percent from the same quarter in 2012 and under contract sales jumping 59 percent, according to a report published by William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty.
“There’s nothing startling in the report,’’ said Brad Kimmelman, brokerage manager for William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Southport. “We are absolutely moving in the right direction. We saw a huge improvement over last year. Overall, we are enjoying a revitalization of the real estate market in Fairfield County, and across the country.”
The William Pitt Sotheby’s International report showed strength across the board, with closed sales running 68 percent higher for the third quarter in Ridgefield, 50 percent higher in Redding, 45 percent higher in the town of Fairfield and 40 percent higher in Danbury.
The closed dollar volume rose 31 percent in the quarter over the same time frame last year, with Weston (up 57 percent), Ridgefield (up 56 percent) and Westport (up 39 percent) among the top communities in the county.
Median sales price rose 6 percent for single-family homes in Fairfield County for the third quarter, to $500,000, according to the report from William Pitt Sotheby’s. In Wilton and Ridgefield, median single family home prices rose 17 percent, while Westport prices jumped 12 percent. In the past year, the median price for single family homes in Fairfield County has jumped 7 percent.
“The 7 percent increase in the average sales price is great,’’ said Molly Lane, who works for William Raveis Homes in Westport. “The rest of the country is down about a half a percent, another indicator that the market is strong.”
Lane said the historically low interest rates continue to help the real estate market. “For someone who is putting 20 percent down with a good credit rating, they could get a 30-year fixed mortgage for about 4.125 percent. That’s even lower than it was a few months ago,’’ Lane said. "If the rates continue to remain at historic lows, that would be great. It’s a good harbinger for the spring market.”
Kimmelman said one of the most encouraging aspects of the market growth is the steady increase. “Consumer confidence is up, and I think we’re going to see the market hold steady but not increase dramatically,’’ he said. “We don’t want double-digit growth year after year. We want to see a nice, healthy progression.”
Typically, there is some seasonality in real estate and summer tends to be slower. That was not the case this year. “Closings are up in the third quarter for single-family homes in both Connecticut and Rhode Island, which is significant due to the fact that we have not experienced the seasonality in the market for the third quarter which generally tends to decline,” said Terence Beaty, director of new homes and land for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services New England Properties.
High-end homes are also beginning to move a little more quickly in Fairfield County, Kimmelman said, and inventory levels continue to decline. The condominium market is also contributing to the gains.
Berkshire Hathaway Home Services New England Properties Third Quarter 2013 Market Report indicates that the luxury market, identified as those properties worth $2 million or more has been growing throughout the year. Sales of high-end single family homes rose 13.2 percent to 378 in Connecticut. Fairfield County closed most of the business. The strongest sales growth in this category was in Greenwich, Westport and Darien.
“This has been another upbeat quarter as far as real estate goes,” said Diane M. Ramirez, Chief Executive Officer of Halstead Property. “Though prices only increased modestly, it is still a positive trend overall. We were pleased to see the huge upswing in sales in some of the markets and in the decline in days on the market in many of the towns that reported.”
“We are optimistic that the market has balanced. Although pending sales went down slightly in September, interest rates remain historically low and prices remain stable,’’ said Candace Adams, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services New England Properties. “We anticipate there will be a balanced market through the end of the year.”