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August 20, 2019Cart

Business

by Fairfield County Business Journal
by FCBJ

Sales levels fall again in Fairfield County housing market

A house for sale in the town of Fairfield. Photo by Phil Hall

Fairfield County’s single-family housing market got off to a rocky start in the first quarter of this year, according to data released by Douglas Elliman Real Estate, with the average sales price recording a year-over-year decline for the seventh consecutive quarter and the number of sales decreasing for the fifth consecutive quarter.

The county’s luxury market was also battered, with the average size of a luxury sale shrinking for the fourth time in the past five quarters.

The average sales price in Fairfield County for all residential properties during the first quarter was $545,179, down from the $592,933 in the fourth quarter of 2018 and down from the $636,369 in the first quarter of 2018. The median sales price of $359,450 marked a drop from the $375,000 in the previous quarter and was 6.6% lower than the $385,000 from one year earlier.

The number of closed sales for all residential properties during the first quarter totaled 1,968, a 25.2% drop from the 2,632 closed sales in the fourth quarter, but only a 2.6% decline from the 2,021 closed sales in the first quarter of 2018. The average number of days on market totaled 137 in the first quarter, up from the 113 days in the previous quarter and slightly lower than the 145 days from one year earlier.

The average sales price for a single-family Fairfield County home in the first quarter was $618,118, down from the $677,398 in the fourth quarter, and a 17.7% drop from the $751,434 in the first quarter of 2018. The median single-family sales price in the first quarter was $420,000, unchanged from the previous quarter and down from the $466,500 one year earlier.

Elwell

A total of 1,446 single-family homes were sold in the first quarter, which was lower than the 1,960 sales in the fourth quarter and the 1,484 sales in last year’s first quarter. And as sales were down, the inventory was up: 3,860 properties were listed in the first quarter, compared with 3,429 in the previous quarter and 3,739 one year earlier.

The average sales price for condos in Fairfield County during the first quarter was $343,127, slightly below the $346,068 price from the fourth quarter, but a 7.8% increase from the $318,388 in the first quarter of 2018. The first quarter’s median sales price of $265,000 represented a 2.7% uptick from the previous quarter’s $258,000, and a 6% rise from the $250,000 price set one year earlier.

There were 673 condos sold in the first quarter, compared with 673 in the fourth quarter and 537 in 2018’s first quarter. This sector’s active inventory of 832 properties was higher than the previous quarter’s 743 but below the 870 listed one year earlier.

In Fairfield County’s luxury market – which combines both single-family properties and condos for its total data – the average first-quarter sales price was $1.99 million, down  from the fourth quarter’s $2.3 million and a 23.5% fall from the $2.6 million price set in the first quarter of last year. The median sales price of $1.58 million was lower than the previous quarter’s $1.8 million and 20.7% lower than the $1.99 million price from one year earlier.

Sales activity in the luxury market totaled 197 properties, compared with 267 in the previous quarter and 203 one year before. The first quarter’s active listing inventory of 1,607 properties was higher than the 1,109 in the fourth quarter and the 1,509 one year earlier.

Among the Fairfield County submarkets, Greenwich recorded the highest average sales prices for a single-family home at $2.3 million and for a condo at $960,000. Greenwich’s condo sales have been rising for three of the last four quarters, while its single-family sales level fell to the lowest first-quarter total in eight years.

“We are seeing continued declines in sales size in Greenwich, as well as all of Fairfield County, as buyers showed more interest in smaller-sized properties on the low end of the market,” said Scott Elwell, Douglas Elliman’s senior executive regional manager of Westchester and New England. “This has spurred sales activity in the Greenwich condo market, and by comparison, the single family and luxury markets appeared to weaken. It’s still unclear if this will be a long-term trend or if we’re observing volatility as the market adjusts to the tax law impact.”