Photo: Hearst Connecticut Media
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WILTON — The residential real estate market in 2018 wasn’t especially bright for Wilton, and 2019 wasn’t any better. The same can be said for lower Fairfield County.
There is continued sales resistance for higher-end homes, but a local real estate expert said things are picking up.
On the positive side, residential real estate sales in Wilton were up 13.1 percent from 2018, according to a report by Halstead Real Estate.
There were 223 closings for single-family homes in Wilton in 2019, compared to 206 in 2018.
But the total sales volume for single-family homes was down —$176,878,163 in 2019, compared to $177,783,525 in 2018.
Purchase prices were also down. The average sales price in 2019 was $759,136, compared to $867,153 in 2018, a 12.5-percent decrease.
The largest number of home sales in Wilton for 2019 was in the under $500,000 to $700,000 range, with 53 house sold, followed by 22 in the $800,000 to $900,000 range.
The fewest sales were in the $1.5-million to $2-million range, with 11 houses sold in 2019, compared to 16 in 2018. Sales also declined in the $1 million to $1.5 million range with 21 houses sold in 2019, compared to 28 in 2018.
Wilton condominium sales also decreased. There were 21 condo closings in 2019, compared to 29 in 2018. The average condo closing price was $368,210 in 2019, compared to $409,190 in 2018, a 10 percent decrease.
Lower Fairfield County
Overall, the real estate market was sluggish in 2019 for other towns in lower Fairfield County.
For Wilton and neighboring towns — Darien, Easton, Fairfield, New Canaan, Redding, Ridgefield, Weston, and Westport — the total number of single-family house closings in 2019 was collectively up 4 percent from 2018.
Of those nine towns, four experienced a positive growth in home sales in 2019: Darien up 5.8 percent, Fairfield 4.9 percent, New Canaan 13.4 percent, and Wilton 13.1 percent.
Five towns saw a decrease in home sales: Easton down 3.3 percent, Redding 6.2 percent, Ridgefield 0.9 percent, Weston 2.4 percent and Westport 13.9 percent.
However, the dollar value of the closings in those towns was collectively down 6.3 percent from 2018.
Looking at median closing prices, Wilton had the sharpest median price decline, down 12.1 percent from 2018. Darien was next, down 8.1 percent, followed by New Canaan at 7.3 percent, Fairfield at 7.1 percent, Easton at 5.5 percent, Redding at 4.7 percent, Weston at 2.6 percent, Ridgefield at 1.7 percent, and Westport at 0.9 percent.
Last year, John DiCenzo of Halstead Real Estate, whose territory includes Wilton, predicted sales would lag in 2019, as they did in 2018. He told The Bulletin in January 2019: “Expect more of the same in 2019. Sales have also slowed in New York City, which is a strong feeder market for the county.”
Fairfield County saw a sharp decline in real estate sales following the 2008 financial banking crisis, and has been in slow recovery mode ever since, not reaching the levels where it once was.
With higher-priced homes feeling greater sales resistance in lower Fairfield County, the same can be said across the country. Across the United States, lower-price properties and starter homes have been the best performing segment in many markets, according to a report by CoreIndex.
But DiCenzo is not forecasting doom and gloom, in fact he is optimistic. “I think the market is very similar to what it was a year ago. The difference is, we seem to have more energy,’’ he said.
He noted that pending sales, agreements under contract or binder, are currently up.
“For the towns included in this analysis, pending sales are up 31.8 percent, compared to one year ago, which may bode well for the spring market. That energy is a distinction from what we were seeing a year ago,” he said.
Halstead Real Estate’s data for this story was sourced from the Connecticut Smart MLS and Greenwich MLS.