How are we doing?

The inventory of available homes for sale is down 3% when comparing the Greenwich real estate market in January of this year to January of last year.

Inventory is at its lowest level for January since January 2005. The price segment having the most significant decrease in inventory is homes priced between $1 million and $1,999,999. It decreased 21% from January 2013. But, on the other hand, Greenwich has a significant increase, 39%, in the inventory of homes between $6 million and $7,999,999.

The sales volume rose 53% in January of this year as compared to January last year. The largest market segment for sales in Greenwich was the $2 million to $2,999,999 range which increased 240%. The sales were of five units versus 17 units when comparing January of last year to this year.

The median sale price in Greenwich was $2,272,500 last month as compared to $1,162,500. A few sales in January of this year skewed the median price, including 5 Conyers Farm, which closed for $11,500,000.

According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), the majority of metropolitan areas across the country continued to experience strong year-over-year price growth in the last quarter of 2013. The median existing single-family home price across the nation increased in 73% of studied markets. There were fewer markets with price increases than in 2012.

The chief economist of NAR believes the majority of homeowners have realized gains in the equity of their homes since 2011. These gains have contributed to consumer spending and helped the economy. However, home prices have been increasing at a faster pace than incomes while mortgage rates are ticking up from the historical lows of a year ago. This is starting to adversely impact housing affordability.

The national median existing single-family home price was up 10.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013 from the fourth quarter of 2012. The median price increased 12.5% in the third quarter from the prior year. Another reason for the price growth is the tight supply of homes. The average supply during fourth quarter of last year was 4.9 months. It was 4.8 months in the fourth quarter of 2012. A supply of six to 6.5 months represents a rough balance between buyers and sellers.

As has been reported, new construction needs to increase in fast appreciating markets to ease home price increases. Housing starts in 2013 totaled 924,000 as compared to an average of 1.5 million units that are historically needed. Total existing-home sales decreased 7.8% in the fourth quarter of last year from the prior quarter, but were 0.8% above the fourth-quarter level of 2012.

National statistics are useful in understanding the real estate market’s impact on the overall economy. However, it’s the supply and demand of a neighborhood that enables buyers and sellers to get a more accurate read of their real estate market. Markets continue to have different characteristics across the nation.

Regionally, total existing-home sales in the Northeast decreased 7.1% in the fourth quarter of 2013, but they were 7.1% above the fourth quarter of 2012. The median existing single-family home price in the Northeast was up 5.5% from a year ago.

 

Mary Ann Clark is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker at 177 West Putnam Avenue in Greenwich. Questions or comments may be emailed to [email protected]  

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