Fairfield County’s housing market continued to resemble a seesaw during the final three months of 2017, with the highest quantity of fourth-quarter sales in 13 years balanced against the lowest inventory in 17 years, according to a quarterly report by Douglas Elliman Real Estate. And capping the quarter were three sales that broke the $20 million mark.
The average fourth-quarter sales price in Fairfield County for all residential properties, including single-family homes and condominiums, was $696,086, 5.6 percent higher than the third quarter and 21.2 percent above the $574,541 average price from the fourth quarter of 2016.
The median sales price for all residential properties in the county was $390,000, a 4.9 percent drop from the $410,000 level in the third quarter but up 4.8 percent from the $372,000 price one year earlier.
A total of 2,743 sales closed in the fourth quarter, down 18.4 percent from 3,361 in the third quarter but up 8.2 percent from 2,536 in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Properties sold in the fourth quarter were listed on the market an average of 129 days, up from 119 for the third quarter and 112 in the fourth quarter of 2016. Listed inventory in the fourth quarter totaled 3,839 properties, a 31.6 percent plunge from 5,611 in the previous quarter and a 7.6 percent drop from the previous year’s closing quarter.
Among property types, the average sales price for a single-family Fairfield County home in the fourth quarter was $810,272, a 7.7 percent increase from the third quarter and a 24.9 percent upswing from one year earlier. The median fourth-quarter sales price was $457,000, down from $470,000 in the third quarter but an increase from $422,000 in the fourth quarter of 2016.
A total of 2,067 single family homes were sold, down from 2,952 single-family house sales in the third quarter but a 30 percent increase from sales volume in the fourth quarter last year.
Among the Fairfield County submarkets, Greenwich recorded the highest average fourth-quarter sales price for a single-family home at $2.8 million. Greenwich also had the highest average sales price on condos at $1.1 million.
LUXURY HOME PRICES SOAR
In the county’s luxury homes market, the average fourth-quarter sales price was $2.98 million, up 19.3 percent from the third quarter and a nearly 40 percent increase from the previous year. The $2.2 million median sales price for luxury homes was up 12.8 percent from the third quarter and 26.7 percent higher than the $1.73 million median price in the fourth quarter of 2016.
Sales activity in the luxury market slumped from 341 properties sold in the third quarter to 279 in the fourth quarter. But the market in the closing quarter of 2017 was was up 7.3 percent from the fourth quarter
Highlighting Fairfield’s luxury market was a trio of fourth quarter sales that surpassed the $20 million mark. The properties, all in Greenwich, were 116 Oneida Drive, which sold for $20.37 million; 25 Lower Cross Road, sold for $21 million, and 9 Sabine Farm Road, which sold for $25 million.
“That’s something we’ve not seen in a very long time,” said Scott Durkin, president and COO of Douglas Elliman. “We have serious sellers who are willing to negotiate and agents encouraging buyers to get a dialogue moving and get sales done.”
Julianne C. Ward, a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices in Greenwich, speculated that homebuyers are more at ease with today’s market and with themselves. “People are more comfortable purchasing a home now, versus last year,” she said. “People have money to spend — of course, they always had it, but now they have a little more. They are also confident in the economy, and prices are going down.”
David H. Haffenreffer, brokerage manager of Houlihan Lawrence’s Greenwich office, said the fourth-quarter housing market results made great publicity for Fairfield County. “At a time when we’re getting a lot of headlines about the uber wealthy moving out of the state for tax reasons, this shows that people are moving into the state,” he said.
However, Peter Hastings, principal at Hastings Real Estate in Wilton, noted that the luxury market is not without lingering difficulties. “There are too many houses in the luxury market,” he said. “And certain towns are faring better than others. The waterfront communities are doing better than other areas.”