Southwestern Connecticut remains mired near the trough of the United States for momentum in its real estate market, as measured by the prices fetched by the median homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2016 and for the entire year.
The National Association of Realtors ranked the Fairfield County area in the bottom dozen major metropolitan areas nationally for median home sale price movement in 2016. NAR calculated the area’s median home sale last year at $373,500, off 1.1 percent from the median home sold in 2015.
Nationwide as calculated by depreciation over two years, only Atlantic City, N.J., and the New York City metropolitan areas having seen a sharper drop in median home sale values than Fairfield County’s 6.1 percent free fall, with the Milford-New Haven corridor only one rung higher at 5.8 percent.
Price comparisons in any one town can fluctuate quarter to quarter, due to the relatively small data sets involved, but over time median prices can provide an indicator of overall momentum. Across the southwestern Connecticut region in 2016, only Fairfield and Milford strung together four consecutive quarters of gains in median home sale price on a year-over-year basis, as tracked by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties.
Darien, Greenwich and Bridgewater suffered the inverse as the only three southwestern Connecticut towns to register year-over-year dents in the prices of the median homes sold in each quarter of 2016.
“First quarter, fantastic; second quarter, very good — it really began to taper off as we got into the third and fourth quarters,” said Bruce Baker, an agent in the Darien and Rowayton offices of William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, in an interview last week with Hearst Connecticut Media. “Usually in the third and fourth quarter you will find price points … begin to slide anyway.
“There is always less business on the high end traditionally — within the core price points over $2 million in the third and fourth quarters — because a lot of people spending that kind of money would rather wait and see what the new inventory is coming on the market the next year.”
The National Association of Realtors determined that more than half of the U.S. markets it analyzed are now at peak prices, with NAR tracking data back to 2005.
Alex.Soule@scni.com; 203-354-1047; www.twitter.com/casoulman