February 22, 2013
With House Prices Flat, Some See 'Stable' Market (Stratford Star)
By Greg Reilly

Unit sales of houses in Stratford in 2012 were even with sales in 2011, and average sales prices were flat as well, according to a report from Greater Fairfield County Consolidated MLS. The report counts single-family homes and condominiums together.

What one person calls a flat market Karin Stocknoff of the Casey Group at William Raveis Real Estate sees more favorably as a "stable" market.

"Buyers are willing to participate," she said, "but price is important."

Houses sold more quickly in 2012, on average, in the less-than-$200,000 price range and in the upper end, more than $400,000. Homes in the mid-range, $200,000 to $399,000, sold in about the same number of days in 2012 as they did in 2011.

Unit sales increased in the lower price range of the market, the largest segment. In 2012, 271 homes sold for less than $200,000, which is 13% more than sold in that range in 2011. Unit sales for the middle and upper price ranges declined in 2012.

Jerry Ward of William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty and Stocknoff attribute the increase in sales at the lower end, in part, to distressed sales - those where the owner's debt is larger than the market price or the property is bank-owned. Both agents agreed that these distressed sales kept down the average sales price.

Ward pointed to a decline in the number of homes on the market as a reason for the reduced "days on market."

"Last year at this time there was 15 months of inventory on the market," Ward said. "Now there are about five months." He called this "very positive."

Ward noted, "The upper end has been sitting off the market. I expect more inventory to come on, especially in upper end, and that will raise average price for the market."

Stocknoff also expects more homes to come on the market this year, and she predicted continued stability.

"Snow has a chilling effect on the market," Ward added, so the spring market might be later this year.

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