Friday, May 17, 2024


Real Estate Report: Westport Defies National Trend

By Judy Szablak

The latest Standard & Poor/Case-Shiller Home Price Index out today shows national prices falling for the eighth consecutive month –- but not in Image
Westport sales improving. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed graphic

Moreover, with major metropolitan areas showing no end to the declines in sight, the first five months of Westport’s real estate market show an upward movement.

Defying the national trend, Westport is even showing a fairly steady increase since its five-year low in 2009.

And that can very well be because our town is much unlike any other metro area in the country. Westport has exceeded national housing sales activity, and remains quite an attractive town for home buyers.

It’s no understatement that predicting the real estate market is a special art. Yet we can look back on prior years’ statistics and try to deduce from past patterns what may be expected in the months to come.

The main items to look at are pricing, sales, market time, and total volume, as they all play a vital role in anticipating the market, along with variables as economic stability and local or regional concerns or benefits.

If we look at 2011 year-to-date statistics and review them over the past five years, it’s easy to see that indeed, the market is picking up and has steadily increased since its five-year low in 2009.

In 2009, the average sales price was $1,419,436. For 2011 so far, it’s only $7,200 less.

The BIG difference here is that the total dollar volume for the first quarter of 2009 is just 53 percent of the $75,704,150 reported in the first quarter of 2011.

That’s a significant change, and although we can sense that the market is improving steadily, those numbers don’t lie, and it’s all good news.

Of course, we would all like to see those 2006 numbers, and actually, the 2011 figures are edging closer to the 2008 market. The average days on market is close to the 2008 figures as well.

Review the annual figures, you will also notice that the second quarter historically is better transaction-wise than the first.

And in 2011, we had severe weather to contend with in the first quarter which probably put a slight damper on sales. That being the case, we have still rebounded from Mother Nature quite well this year.

Average sales prices had their five year peak in 2008, although market time was the longest in this five-year period. Higher priced homes do take longer to sell, so this is no surprise, and 2008 was a better year for the upper tier market.

As we review prices over the five-year period, so far 2011 is not doing as well as a comparison graph might indicate.

But remember, we have more than two quarters to go, and the fact that prices are even somewhat in accordance with the past few years is a tremendous sign that we are getting back to a neutral market.

After seeing “a sellers market” come and go, we all tend to forget what a neutral market is because we keep comparing the statistics of the day to that bustling market.

When we finally get into a neutral market, it still seems slow because of that very same comparison.

In my opinion, we are approaching a neutral market, and the outlook is very good for the months ahead and the foreseeable future, based upon historical data. Now, a look at the latest weekly data:

Homes:  The average list price is $2,134,470 in Westport, and the median list price for a single family home is currently $1,549,999. As of this morning, there are 362 homes available, and they have been listed for sale an average of 99 days.

Twenty eight new listings came on the market this week. Nine properties had a price change, and 12 properties have gone under the initial deposit stage, which we call CTS.

Nine properties went into pending status, which means that the conditions have been satisfied, and the property is scheduled to close.

Closings: Nine properties sold this past week, and they had an average list price of $1,145,604 and were on the market an average of 75 days. There were 91 status changes in the last week.

Condos: The 23 condominiums that are available have been listed an average of 95 days, and have an average price of $628,817, and the median price of a condo in Westport remains at $575,000. No new listings came on the market this week.

Closings: Two condominiums closed in the last week with an average list price of $467,450. There were six status changes in the last seven days.

Rentals: If you are looking to rent year round, either furnished or unfurnished, there are 74 homes or apartments available. The median price is $4,225 per month and the average price is $5,473 per month.

These year round rental opportunities have been on the market an average of 43 days.

There still is a variety of seasonal rentals to choose from throughout town. As of this morning, there are 34 opportunities available and they have been on the market an average of 53 days, and at an average price of $12,620 .

The median price of both furnished and unfurnished seasonal rentals is $11,250.

Source: Market Data is compiled from the GFC-CMLS and represents activity through our local MLS system. Private sales are not included in these statistics

Home of the Week: This stunning colonial sits majestically on 1.05 acres at 178 Hillspoint Road overlooking Mill Pond. Listed at $5,494,500, this custom-crafted shingle-style home by well-known builder Don Miro has breathtaking views from most rooms. Image
This stunning colonial sits majestically on 1.05 acres at 178 Hillspoint Road overlooking Mill Pond. Listed at $5,494,500. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Photo courtesy of Fite Shavell & Associates

With almost 8,000 square feet of living area, this 12-room, six bedroom home has four full and three half baths. A spectacular center hall foyer and staircase showcase some of the extensive custom millwork that is throughout the home, including many rooms with coffered ceilings, arched entryways and specialty wood paneling.

Exceptional in taste and construction, the pride of workmanship is evident, and lends an unsurpassed warmth and charm to this elegant and already special home. There are four fireplaces, a Gunite pool, and exercise room, as well as a state of the art heating and cooling system. Taxes are $42,553 annually.

Listing/photo courtesy of Fite Shavell & Associates.
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(Editor’s Note: Judy Szablak of RE/MAX- Fairfield County CT Realtor since 1984 is author of “The Art of Buying or Selling a Home,” and is featured on HGTV’s real estate show, “Desperate to Buy.” Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or visit her blog at

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