22 Aug 2014
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Stamford Home Values Slip by $186K Since 2006

Home prices all over Fairfield County have dropped continuously since the market peaked in 2006, according to the UConn School of Business's Center for Real Estate and Urban Economic Studies. Here's a 2012 'State of the Real Estate' in Fairfield County.

Stamford Home Values Slip by $186K Since 2006

 

Much of the United States has been on a slow path to recovery following the "Great Recession," but recent real estate data reveal that Fairfield County home values have dropped continuously since 2006, when the market peaked.

According to the UConn School of Business’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Economic Studies, mid-tier* home values in 14 Fairfield County cities and towns have diminished by an average of nearly $250,000 since 2006.

Dr. John Glascock, director of the Center, blames the “severe downturn” in real estate on the national liquidity crisis, which led to the bankruptcy of large financial institutions like Lehman Brothers.

While some look back at the subprime mortgage crisis as a huge factor that lead to the Great Recession, Glascock said only 15 percent of the general economic calamity could be attributed to subprime mortgages.

Looking at the Fairfield County market, the town of Trumbull is the lone anomaly—its home values rose by a net increase of $20,000 between the first quarter to 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. The rest of the Fairfield County markets cited in the indices have seen, for the most part, quarter-to-quarter drops since 2007. Exceptions include a good quarter or few per town.  

Town

Last Increase in Mid-Tier Home Values

Bethel

2006 - Qtr 4

Danbury

2006 - Qtr 1

Darien

2011 - Qtr 1

Fairfield

2008 - Qtr 1

Greenwich

2010 - Qtr 4

Monroe

2011 - Qtr 3

New Canaan

2011 - Qtr 2

Newtown

2010 - Qtr 2

Norwalk

2011 - Qtr 1

Shelton

2011 - Qtr 4

Stamford

2010 - Qtr 4

Trumbull

2012 - Qtr 1

Westport

2011 - Qtr 2

Wilton

2011 - Qtr 1

[Editor’s Note: UConn’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Economic Studies produces and updates “constant quality” price indices for 69 towns in Connecticut, 14 of which represent markets in Fairfield County. The figures date back to 1999 and estimate the prices that homes with specific characteristics will sell for in a given quarter, thus neutralizing market demand and making it possible to compare year-to-year market information. See the bottom of the story for more data and charts.]

When Lehman Brothers failed, Glascock said, Real Estate Investment Trust Prices “dropped like a rock.” The dip in housing prices followed, along with climbing unemployment rates and a sour economy.

The combined liquidity crisis and high rate of unemployment contributed to the lasting housing downturn, Glascock said. “People will hold off on purchasing a home when there’s high unemployment.”

Local Real Estate Agents Weigh In

Local real estate agents agree. Cathy Masi, broker and president of , said that in 2009—the year when the national unemployment rate hit 10 percent and Connecticut’s hovered between 8 and 9 percent—“was a wasteland. Nothing was going on.”

Grim data aside, Glascock expects the market to begin to stabilize this year or next year. When that happens and prices start to creep up, “people will be rushing in to get the bottom price” on listed homes.

Taxes, particularly in Fairfield County, “make a big impact” on how the market will turn, according to William Raveis, founder, chairman, and CEO of , who operates out of a Raveis office in Southport.

“Taxes are killing everybody,” he said. “It’s almost too expensive to live here.”

Raveis thinks a true upturn won’t occur until 2013, partly due to tax rates acting as “ankle weights” on prospective buyers. He hopes new tax policies will help stabilize the state of real estate.

The state of the job market also plays a role in improving the markets. While Raveis cited the “huge opportunity” that the current market’s affordability factors—the depressed home prices and close-to-3-percent interest rates on mortgages—represent, he said only those prospective buyers who feel financially sound are jumping to buy.

“The only way buyers will seize opportunities will be if we can bring jobs to Connecticut,” Raveis said. 

Signs of Life in 2012 Spring Market

The early start of spring 2012, however, has shown some promising signs already. Raveis said the his company’s numbers for April look “pretty good.

They’re going north for the first time—there have been more transactions.”

Down in Greenwich, real estate agents at have seen a recent uptick in sales in that market, according to Managing Broker .

Realtors in her office have been taking two to three prospective buyers out each day to look at homes in the area. In fact, just minutes before speaking with Patch, Anderson heard from one of her top agents, who said one of her buyers found their dream home. At the same time one of the real estate agent’s listings had an accepted offer.

“I think it’s really moving now…it feels like we’re here, we made it,” Anderson said. “We’re feeling very optimistic and excited bout the wave of the market.”

Up in Newtown, Cathy Masi said she’s seen multiple offers on listed homes, something that hasn’t occurred in recent years. Demand for homes hasn’t quite reached a level that would mean a rise in home values and prices, but we’re slowly heading toward a balanced market, she said, because sales activity is getting closer to the number of homes for sale.

“Buyers want to get on with their lives; sellers want to get on with their lives. That’s the trend I’ve been seeing,” Masi said.

Appendix

Comparing Quarter 1 to Quarter 1 from 2006 to 2012 (2012 Q1 numbers were just released earlier in April)

YearBethelDanburyDarienFairfieldGreenwichMonroeNew CanaanNewtownNorwalkSheltonStamfordTrumbullWestportWilton  2006 $419,940 $372,764 $1,169,668 $559,908 $1,225,982 $478,195 $1,528,607 $472,665 $517,356 $510,164 $699,246 $492,563 $1,310,374 $898,833   2007 $419,940 $349,314 $1,126,463 $569,593 $1,163,741 $445,950 $1,468,065 $415,836 $496,935 $518,939 $676,137 $480,819 $1,320,192 $873,618   2008 $390,593 $322,863 $1,039,126 $570,570 $1,145,492 $439,624 $1,398,965 $378,852 $500,847 $492,331 $644,197 $394,882 $1,304,541 $856,939   2009 $357,300 $282,215 $878,361 $477,024 $952,343 $409,736 N/A $328,712 $400,757 $433,182 $547,279 $326,620 $1,081,408 N/A   2010 $320,296 $270,420 $851,357 $426,721 $942,268 $375,948 $1,181,401 $335,835 $392,016 $405,927 $541,092 $304,635 $1,013,565 $669,311   2011 $305,066 $242,899 $856,431 $415,810 $921,374 $364,489 $1,178,210 $327,825 $403,177 $388,693 $537,660 $270,216 $1,047,119 $676,393   2012 $278,470 $222,082 $796,603 $401,788 $905,918 $348,611 $995,549 $299,237 $321,980 $358,040 $512,703 $290,709 $933,288 $574,618  Net Increase/(Decrease) from Q1, 2006 to Q1, 2012($141,470)($150,682)($373,065)($158,120)($320,064)($129,584)($533,058)($173,428)($195,376)($152,124)($186,543)($201,854)($377,086)($324,215)Ave Net Decrease: $244,047.79Net Increase/(Decrease) from Q1, 2011 to Q1, 2012($26,596)($20,817)($59,828)($14,022)($15,456)($15,878)($182,661)($28,588)($81,197)($30,653)($24,957)$20,493($113,831)($101,775)Ave Net Decrease: $49,697.57

 

*Mid-Tier: Mid-tier describes the characteristics of homes in the “middle” of each market—those homes that fall into the middle of the range of square footage, age, and price within a town. See the attached PDF for details for each market in the state.

– Michael Dinan contributed to this report.

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