24 May Glimmer Of Hope Elusive In Real Estate Price Trends
(Paul Sakuma / Associated Press)
Surely, we’ve bottomed out, right?
With real estate prices taking a beating in nearly every Connecticut town during the recession, homeowners – and home sellers – would welcome any glimmer of hope that property values have resumed their traditional steady march upward.
But that hope can be hard to find in the Constitution State.
As one possible indicator of a stable and healthy housing market, The Courant isolated cities and towns where median sale prices for single-family homes grew between 2013 and 2015, and then grew again from 2015 to 2017. Similar nationwide data for counties suggests nearly 70 percent of the country has been able to sustain price growth over two two-year periods.
But for Connecticut towns: It’s barely 20 percent.
Just 35 cities and towns in the state saw median price growth in both two-year periods, with roughly half growing by less than 10 percent over the entire four-year period.
So which direction to aim the U-Haul and go shopping for a mortgage? Not so fast. The towns that made the list have little in common, and nothing to suggest that one area of the state – or one sector of the housing market – makes for a safe bet.
The towns with rising prices in both two-year periods are geographically diverse – literally touching or nearly touching the four corners of the state, and with all eight counties represented.There are rural, suburban and urban communities, and they come in all sizes, from tiny Canaan – the state’s second-smallest municipality – to Bridgeport – the state’s largest.They cover a range of price tags. Nearly a third of towns had median sale prices below $200,000 in 2017, while about the same number had median prices above $320,000, including two – Westport and New Canaan – that topped $1 million.
Finding any commonality is tough. While the towns with continuous growth are generally scattered around the state, there are a handful of contiguous towns that made the list, including a string of five connected Hartford County towns – Windsor, Bloomfield, Simsbury, Granby and Hartland. Those municipalities, however, have little in common other than connecting borders.
And four very small towns – Sprague, Morris, Scotland and Hartland – had the most dramatic price growth over the four years, with median prices rising more than 25 percent. But the small number of sales in those towns may have skewed the results.
One clear common feature: The enduring price growth does not mean those towns have recovered from the late-2000s pain. Despite four years of growth, only two – the rural burgs of Hartland and Woodstock – have seen prices fully recover and reach the median prices they saw in 2007, before the recession hit.
In addition to those mentioned above, the following towns saw median-price growth from both 2013 to 2015 and 2015 to 2017: Bolton, Brookfield, Cheshire, Derby, East Hampton, East Lyme, Ellington, Enfield, Fairfield, Goshen, Killingly, Lisbon, Middlefield, Monroe, New Britain, Newington, Newtown, North Haven, Seymour, Sterling, Stonington and Thompson.