Ridgefield’s 2017 Mid-Year Market Report

The first half of 2017 had sellers chomping at the bit to get their homes on the market early and take advantage of the relatively mild weather. Buyers were also out in full force looking to move when the school year ended and take advantage of the increased inventory. A very wet spring curtailed some of the action but unit sales have still surpassed 2016 by 17%, which is encouraging for steady growth. While home values have not risen, we have seen a competitive marketplace with multiple offers and homes selling for more than the asking price on numerous occasions. Also interesting is the segmentation that seems to be occurring in the market with the greatest gains seen in the $500,000-$600,000 and the $800,000-$900,000 categories. This is encouraging for middle-class families who are looking to upsize, downsize or move to the area for our wonderful schools, low crime, superb cultural offerings, family-friendly lifestyle, and proximity to major commerce centers.

Ridgefield Market Snapshot
Overall, the first half of 2017 has been a success for the Ridgefield Real Estate market. Unit sales increased 17.1% from January to June 2017 with 178 parcels selling compared to 152 in the first half of 2016. Total sales volume was also up 6.1% from $118,218,854 last year to $125,453,815 in 2017. The majority of home sales were priced under $1 million. If the market continues at its current pace, we are on track to match or exceed last year’s results.

Sellers Or Buyers Market
Inventory hit a record low in June 2017 with only six months worth of housing available for purchase. While this would suggest a sellers market, it does not yet seem to be playing out that way. The mid-year Sales-to-List Price Ratio held steady at 96.8%, slightly up from 2016’s 96.2%. However, pricing and the condition of the home still seem to be the key to selling with buyers using technology to assess for themselves what they think a property is worth. Sellers are also becoming increasingly savvy by staging and upgrading their homes for a quicker, more profitable sale.

Prices Holding Steady
The Median Sales Price for a single-family home in Ridgefield decreased by 5.0% from $660,000 in the first half of 2016 to $627,000 during the same time period in 2017. The average sales price also decreased from $772,672 to $704,797. Most of the growth in the first half of 2017 was seen in the $500,000 to $900,000 sector with 101 homes sold as compared to only 71 last year.

The Luxury Market
The luxury market – generally defined as homes selling for $1.5 million and above – saw a marked decrease in activity over the first half of 2017. Only two homes sold in this price range – one for $2.9 million and one for $3.1 million. There were no home sales between $1.5 and $2 million, which is unusual. Currently, as of July 1st there are four additional homes in this price range that are either under deposit or under contract to close by Labor Day, and anecdotally activity has picked up with more showings occurring in this price point. Sales were strong in the $1 million to $1.5 million category mimicking 2016 with 21 sales as compared to 22 last year.

Where Are People Buying?
Using Town Hall as the center of the Village, 37% of all sales occurred within a 2 mile radius in what would be considered “in-town” properties. Additionally, these in-town properties commanded a Median Sales Price of $739,000 and an Average Sales Price of $807,288, which is well above the town as a whole. The results support a continuing trend towards more walkable residences. We expect to see in-town properties remain desirable as both younger families escape the city and empty-nesters downsize. Upper end condominiums were also in high demand with five sold that were priced over $700,000, including one priced at $1,860,000.

Sales Up Across The Board
All Fairfield County towns experienced significant growth in the number of homes sold during the first half of 2017, reiterating the fact that individuals and families still consider Fairfield County a great place to live. However, it was a mixed message when it came to median home values with some towns showing double-digit increases, while others saw prices remain relatively flat or somewhat decreased. Traditionally more affordable towns like Stamford and Norwalk saw gains in pricing, while Wilton, Ridgefield and Redding saw values slip. Surprisingly, Westport experienced an almost 10% increase in median home value after seeing decreases during the past two years. Overall, slow but steady growth seems to be what we can expect throughout the county in the upcoming year.

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Staging Your Home Is A Good Idea

According to the National Association of Realtors, sixty-two percent of listing agents say professional staging decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market, while 40 percent of buyer’s agents say their clients are more willing to walk through a home that has been staged, according to the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2017 Profile of Home Staging.

Thirty-one percent of respondents to NAR’s survey say staging increased the dollar value of a home they sold by 1 percent to 5 percent; 13 percent of respondents say it increased a home’s dollar value by 6 percent to 10 percent. Agents on both the buying and selling side agree that the living room is the most important part of a home to stage, followed by the master bedroom, kitchen, and outdoor space.

While these results are self-reported and at the agent’s description, we would have to agree with the findings. Buyers have a lot of choice and we are still in a buyers market. It’s important for a seller to take advantage of every tool they can in order to entice buyers to take the next step. Sellers who staged are also more likely to get top-dollar for their home.

Just like the proliferation of professional and aerial photography, more and more agents are seeing the inherent value of staging and those Realtors who don’t stage will be left behind. The consumer is increasingly comparing apples to oranges online before they even make an appointment with a real estate agent, so a seller’s home needs to be enticing from the get-go.

See the Full Report to compare the buyer and seller perspectives or click to read about our Staging Services.

Redding Home Tour & Open House

On Sunday, July 9th Redding residents are opening their doors to showcase some the most unique homes currently on the market. Join us for the “Classic Antique and Cool Contemporary Home Tour” that will wow you at every turn!

You can pick up a brochure and map at the Redding Library starting at noon on the day of the event. To Preview all the homes on the tour, visit our website. Hope to see you there!

Karla Murtaugh Homes is proud to showcase:

203 Redding Road
Beautiful equestrian property on 3 spectacular, level acres. The site of the first Redding Post office, this charming vintage home has been completely updated for modern living. Hand-hewn beams, 2 stone fireplaces, true divided-light windows & so much more. Modern, open floorplan meets the needs of today’s buyers w/a spacious kitchen w/butcher block island & ample cabinetry, breakfast rm, formal dining rm, expansive living rm & mudroom. Main floor MBRS w/cathedral ceilings, a private deck, loft & sophisticated bath. 4 add’l large BRs, sitting area, light-filled 3-seasoN sunroom & small finished walk-up attic ON 3rd floor. Legal 2BR cottage w/2-car garage. 2 barns, riding ring, multiple paddocks. Close to Georgetown & just over 1hr to NYC.

238 Black Rock Turnpike
Country living at its best! Elegantly renovated & expanded 6BR Federal Colonial home. Completely updated with transitional color palette, gleaming hardwood floors, tons of character and charm. Gorgeous white kitchen w/marble island and counters, updated baths throughout, lovely master suite, vintage detailing. Large bedrooms with ensuite baths plus nanny suite. Tons of closets and storage! Stunning setting with lovely Gunite pool, rolling lawn & perennial gardens. 3-car detached garage plus additional garage/storage. Great commute location close to major routes. Move right in!

Ridgefield Market Report May 2017

The spring market is in full swing and we are seeing new inventory enter the market every day, while existing homes are selling at a faster rate than at the same time last year. We are experiencing good movement at all price points, particularly under $1 million. We also continue to see the ultra high-end luxury market have a few transactions, which is encouraging.

To see how May shook out in Ridgefield real estate , you can click for a snapshot of the market, or a breakdown by price.

MEDIAN SALES PRICE and CLOSED SALES
The number of closed sales is up over the same time last year with 40 properties selling as compared to 26 in 2016. This translates to a 53.8% increase year-over-year. Overall, 125 properties have sold compared to 105 by the same time last year, which represents a 19.0% increase. The median sales price decreased this month from  $686,250 in May 2016 to $564,000 in May 2017. The year-to-date shows a decrease of 5% from $638,000 last year to $606,000 this year.  We expect the median price to increase again given higher priced sales that have entered escrow or are pending.

PROPERTIES UNDER CONTRACT
The number of properties that went under contract took a huge jump over last year with 96 properties under contract compared to only 28 in 2016.  This represents a 243% increase. Overall in 2017 we have seen an 56% increase in buyers jumping into the market, with 198 properties going under contract since the beginning of the year, compared to 127 last year.

DAYS ON MARKET and INVENTORY
We are still dealing with a shortage of properties available for sale this month.  The months of inventory has decreased to only 4.5 months, – which is even less than April’s 5.4 months. 87 new properties entered the market this month, compared with 83 last year.  Overall, we have 3% less properties entering the market this year than at the same time last year. The average days on market has decreased slightly over May 2016 with homes spending an average of 155 days instead of 191.

Early June continues to bring strong  interest in the market from both buyers and sellers. Don’t wait !  Take advantage of my complimentary Comparative Market Analysis to find out what your home’s worth.

We continue to lead the market with the most comprehensive, proven marketing initiatives allowing your home to be in front of the widest audience possible on a local, regional, national and global level.  We recognize your home is your biggest asset and both Buyers and Sellers experience an unparalleled level of customer service when working with us.

 

Run Like A Mother, Ladies!

After 10 years I am still so proud to support Run Like A Mother.  From the first race, to the national event it is now, Run Like A Mother empowers women to celebrate themselves and show their strength in a positive, fun way.  Come by Murtaugh’s Motivation Station at the start and finish lines to make a poster showing your mother, wife, sister, daughter, grandmother or friend encouragement on the course.  The Ridgefield Press had a fabulous article about the event this morning – and I couldn’t say it better myself, so I’ve just reprinted it below.

Enjoy the run, ladies and see you Sunday!

Courtesy of the Ridgefield Press:

“I always love being at the finish line and seeing all the joy on people’s faces when they cross the finish line, and all the families coming in excitedly.”

Megan Searfoss describes Run Like a Mother, the 5K event she founded 10 years ago in town, with palpable excitement — like a runner waiting to hear the starting gun go off.

Searfoss and her faithful event organizers are getting ready to celebrate a milestone this weekend — a decade of empowering, inspiring, and enabling women in town, and around the country.

Registration is open for the women-only race, and all proceeds from this event will benefit the Noreen L. Papa: Mothers Live Your Life programs at the Ridgefield Library.

30,000 women

To commemorate its 10th anniversary, Run Like a Mother will honor people who have participated in all 10 years of the event.

Each participant will also receive a special medal.

Run Like a Mother has expanded dramatically from its roots in Ridgefield, with 5K events happening in Frisco, Texas; Milwaukee, Wis.; Raleigh, N.C.; and Minneapolis, Minn.

In total, it has encouraged around 30,000 women from all walks of life to incorporate running in their lives.

“Run Like a Mother has steadily grown because it’s become a tradition for so many families,” Searfoss said. “The dads and the kids wait for the moms to run across the finish line, and then they celebrate in the park with a picnic. It’s really neat. Now we’re at about 1,600 women and 400 kids.”

“So many of us, as moms, don’t take enough time for ourselves,” Searfoss said. “We’re driving people to soccer and lacrosse practices, and picking up everyone from school and maybe working even and doing all this stuff, and we never take time to celebrate ourselves. So Run Like a Mother is that one day in a year in which these moms are challenging themselves to run and celebrating themselves.”

Lifelong inspiration

Past participants, like Stephanie Bell, highly praised Run Like a Mother.

“It turned me into a runner for life,” she said. “I went on from Run Like a Mother to other training programs in Ridgefield Running Company to doing half-marathons and a marathon. It gave me a community of runners and running support. …

“You’re really trying to just beat yourself and be better, so there’s little competition among runners.”

Bell described the exhilaration she felt each year.

“It feels amazing and empowering when you’re at the start line with a huge crowd of women,” she said. “There’s so much positive energy. It’s an emotional response that you get being surrounded by all these women who are community members and friends. They’re women who are just amazing in their own right.”

Over the years

Bell started running in the event during its infancy, joining its training program as someone with little prior experience in 5K events, and she continued participating in the race in the years afterward.

“It was nice to see my progression over the years, going from saying, ‘Oh God, make this end’ the first year to now confidently attacking the hills and being strong,” she said.

Bell has become a leader in the training program.

“Now I really can pass the torch to the next runner. I can empower another woman to engage in this lifelong love of running, and I can give them the confidence and the encouragement that they can do this, because I’ve seen it happen,” she said. “I’ve seen one of the women I ran with last year run a seven-mile and a half marathon over the year, and I like to think that I was a part of that.”

“It’s a great race, a really magical day, and I’d really recommend it. It’s great not only for you as an individual but also for the collective, for the group of women standing there. I invite my whole family to attend.”

Searfoss founded the event soon after she moved to Ridgefield. She had raced as a competitive athlete for years, and she began running with a group of friends on Main Street. In 2007, she and her friends gathered around 40 women to run during Mother’s Day, and Searfoss had wanted to make it an annual event. In a moment of inspiration, she called the race Run Like a Mother.

She had initially anticipated that there would around 50 or 60 participants, but in the end, around 500 had registered. Searfoss was shocked. “There was a lot of quick thinking involved,” she said. “But the first race went off with a hitch. It was really successful, and from there it’s grown and grown.”

During its second year, Run Like a Mother added a kid’s one-mile race. The year after that, Searfoss started a six-week training program on Sundays at Tiger Hollow and Wednesdays at Ridgefield Running Company.

Karla Murtaugh, an early sponsor of Run Like a Mother, said, “Run Like a Mother is an event, not just a race.”

“It’s more than just starting and ending at the finish line,” she said. “There’s a lot more that goes into it. The communication present throughout starts when people train, and the amount of effort Megan has been able to put into this is incredible.

“Megan’s been able to channel her love for running for the people, and you just look on the streets now any morning, and many moms are out there running. And I think it’s great for not only physical but also mental health.”

Ridgefield Market Report April 2017

As the spring market gathers momentum, we are seeing increasing inventory and many buyers ready to commit to purchasing. All price points are experiencing good activity, with some price ranges even seeing multiple offers on desirable homes. As always, updated properties – particularly in or close to town – are in demand.

To see how the first quarter shook out in Ridgefield real estate (including condos), read our comprehensive market report.  You can also click for a snapshot of the April market, or a breakdown by price.

MEDIAN SALES PRICE and CLOSED SALES
The number of closed sales was exactly the same as last year with 24 properties closing in April 2017. Overall, 85 properties have sold compared to 79 by the same time last year, which represents a 7.6% increase. The median sales price increased from $658,500 in April 2016 to $684,259 in April 2017  – a difference of 4% .  The year to date is even more encouraging with an increase of 9.6% seen in median sales price from $575,000 in 2016 to $630,000 this year.

PROPERTIES UNDER CONTRACT
The number of properties that went under contract took a huge jump over last year with 73 properties under contract compared to only 35 in 2016.  This represents a 108% increase. Overall in 2017 we have seen an 44% increase in buyers jumping into the market, with 143 properties going under contract since the beginning of the year, compared to 99 last year.

DAYS ON MARKET and INVENTORY
We are still dealing with a shortage of properties available for sale this month.  The months of inventory has decreased to only 5.4 months, with 98 new properties entering the market this month.  last year inventory stood at 13 months. The average days on market remains higher than last and is skewed by stale inventory. As the market gets into full swing, we hope to see stale inventory selling and normalizing this indicator.

May is a key time to buy a home or list one for sale.  Don’t wait !  Take advantage of my complimentary Comparative Market Analysis to find out what your home’s worth.

We continue to lead the market with the most comprehensive, proven marketing initiatives allowing your home to be in front of the widest audience possible on a local, regional, national and global level.  We recognize your home is your biggest asset and both Buyers and Sellers experience an unparalleled level of customer service when working with us.

* All data taken from Greater Fairfield County CMLS as of 05/01/2017

Ridgefield Q1 2017 Market Report

The first quarter of 2017 has been a busy one for us here at Karla Murtaugh Homes. We have sold five properties already this year, with five more under contract and seven properties under agreement.

Unit Sales
Overall, in Ridgefield the first quarter of 2017 has shown strong unit sales with 72 properties sold already. This exceeds the 68 properties sold in Q1 of 2016. There are also 48 properties under contract, surpassing last year by more than 50%, and 59 properties under deposit – a more than 40% increase over 2016.

Market Inventory
Market inventory is decreased with only 239 properties currently for sale. This is approximately 8% less than during the same time last year. As the weather warms and trees bloom, we expect this number to rise.

Median Prices
The median sales price for combined single family homes and condominiums currently sits at $583,875, while at the end of 2016 the median sales price was $610,000. While this represents a drop of 4%, we expect to see an uptick in this marker with the influx of a large buyer pool coupled with creeping mortgage rates and a continued strong economy.

Click here to download the full report.

Ridgefield Market Report February 2017

February continues to be a banner month for Ridgefield real estate. Buyers are out in force and there is almost not enough inventory to go around.  With the unseasonably warm weather, home sales have been uncharacteristically large resulting in multiple offer situations. With the stock market rallying, increasing consumer confidence and the threat of rising interest rates, people are again seeing real estate as a stable and worthwhile investment.

MEDIAN SALES PRICE and CLOSED SALES
The number of closed sales was up 21% compared to February 2016 with 23 homes sold compared to 19 at the same time last year. Year-to-date the market has seen a 26.5% increase in the number of sales. The median sales price was also up from $550,000 to $582,750 in 2017 – an increase of 6.0%. Overall, year-to-date 2017 has seen an increase in median price of almost 5%.

PROPERTIES UNDER CONTRACT
The number of properties that went under contract took a huge jump over last year with 40 properties under contract compared to only 18 in 2016.  This represents a 122% increase. Overall in 2017 we have seen an 87.5% increase in buyers jumping into the market, with 60 properties going under contract since the beginning of the year, compared to only 32 last year.

DAYS ON MARKET and INVENTORY
We are seeing an extreme shortage of properties available for sale this month.  The months of inventory has decreased to 7.7 months, and only 72 properties entered the market this month.  This is very similar to the number listed last year, but we have seen an increase in the number of buyers.  This has resulted in multiple offer situations already being seen. Interestingly enough, the average days on market has increased.  This number is skewed by stale inventory.

For a breakdown of the Ridgefield Real Estate Market by price, view the February 2016 price snapshot. Also, see a full graphical analysis of Ridgefield’s February 2017 real estate market report, and take advantage of my complimentary Comparative Market Analysis to find out what your home’s worth.

We continue to lead the market with the most comprehensive, proven marketing initiatives allowing your home to be in front of the widest audience possible on a local, regional, national and global level.  We recognize your home is your biggest asset and both Buyers and Sellers experience an unparalleled level of customer service when working with us.

* All data taken from Greater Fairfield County CMLS as of 03/01/2017

Fairfield County High Schools Among Best In Connecticut in 2017

The annual Niche.com ranking has been released and Fairfield County public high schools have done well.
Niche, a website for researching schools, used a variety of factors, including SAT/ACT scores, student-teacher ratio, the quality of colleges students consider and reviews from students and parents for its ranking.

In the number 1 position was New Canaan High School, followed by Staples High School in Westport, Greenwich High School and Weston High School. Wilton High School ranked number 7, Joel Barlow in Redding at 8, Darien High School at 9, and Ridgefield High School number 12.

The ranking also took into account how parents and students responded to surveys about their school, cultural diversity on campus, school absenteeism, teachers salary, state test scores, facilities, and the availability of clubs and activities, to name a few.

To see the full ranking list and to read more about the methodology, see the Full Report.