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Ridgefield Schools Named Among State’s Best

Niche.com has released it’s 2018 Best Public Schools ranking and it comes as no surprise that Ridgefield schools once again fared very well. The district as a whole was ranked number 17 out of 118 school districts in Connecticut with good showings at all three levels of education. Our teachers were ranked number 8 in the state.  Nationally, Ridgefield School District ranks number 709 out of 10,574 and comes in at number 389 in terms of our teachers.

District rankings were determined by a thorough examination and analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education. Ranking factors include state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, public school district ratings, and more.

Ridgefield High School

Ridgefield High School placed #11 out of 196 Connecticut public schools, while our teachers ranked #9 and we came in at #7 in terms of collage prep. Nationally, Ridgefield High School places number 685 out of 17, 867 schools. Overall, Fairfield County counted many top 10 finishers with the ranking based on factors including state test scores, college readiness, graduation rates, SAT/ACT scores, teacher quality, and high school ratings.  For a full ranking of the State’s Best High Schools, click here.

Ridgefield Middle Schools

Ridgefield middle schools also finished strong with East Ridge Middle School ranking #19 out of  287 schools and Scott’s Ridge Middle School in the #25 position. Reached ranking were #4 and #12 respectively. Middle school ranking involved a similar process to the high school ranking and included factors such as state test scores, student-teacher ratio, student diversity, teacher quality, middle school ratings, and the overall quality of the school district. You can see more about how Ridgefield Middle Schools ranked overall here.

Ridgefield Elementary Schools

Overall, Ridgefield elementary schools placed in the top 100 schools when compared to a total of 577 public elementary schools throughout the state.  Branchville Elementary School ranked the highest at #37, with Ridgebury at #50, Barlow Mountain #58, Scotland #60, Farmingville #63, and Veteran’s Park #97. For a full list, see the rankings here.

New Trend – Living Rooms Are Heading Upstairs

After years of hearing the buzzwords “open concept”, homes are starting to see a bit more compartmentalization with additional cozy places to retire becoming more common.

As such, upper-level living rooms are becoming a sought-after space among homeowners, The Wall Street Journal reports. Homeowners are finding these second-floor lounges can be more informal spaces than living areas on the first floor—and can offer more privacy, too.

The idea behind these spaces are nothing new. Historic homes often have included an upstairs “retiring room” for mothers nursing children or for resting midday, says T. Jeffrey Clarke, an architect in Philadelphia, and Karla Murtaugh Homes has a few homes on the market right now that embody these qualities.  You can check out 321 Main Street, 22 Oak Knoll Road, 285 West Lane and 258 Black Rock Turnpike, just to name a few.

Upper-level living rooms—sometimes labeled “pajama lounges”—are usually located right off bedrooms. They may include comfy sofas, a kitchenette, a television, and even a nook to work from. Architects are removing long hallway spaces upstairs to make room for these central living spaces upstairs.

The lounge area is intended for “the bedrooms [to] spill out, and the family can have a space to assemble,” says Kobi Karp, an architect in Miami who recently designed an upper-level living room in one of his projects. “It’s where you go on a Sunday morning and wait for the rest of the house to wake up.”

Upper-level living rooms tend to be more casual than their lower counterparts. They also tend to have recessed lighting instead of chandeliers and favor cozier seating areas over larger sectionals.

As families create new functions for classic spaces, it’s nice to see a trend recognizing the value that an antique home’s architecture and design brings to a modern world.

Source: “The Living Room Moves Upstairs,” The Wall Street Journal (Aug. 23, 2017)

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.

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.

 

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

Ridgefield’s 2016 Year End Market Report

What a year! The Ridgefield Real Estate market rallied resulting in the best year since 2013’s banner season. Overall sales volume was up at $259,407,724 as compared to $241,208,027 in 2015. Unit sales increased 8.1% with 348 homes selling in 2016 compared to 322 the year before. With the uncertainty of an election year behind us, as well as steady increases seen in financial markets and slowly rising interest rates, there is reason to believe that this trend towards slow and steady growth in the Ridgefield Real Estate market will continue.

A Buyer’s Market
Buyers were out in force in 2016, and they had a lot to choose from. Armed with a plethora of information at their fingertips, historically low interest rates and a 12.5% increase in Ridgefield home inventory over 2015, they were able to make better, more informed decisions than ever before. The fourth quarter of 2016 was unusually busy and set up a strong pipeline into the first quarter of 2017. This is reminiscent of what happened at the end of 2012 and into 2013. Predictors suggest continued growth and improving sales throughout 2017.

No Bump In Price
The median sales price for a Ridgefield home remained relatively the same in 2016, decreasing
by only 1.9% to $640,000 from last year’s 2015 $652,500. The average sales price was $745,424
compared to $749,093 in 2015, while the sale to list price ratio was 96.4%. The rise of the “HGTV -phenomenon” placed a burden on sellers with buyers expecting homes to have kitchen and
bathroom upgrades, as well as more current design elements. We see this trend continuing.

Looking Ahead
While there has been no appreciable increase in home values, the market indicators continue to point to a stable real estate market. With inventory increasing, and interest rates slowly climbing, buyers will continue to look to invest in homes they feel offer real value. As always, location plays a key role in purchasing decisions with homes residing in-town or in good commute locations creating the greatest demand. As baby boomers become empty nesters, all indicators point to a demand for more functional homes that can be easily maintained. At the same time, we have seen upward movement in the market from Ridgefield residents moving their families into more spacious homes, as well as from buyers moving into Ridgefield to take advantage of our highly-ranked schools and great community.

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Ridgefield Market Report November 2016

November 2016 proved to be a strong month for home sales. The median price of a home increased substantially over last year , however we still trail 2015’s year-to-date median sale price by almost 2%. Overall, 2016 has seen more homes sell than 2015, and we hope to close out the year with a strong December.

MEDIAN SALES PRICE and CLOSED SALES
The number of closed sales was down 19.2% at 21 compared to 26 last year, but we are up 8.5% overall in the year-to-date with 320 properties sold compared to 295 by the same time in 2015. There was an increase in median sold price for this month from $640,000 to $732,500 representing an 14.5% increase compared to November 2015. We are still slightly down from last year’s year-to-date with the median price standing at $647,500 compared with $660,000 by this time last year.

PROPERTIES UNDER CONTRACT
We continue to see a strong fall selling season with 45 properties going under contract in November, compared to only 23 during the same time last year – an increase of 95.7%. Overall, the fall market is up 18.5% compared to the same time in 2015 with 358 properties in escrow compared to 302 last year.

DAYS ON MARKET and INVENTORY
The number of days on market increased from 155 in November, 2015 to 194 this year. However, months supply of inventory is only 7.3 months compared to 17.2 months at this time last year.

See a full graphical analysis of Ridgefield’s November 2016 real estate market report, and take advantage of my complimentary Comparative Market Analysis to find out what your home’s worth.

For a breakdown of the Ridgefield Real Estate Market by price, view the November 2016 price snapshot.

* All data taken from Greater Fairfield County CMLS as of 12/01/2016

Ridgefield Market Report October 2016

Fall 2016 has started off with strong sales in the month of October. Year-to-date the total number of closed sales has surpassed last year, but median sales price is slightly down.

MEDIAN SALES PRICE and CLOSED SALES
The number of closed sales was up 18.5% at 32 compared to 27 last year, and we are up 10.8% overall in the year-to-date with 298 properties sold compared to 269 by the same time in 2015. There was a decrease in median sold price for this month from $672,500 to $617,000 representing an 8.3% decrease compared to October 2015. We are also slightly down from last year’s year-to-date with the median price standing at $643,150 compared with $665,000 by this time last year.

PROPERTIES UNDER CONTRACT
We are seeing a strong fall selling season with 54 properties going under contract in October, compared to only 28 during the same time last year – an increase of 92.9%. Overall, the fall market is up 21.1% compared to the same time in 2015 with 338 properties in escrow compared to 279 last year.

DAYS ON MARKET and INVENTORY
The number of days on market increased from 158 in October, 2015 to 202 this year. However, months supply of inventory is only 7.2 months compared to 15.3 months at this time last year.

See a full graphical analysis of Ridgefield’s October 2016 real estate market report, and take advantage of my complimentary Comparative Market Analysis to find out what your home’s worth.

For a breakdown of the Ridgefield Real Estate Market by price, view the October 2016 price snapshot.

* All data taken from Greater Fairfield County CMLS as of 06/01/2016