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Mortgage Rates Are Highest Since July

While mortgage rates remain historically low, there has been a slight increase over the past few months, resulting in borrowers paying more over the life of the loan.

Freddie Mac released the results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), showing the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate moving to its highest mark since July. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage reached its highest average since July this week.

“The 10-year Treasury yield ticked up 6 basis points, while the 30-year mortgage rate jumped 5 basis points to 3.95 percent,” says Sean Becketti, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “Today’s survey rate is the highest rate in nearly four months.”

Freddie Mac reports the following national averages with mortgage rates for the week ending Nov. 16:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.95 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.90 percent average. Last year at this time, 30-year rates averaged 3.94 percent.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgages: averaged 3.31 percent, with an average 0.5 point, rising from last week’s 3.24 percent average. A year ago, 15-year rates averaged 3.14 percent.
  • 5-year hybrid adjustable-rate mortgages: averaged 3.21 percent this week, with an average 0.4 point, falling slightly from last week’s 3.22 percent average. A year ago, 5-year ARMs averaged 3.07 percent.

The takeaway, is that while borrowing is still the least expensive it’s ever been, you may want to think about jumping into the market sooner rather than later. There is also less competition, realistic pricing, and motivated sellers especially during the traditionally quieter Holiday period, so it’s a great time to look.

Source: Freddie Mac

Do You Want To Live Like A Hollywood Producer?

Picture the glitz and glamor of old Hollywood, pair it with every modern convenience and move it all to bucolic Ridgefield.  Welcome to 23 Pin Pack Road.  Home to a noted Hollywood producer, the spectacular residence was recently featured in the Danbury News-Times as its cover story and it doesn’t disappoint.

The sophisticated & enchanting 3/4 bedroom, 1920s mini-estate is situated close to town and reflects exceptional Stone & Tudor architecture. Completely rebuilt in 2011 by an award-winning builder, it features a stunning saltwater pool & spa with beautiful high-end resort like appointments and an exercise area open to expansive outdoor patios.  The exceptional mix of wood & stone, soaring ceilings, multiple fireplaces and amazing millwork are hallmarks, while an incredible gourmet chef’s kitchen and breakfast area connect to a fabulous great room featuring a coffered ceiling & stone fireplace. The master retreat includes a sitting room/office, and His & Her separate baths & dressing rooms. Three additional bedroom options with beautifully appointed baths plus sensational outdoor living areas including stone patios with pergolas and open air stone decking, make this a great entertaining home. An additional charming studio on the property is great as an office or additional workspace. Like no other!

To make an appointment to view the home, please contact me.

‘Fairhaven’ Is A True Fair Haven According To HOME Monthly Magazine

We were thrilled when HOME Monthly asked to feature our beautiful listing on 209 West Lane in Ridgefield for their November issue.  From the minute we walked into the home, we knew it was something special and it seems, so did HOME.

Fairhaven – as it is known – is a wonderful mix of vintage and transitional design that encompasses the best in workmanship, flow and elegant features. Tucked away behind mature trees & setback from the road, it is a spectacularly renovated gem that radiates warmth & sophistication at every turn. Once the home of film star Geraldine Farrar, the floor plan gently meanders from one room to another, seamlessly blending the indoor & outdoor living areas to create a perfect entertaining space. The stunning breezeway, with amazing views of the private yard, connects the lower level pool house to the main rooms including a fabulous updated kitchen, formal living & dining rooms, a study, music room, covered porches & more. The gunite pool & multiple terraces, plus lovely open porches are surrounded by mature trees and fabulous perennial gardens.  The home borders Silver Spring Country Club and you can be in NYC in just over 1 hour to. It’s truly exceptional!

Read more about what makes this home so special in this month’s HOME Monthly. If you are interested in purchasing the home or setting up a time to view it, please contact me.

Ridgefield Market Report October 2017

October saw a decline in market activity, which is not uncommon given the usual frenzy that sets in as people start thinking about the Holidays. Encouragingly, the Median Value for single-family homes sold Ridgefield is up over the same time period last year, as were the number of properties that went under contract.

To see how October 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 was down over the same time last year with 28 properties selling as compared to 35 in 2016. This translated to a 20% decrease year-over-year. Overall however, 324 properties have sold compared to 304 by the same time last year, which represented a 6.6% increase. The Median Sales Price increased this month from $604,000 in October 2016 to $628,750 in October 2017. The year-to-date median value is on par with 2016 sitting at $640,000. Overall, all indicators point to the fact that it has been a steady year for real estate when compared with 2016.

PROPERTIES UNDER CONTRACT
The number of properties that went under contract increased over last year with 40 properties under contract compared to 27 in 2016.  This represents a 48.1% increase. Overall, in 2017 we have seen an 8.4% increase in buyers jumping into the market, with 334 properties going under contract since the beginning of the year, compared to 308 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 7.9 months compared with 14.4 months last year. Forty new properties entered the market this month, compared with 51 last year, while the average days on market has decreased by 15% over October 2016 with homes spending an average of 149 days instead of 175 on the market before selling.

November and December are a traditionally slower time of year in the Ridgefield real estate market, but there are deals to be had if you’re looking to buy.  If you’ve been thinking of selling, take this time to prepare your home by updating, cleaning and decluttering.  Also, feel free to contact me for my complimentary Comparative Market Analysis to find out what your home’s worth in today’s market.

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. Contact us today! 

October KMM report

Who’s Buying and Selling Homes in 2017?

The National Association of Realtors just released the  2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers survey which provides demographic insights into the real estate market nationally. For most home buyers, the purchase of real estate is one of the largest financial transactions they will make. Buyers purchase a home not only for the desire to own a home of their own, but also because of changes in jobs, family situations, and the need for a smaller or larger living area. This annual survey conducted by the National Association of Realtors® of recent home buyers and sellers provides insight into detailed information about their experiences with this important transaction. Here are highlights from the latest report.

  • First-time buyers made up 34 percent of all home buyers, a decrease from last year’s 35 percent.
  • Age for first-time buyers remains flat, but the age of repeat buyers continues to climb—now at an all-time high of 54.
  • Married couples continue at 3-year decline, while single females increased for the 3rd year.
    Buyer and seller use of agent remains at historical highs, 87% and 89% respectively. FSBOs remain at an all-time low of 8%.
  • Drop in those who stalled their sale of the home because they were underwater to 10%, but it is still common among those who purchased 8-10 years ago at 26%.
  • Tenure (holding on to the same property)  remains at an all-time high of 10 years.

In Ridgefield, we are seeing young families make the move to the suburbs, while empty-nesters are starting to downsize. While we may not have seen the gains in value that some of the country is experiencing, 2017 has been a strong year for both single-family unit sales and median home values.  We hope to see this trend continue through the end of the year.

 

Source: “2017 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers,” National Association of REALTORS® (Oct. 30, 2017)

Ridgefield Q3 Market Report

The third quarter of 2017 sees the culmination of an active summer market with median values increasing for the first time this year when compared to 2016, and the number of sales remaining constant.

Unit Sales
Incredibly, the number of sales of single family homes in Ridgefield remained the same at 116 units in both the third quarters of 2016 and 2017, however the total dollar volume sold in Q3 2017 amounted to $93,705,894, up from $86,206,720 in 2016. Overall, since January, 294 homes have sold in Ridgefield compared with 269 during the same time last year. This represents an 8.5% increase and reaffirms that we are experiencing a healthy real estate market.

Market Inventory
The number of homes listed for sale was lower every month during Q3 2017 when compared to Q3 2016, with an average of 282 homes available for purchase. The average months of inventory was only 6 months in July and August, but has risen to 14 months in September, which is to be expected as families settle into school, and less new homes come on the market.

Pricing
The median sales price for single family homes is currently sitting at $657,500 as compared to $637,500 during the same period last year. This represents a nominal increase in median values of 3%. The average sales price also saw a shift towards higher values with the return of upper end sales. It rose from $743,161 in Q3 2016 to $807,809 this year. Homes also continue to sell at an average of 96.6% of the listed price.

For a snapshot of of single family home sales in September, click here.

Fall Is Great Time To Move

According to Realtor.com, a fall move may be just what you’re looking for. Less demand from families looking to get into a new home before school stars tends to open up the market a little bit, and the busy spring and summer season may motivate sellers to lower the asking price, hopefully avoiding the slowdown that inevitably sets in around the holiday and winter seasons.

Home buyers may also find attractive mortgage rates this fall. Mortgage rates are still under the 4 percent psychological threshold, which can be a luring incentive for borrowers. Freddie Mac reported last week that the 30-year fixed rate averaged 3.78 percent, holding steady at a 2017 low.

Studies have shown that fall can be the best time to buy. A study conducted by RealtyTrac in 2015 found that October was the best month for home buyers. Purchasers in October paid 2.6 percent below the estimated market value at the time for their home, according to the analysis.

Nationally, home sales in August started to decline heading into the fall season. Sales of existing homes fell 1.7 percent from July to August, but the National Association of Realtors mostly blamed the decrease on the limited number of listings for sale on the market – something we have also seen in Ridgefield.

To search all listings in Fairfield County visit our Property Search page or get in touch with us directly.  There are deals just waiting to be had!

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)