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Karla Murtaugh Named Christie’s Luxury Specialist

Karla Murtaugh has earned the distinction as a Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Specialist for 2018 – an honor bestowed on only a select number of agents nationwide.  She is also the only agent earning this distinction in Ridgefield.

Murtaugh’s attendance at the invitation-only Luxury Agent Conference held at the end of 2017 at San Diego’s historic grande dame of seaside resorts, the Hotel del Coronado, solidified her commitment to the unique scope of practice and skills required for high-end luxury transactions. This is the third year Murtaugh has been awarded the distinction.

Christie’s unique international perspective on the worlds of art and luxury, together with unparalleled service, have made them the global authority in the marketing of distinctive properties. A world leader in luxury for over 250 years, Christie’s gains insight from the global span and expertise of its Affiliate network, which extends to more than 138 Affiliate brokerages in 46 countries and a combined annual sales volume of approximately $115 billion in 2016, and of which Neumann Real Estate- Murtaugh’s brokerage – is a recognized partner.

Murtaugh is proud to take advantage of the Christie’s International Real Estate partnership and has successfully utilized Christie’s branding, marketing techniques, and resources to leverage the brand for all of her clients.

The Luxury Specialist designation  was awarded to 200 agents world-wide who provide exceptional client service, and have dedicated themselves to the acquisition of knowledge across the full spectrum of luxury asset classes. Christie’s ongoing commitment to the education of its luxury specialists gives their agents increased insight into a market that is rapidly becoming more competitive and more global.

To see what sets Karla Murtaugh Homes’ marketing apart from every other agent, contact us today.

 

Ridgefield’s 2017 Year In Review

Ridgefield Market Snapshot
The Ridgefield Real Estate market for single-family homes once again rallied and came out ahead of last year’s market with respect to all key indicators. Overall, the number of homes sold was up 6.3% with 370 homes selling in 2017 as compared to 348 in 2016. The total sales volume also increased by 5.3% resulting in a total of $273,224,044 transacting as compared to $259,407,724 in 2016. The median sales price for a Ridgefield single-family home increased slightly ending the year at $642,500 as compared to $640,000 in 2016. However, the average sales price decreased one percent from $745,424 to $738,443. The sales-to-list price ratio remained the same with homes selling at an average of 96.5% of their listed price.

Condo Report
There were 70 condominium sales in Ridgefield in 2017 ranging in price from $100,500 for a studio apartment to $1,860,000 for a five bedroom, custom-built Main Street luxury condominium in The Elms. The average sales price was $384,920, while the median sales price was $250,000. This compares favorably to 2016 when the average price was $371,990 and the median price was $216,000.

When Are People Buying?
An interesting finding of 2017 is that the seasonality of real estate is becoming less applicable, while consumer confidence seems to be playing more of a factor. Based on the assumption that properties generally take 60 days to close, to have the number of properties closing in the spring (116 properties) equal those in the summer (117 properties) is unusual. The general take-away is that with increased online visibility and ‘arm-chair‘ real estate, no matter the season buyers are willing to purchase if they find what they like.

The Luxury Market
The luxury market in Ridgefield – defined as homes selling for $1.5 million and above – held firm this year with continued strong sales. Overall, 13 luxury homes and one luxury condominium sold in 2017, as compared to 19 homes in 2016. Of particular note, five homes sold between $2 and $3 million, while the $3 million plus segment saw three sales happen. The highest priced home to sell this year closed for $3,318,183. As a Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Specialist, in 2017 I was proud to represent 9 buyers and sellers with homes or condos priced between $1.86 and $3.1 million. Down county towns such as Greenwich, Darien, New Canaan and Westport have all seen an increase in luxury sales. Historically Ridgefield is not far behind.

Good News for Fairfield County
Overall, it was good news throughout most of Fairfield County. The number of homes sold was up, with median price not deviating too much from last year throughout most of the towns we evaluated. Darien recovered from 2016’s decreases, posting the largest year-over- year growth in median price. New Canaan rebounded nicely with a 39% increase in units sold when compared to 2016, which was 24% lower versus 2015. In Westport, the amount of speculative home building is also on the rise indicating a returning confidence in the market. Unfortunately, Redding and Wilton experienced an appreciable drop in median values, possibly due to a lack of high-end market sales. All other towns experienced a relatively flat market when compared to 2016.

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Ridgefield Market Report November 2017

Looking at all indicators, the Ridgefield real estate market is basically flat compared to November last year.  Year-to-date numbers also reflect very little change since 2016. This is actually good news considering some Fairfield County towns have seen decreases in both property values and the number of sales they have experienced. The under $700,000 market is still very busy, and we have seen steady sales in all other price categories, which is encouraging. The luxury market is struggling slightly with decreased sales compared to last year in the over $1 million categories.

To see an overview of how November looked, 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 up over the same time last year with 23 properties selling in November 2017 as compared to 21 in 2016.  Overall, 347  properties have sold compared to 325 by the same time last year, which represents a 6.8% increase. The Median Sales Price decreased this month from $732, 500 in November 2016 to $645,000 in November 2017. The year-to-date median value is on par with 2016 sitting at $640,000, as compared to $643,500 last year at this time. 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 41 properties under contract compared to 25 in 2016.  This represents a 64% increase and could possibly be attributed to the very mild fall we have experienced. Overall, in 2017 we have seen an 8.1% increase in buyers jumping into the market, with 360 properties going under contract since the beginning of the year, compared to 333 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 7.1 months compared with 13.2 months last year. Forty-one new properties entered the market this month, compared with only 25 in November of last year, while the average days on market has decreased by 11.9% over October 2016 with homes spending an average of 171 days instead of 194 on the market before selling.

Overall, November posted decent sales for the time of year and we hope to see that trend continue into December. Feel free to contact me to discuss your buying needs, or 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! 

Snapshot of November Market Report 

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.

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.