Ridgefield Market Report : 2013 Year In Review

The Housing Recovery

After the worst housing downturn since the Great Depression, we are back in full force. After 8 years of correction as a result of the “housing bubble”, it is safe to say all the characteristics of a normal real estate market have returned. Prices remain stable, median selling prices are improving and overall market activity is the highest it has been in 5 years. Consumer confidence has increased, which has brought more buyers into the market, and sellers are feeling more confident that they are not selling their home in a sliding market. All price segments posted positive gains, while homes valued up to $800,000 continue to dominate the market. The popular price category of $900,000 – $1,000,000 tripled in volume when compared to 2012. The market for homes priced over $1 million grew 46% – a strong indicator of buyer confidence.

Connecticut’s #1 Town.

Ridgefield unit sales were up 45%. This demonstrates confidence that Ridgefield is a destination for many new buyers, while some sellers are also trading up or down to stay here. Buyers see the outstanding value Ridgefield has to offer – quality lifestyle, cost of living, top rated education and a vibrant community. In fact, Ridgefield experienced the highest increase in annual unit sales when compared to all towns in Fairfield County.

The Road Ahead.

We saw buyers react to the uptick in interest rates this summer, though interest rates are still low by historic averages. Since values are on the incline, we expect the buyer pool to increase in a last ditch effort to catch the market before prices and interest rates rise. Sellers are feeling more confident as they prepare for the Spring Selling Season, but realize that certain fundamentals still apply. Homes in “turn-key” condition will continue to outpace the competition in terms of achieving the maximum selling price and lowest days on market. A fair number of sellers who used this strategy had multiple offers on their home – from wonderful starter homes to sophisticated properties priced in excess of $1 million. Supply and Demand will continue to drive the Real Estate market.

Download Ridgefield Market Report 2013 Year In Review

2013 – One Of Christie’s Best Years In History

We are proud to be partnered with such a forward-thinking and successful company as Christie’s. The luxury auction house is going strong, and the real estate arm – Christie’s International Real Estate – is great supporter of the luxury real estate market through their Bespoke program and other marketing initiatives.

In terms of the parent company, Christie’s announced sales of £4.54 billion ($7.13 billion), up 16% for the year ending December 2013. This figure is the highest sales total for Christie’s or any auction house in the history of the art market. Christie’s sales figures were driven by an increase in new buyers across all geographies coming to the market, including from growth markets such as China and through the Internet. Thirty percent of buyers were new in 2013 and accounted for 22% of the sales total.

Strong results were recorded in all regional sites during 2013, with significant activity in Asia driven by strong Hong Kong sales, up 32% and the company’s historic expansion into mainland China through its Shanghai office. The growth in new clients from China and the potential of this area of the art market was reflected in the firm’s highly successful inaugural Shanghai sale, which totaled £15.5 million ($24.9 million). Sales in Europe totaled £1.33 billion ($2.1 billion), Americas totaled £1.8 billion ($2.8 billion) and Asia totaled £622.6 million ($977.5 million). The increasing power of the Chinese buyer in the global art market was also evident with Chinese buyers accounting for 22% of global sales, a 63% increase on spend during 2012. Christie’s also expanded into India in 2013 and held its first sale in Mumbai in December, which realized £9.4 million ($15.4 million), more than doubling pre-sale expectations and attracted new buyers, including 35% who had never done business with Christie’s.

Steven P. Murphy, Chief Executive Officer, Christie’s, said: “With 16% sales growth and 30% new buyers coming in 2013, Christie’s has succeeded again by focusing on the art and connecting it to the ever-increasing audience of enthusiasts and collectors. We continue to see a surge in interest across categories and across the globe, fuelled in large part by the online platform enabling greater connectivity between buyers, sellers and the objects of their pursuit. Our strategy to invest in new markets such as China, new channels such as Private Sales and online sales, and to build on our position at the leading auction house, has enabled Christie’s to grow. Our continuing goal is to provide more to our clients and to convene new clients to enjoy art, be it through auctions, exhibitions or online.”

For information on how we partner with Christie’s on their Bespoke marketing initiatives, or how we can help you market your luxury property to protective buyers, contact me for a personalized consultation. For more market news delivered directly to your inbox each Friday, sign up below.

Ridgefield Equestrian Property Listed For $55 Million

A former dairy farm owned by one of Canada’s most important rail men is heading to market for $55,000,000. The property, which spans over 100 acres, features luxe accommodations for horses and humans alike. Hunter Harrison, the current owner, had planned on settling down at the property indefinitely, but after once again returning to the rail industry and spending much of his time elsewhere, he has decided to sell. Surrounded on all sides by rolling hills, the property takes full advantage of the considerable natural beauty in Ridgefield.

Stretching along both sides of Old Stagecoach Road, the expansive estate features a range of equestrian and human amenities. For the horses, Harrison installed a 3.5 acre jumping field, two barns, indoor and outdoor riding rings, and multiple enclosed outdoor areas. In addition to their gorgeous barns, the horses have access to an equine spa and treadmill.

No expense was spared for two-legged inhabitants of the farm either. The property features two smaller homes in addition to the 14,500 square foot main house. Even with a lavishly appointed living room featuring 38 foot ceilings and multiple fireplaces, the main home is easy to overlook in light of the sheer variety and quality of the property’s amenities. In addition to the extensive equestrian facilities, the home is equipped to meet any sportsman’s desires. It also features a 7-car garage, a golf room with virtual golf, a wine cellar, and a koi pond. Rounding out the home’s recreational features are a Jacuzzi spa and a waterfall behind the house.

This property represents the height of luxury and an exciting development in Ridgefield real estate. The owner’s choice of Ridgefield attests to the rustic charm of the town, while also confirming the relevance of Ridgefield in the current luxury market.

Sally Slater of Douglas Elliman holds the listing. She aims to expand the home’s marketing to the emerging areas of equestrian interest in the Middle East and China.

For what’s happening in the Ridgefield Real Estate market, sign up below or view my comprehensive market reviews.

Annual Trend Report

New On Our Website – Real-Time Real Estate Market Reports

Being informed about the real estate market in your chosen town is crucial when determining pricing, or reviewing purchasing options. I believe that constantly examining and interpreting what’s going on in home sales allows me to gain much needed insight into how real estate is trending, so I’m very excited to announce the availability of a new tool for your complimentary use – “Know My Market“.

This great resource allows you to search towns or zip codes in Fairfield County, and provides you with a comprehensive snapshot of what the local real estate market is doing. Using charts and graphs, it allows you to gain insight into:
1. Median sold price
2. Average days on market
3. Properties that opened escrow
4. New properties for sale
5. Months of supply of inventory
6. Closed sales

To use Know My Market, simply start typing in the town or zip code you want to research, click on the drop down menu when you see it listed, and choose what type of home you’d like to see reports for. Then scroll through the graphs to gain a clearer picture of what’s going on in that local market. You can even save the report and print it out.

Whether you’re a first-time home buyer, seller, investor, or in the market for a luxury home, starting here will help you gain valuable information. To learn more about my interpretation of the Ridgefield and area real estate market, view my comprehensive Mid-Year or Year In Review Market Reports.

To get a copy of the 2013 Year In Review Real Estate Market Report delivered directly to your inbox, sign up below or contact me directly.

6 Handy Tips For Getting Your Home Ready To Sell

When you sell your home, you are not merely selling a building on anonymous acreage. Home buyers are looking for more than statistics and size. When people buy homes, they are heavily influenced by emotion; by what they see both outside and inside the home. Before you show your home, be sure to take a few extra steps to ensure that you’ve maximized your value.

1. Curb appeal is the first thing any prospective buyer will notice. From the lawn to the walkways to the home itself, you need to make a good impression from the road. Make sure your lawn in in good condition, the grass remains mowed, and all vegetation is in presentable condition. Remove dead shrubs and trees. Merely keeping the edges around your walks, driveways, and terraces neat and tidy can have a powerful aesthetic effect. Fixing and improving anything immediately in a buyer’s path is sure to earn a great return.

2. Patios and other outdoor features can get overgrown quickly. Weed and manicure any outdoor area, especially those directly around the patio.

3. Minor details in the exterior of your home can be important. Keep trims in order, make sure the house has been painted recently, and keep all exterior elements well maintained. The condition of your gutters, exterior lights, and even the doorbell can subtly change a buyer’s opinion.

4. Inside, minor details become important. In every room, keep the following ideas in mind. Any cracks in ceilings, walls, or windows should be fixed before showing the home. All wallpaper, woodwork, and paint should be in great condition. Floors should be clean or recently refinished. Carpets should be secured to the ground. To accentuate your home’s best features, arrange furniture in ways that show off the shape and size of the room to add to a buyer’s impression of the house. You may even want to considering staging to help with this. Very large pieces that can be visually disruptive should be stored elsewhere. Your home should invite potential buyers to imagine how they might change the home, while still showcasing it as it is.

5. Clutter or uncleanliness in any form can also dissuade potential buyers. Even the insides of cabinets should be neatly arranged. For cabinets, also replaced old or outdated hardware, remove grease stains, and be sure that everything is aligned neatly. Beds should be made, couch pillows arranged, and counter-top appliances should be neat. Consider buying storage baskets for office paper supplies, bathroom commodities and closet storage.

6. It’s also important to be aware of problems that may come up during the closing. If you have an unused buried oil tank, your buyer is likely to request that you remove the tank before the sale goes through. Similarly, anticipate issues that may come up during the final home inspection. Asbestos, lead, mold, roof issues, and other health or structural problems are best resolved at the earliest possible time.

There are a number of homes in Ridgefield and the neighboring towns of Redding, Wilton, Westport and Weston, that I’ve helped prep for the market. If you want more advice about what you should do to get your Fairfield County home ready for sale, contact me directly. I would be happy to take a tour of your home, provide you with a complimentary market analysis for your home, and help you determine what measures you can take to maximize your home’s value.

Why It’s A Good Time To Buy A Home In Ridgefield

After a stronger 2013, the Fed’s bond buying, which has pushed down interest rates, may begin to slow. Consumer confidence and home prices are both up over last year, which indicates that the economy has and may continue to strengthen. As the Fed sees less need for monetary stimulus and reduces the number of bonds it purchases, mortgage rates will increase. The Fed has already reduced the volume of bonds it is buying each month. Last month, the number was reduced from $85 to $75 billion and Federal Reserve President Charles Plosser suggested that the amount may be further reduced to only $25 billion in the coming months.

Plosser is bullish about the economy. According to his statement in Reuters : “if the economy continues to grow and strengthen I think that there’s no reason why we shouldn’t want to consider speeding the process up [of reducing bond-buying numbers] if we can”. He has plenty of reasons to think so – housing prices and consumer confidence have both increased year-over-year. Consumer confidence rose sharply from 72.0 in November to 78.1 in December. According to the National Association of Realtors, existing single family home sales in the Northeast outpaced national numbers, increasing by 6% year-over-year. Housing prices followed suit, rising 9.4% on average since December 2012. All indicators showed that the market was stronger in 2013 and that trend looks to continue. Within Ridgefield, 2013 was a great year for buyers and sellers alike as sales volume and median sale price increased.

The implication of these changes is that now may be the best time to purchase a house for the foreseeable future. However, even if mortgage rates rise, they are already at historically low levels, meaning that it is and will continue to be a great time to buy. For more information about how the real estate market in Ridgefield affects you, sign up below to receive our 2013 Year End Market Report. The market is recovering well, and we have the expertise and network to help any client succeed.