February 2023 Connecticut Market Snapshot

February continues to find housing inventory a challenge. There are plenty of buyers and homes that are in good condition are selling quickly. At Karla Murtaugh Homes we are here to provide valuable insights so you can stay educated and informed when planning your next move. I’m pleased to share Compass’ February 2023 Connecticut Market Snapshot, highlighting the prevailing trends shaping the market. Connect with me for more information.





Winter Break Staycation Guide

Winter Break is right around the corner! If you’re opting for a staycation this year, there’s plenty to do in our area.

The Prospector Theater always has family-friendly movies playing, and we love their snacks and drinks! Such a great place to visit all year round, especially considering their mission is to provide competitive and integrated employment to people with disabilities through the operation of a premium, first-run movie theater.

Sometimes we take for granted that our area is home to plenty of parks, museums and playgrounds that you can check out year-round. Here are a few of our favorites:

On Saturday, February 18, from 11 am to 12 pm, the Wilton Historical Society will hold its very own Maple Sugaring Workshop. Museum Educator Catherine Lipper will talk about the maple sugaring process while participants help to prepare their very own tasty snack of maple tarts. Don’t miss out on this sweet mid-winter treat! For details, click here.

A lovely Gift for your family on the weekend after Valentine’s Day: check out the Live Concert by America’s Tenor, Daniel Rodriguez; soprano, Angela Sbano; and bari-tenor, Frank Rendo. Concert begins at 1:00pm at St. Edward the Confessor Church in New Fairfield. For details, click here.

Drop in to St. Luke’s School in New Canaan and enjoy a facilitated series designed by artists, curators, and educators that invites families to think, play, create, and spend time together experimenting with sensory-rich materials and different modes of art making. For details, click here.

If you’re a chocolate-lover, you might want to check out the Westport Museum for History and Culture’s exhibit opening of “Bittersweet: Chocolate in the American Colonies” on Friday, February 24. For details, click here.

Grace Farms will host a free wintertime concert on Saturday, February 25! This family-friendly musical afternoon is curated by Music Director Marcus G. Miller and promises to bring warmth to a chilly February day. For details, click here.

Woodcock Nature Center in Wilton offers terrific hiking trails and camps. Have you ever heard of the Great Backyard Bird Count? This annual event on Saturday, February 18 encourages folks to come together over their love of birds and report sightings that help scientists better understand global bird populations. Woodcock educator Tommy McCarthy will be leading a guided walk for adults and kids to participate in the count and learn more about the event. For details, click here.

Ballard Park’s playground is fabulous no matter the weather and the gazebo looks beautiful even covered in snow (if we get any!).

Stepping Stones Children’s Museum and The Maritime Aquarium are both located in Norwalk with plenty of programs for kids of all ages.

A few of our other favorite things to fill a staycation:

Ridgefield Library will have a variety of activities including Story Times and STEAM Corner for Kids. For details, click here.

Deborah Ann’s Sweet Shoppe on Main Street will be open and is always an easy, fun outing way to get out of the house no matter how old your kiddos are! If you don’t feel like cooking, some of our favorite family-friendly restaurants are Gallo, 850 Degrees Wood Fired Pizza, Wooster Hollow Café, Dmitri’s Diner, Prime Burger, and BareBurger.

Several ski areas are close enough for a day trip, including Butternut in Massachusetts, Mount Southington in Plantsville, CT and Thunder Ridge in New York. For winter activities right here in town, check out daily open ice times at Winter Garden Ice Arena.

Check out the Ridgefield Hamlet Hub calendar for many more events happening on our area this week: https://calendar.hamlethub.com

Wishing everyone a fun and restful vacation no matter how you choose to spend it!

Where/What Are Millenials Buying?

Millenials are a massive group of people – about 72 million – who have entered the home-buying age as their careers take off, and they start to form families….and start accumulating savings. They will continue to grow their wealth over the next few years and many will be beneficiaries of gifts from parents and grandparents ……and inheritance, as the greatest wealth transfer in history – $68 TRILLION – happens simultaneously.

Every single day I’m seeing younger buyers being assisted by parents and relatives, at different levels of course, to assist them getting their foot in the door of a home in this high priced environment. The two common themes that I hear most regularly are:
1. If you get my money, use it on education or a home.
2. Don’t waste money on rent.

A recent report by Lending Tree listed the top metros in the US where Millennials are buying. They are: San Jose, Denver, Boston, Seattle, Austin, San Francisco, New York, San Diego, Los Angeles and Washington DC. Surprisingly, the sunny climes of Las Vegas, Birmingham, and Phoenix, meanwhile, make up the smallest share.

What do Millennials want in a home (NAR study)?
1. They love cities, but often buy in suburbs for the schools/more space.
2. They are often happy in smaller homes.
3. They want to spend less on a fixer-upper to spend it on redesigning. Many are semi-frustrated-HGTV-obsessed…..
4. Outdoor space and back yards matter lots.
5. Open floor spaces that connect kitchen, dining and living….to outdoor space are preferable to most. They love outdoor living spaces.
6. They love a sense of community, walkable neighborhoods and a short commute to work. Low crime and good schools matter. Gyms close by.
7. They love customization and personalization. Often a mix of traditional and modern. Home-based amenities like a gym or media room appeal.
8. 80% want a laundry room, hardwood floors and storage. An impressive kitchen with an island is at the top of the list.
9. They love home technology and want more energy efficient homes that are healthy and eco-conscious.
10. They want low maintenance.

While the vast majority of Millennials search online prior to buying, they seek the guidance of a professional agent to navigate editing, negotiations, get better insights and access, and understand all the subtle nuances no do-it-yourself internet Google search can deliver. If you have questions, let’s connect!

#COMPASScontent original article

The Murtaugh Minute in Hamlet Hub 02/08/2023

Read on as Karla answers the questions everyone is talking about!

Q: What is one of the misconceptions you’re hearing a lot?

A: A lot of people think interest rates are prohibitively high. But we’ve seen a slight reduction
and they aren’t where they were a year ago. Not only that, a lot of lenders are coming out with
very good programs to help buyers optimize during the mortgage process. They’re really
thinking outside the box, which is terrific for buyers. If you refer to national statistics, those are
showing that things are going in a positive direction. As Compass CEO Robert Reffkin, discussed recently on CNBC, there was a 25% increase in weekly mortgage applications three weeks ago, and an
additional 7% increase last week. Mortgage rates continue to move down to 4-month lows.

Q: Will we see a traditional spring market this year?

A: This will be the closest we’ve had to a traditional spring market since 2019. We certainly
didn’t have that in 2021 or 2022. An old wives tale in our business says it starts right after Super
Bowl but that’s not necessarily true. It usually begins late February or early March when you’ll
see more homes come up for sale, which should stay consistent until the summer. So if you’re
thinking of listing, there’s definitely still time. What’s in our favor is the mild winter. It’s easier
to navigate the town and show properties without snow on the ground! It’s also easier for
people to get here from other towns too if they’re considering a move into our area.

Q: Some people want to take advantage of the spring market and sell their home now, but how
do they do that if they haven’t found a place to buy yet?

A: Compass has an extraordinary network with agents throughout the country who can help
facilitate and give you insight into other areas of the country you may be considering. More
importantly, there are a lot of things we can do to support you through the process. The time is
now to get your home on the market. There are many ways to structure your sale that will
allow you to get the exposure you need for your home but also give you breathing room to find
what’s next. We love working with families and completely understand the need to work
around school calendars if you want your kids to be able to finish out the school year in their
current community. We can be very flexible and find a solution that works for your family.

Compass CEO Robert Reffkin on CNBC Closing Bell

“For the first time in 10 months, all the statistics I look at are trending positively.” – Compass CEO Robert Reffkin, CNBC.

Last week, Robert Reffkin was on CNBC’s Closing Bell to share his outlook on the real estate market and the initial positive signs we are seeing in 2023 (click here to watch the full segment). For the first time in 10 months, all of the statistics he looked at were trending positively.

  • There was a 25% increase in weekly mortgage applications two weeks ago, and an additional 7% increase this past week.
  • Mortgage rates continue to move down to 4-month lows.
  • There’s an increase in buyer interest, open house traffic, and offers.
  • In the last quarter of 2022, 42% of sellers were giving concessions to buyers at the closing table, a 10-year high.
  • Home builder sentiment improved for the first time in 1 year.
  • Pending closings were down 30+% at points in the fall, but over the last few weeks we have seen pending listings in most of our markets nearly flat year over year.

Surviving the “Arctic Blast”!

The Northeast is preparing for an Arctic Blast this weekend.  Here are a few tips to help you make it through unscathed:

#1: Leave cabinet doors in bathrooms and kitchen open to allow pipes underneath the sinks to receive warm air. This is particularly important when the sink/plumbing is on the inside of an outside wall.

#2: Drip water from faucets – letting a faucet drip during extreme cold weather can prevent pipes from bursting. A small steady drip of water helps to prevent freezing.

#3: Know where your main water switch is. If water stops working due to a freeze or burst, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve and contact a licensed plumbing professional.

#4 Check your windows. This might seem obvious, but checking ALL the windows in your home to make sure they are closed and locked will reduce heat loss.

#5 If you have an attached garage, keep its doors shut. Sometimes plumbing is routed through this unheated space, which leaves it vulnerable to extreme cold.

#6: Be prepared for a power outage. Power outages are fairly common during cold periods. This can be due to an increased demand on the power grid, ice on power lines, animals trying to find warmth by snuggling up to power transformers. Stock up on candles, matches, flashlights, extra batteries and blankets.

Stay safe and stay warm!

The Murtaugh Minute in Ridgefield’s Hamlet Hub

Karla Murtaugh answered some pressing Real Estate questions for Ridgefield’s Hamlet Hub.  Here’s where she thinks the market is going.


Q: What is going on with the real estate market these days? Are we still in the surge, as crazy as it was?

A: The market is not as crazy as it has been – it’s more fluid and balanced. I feel we’re on our way to a more normal market. We’re hearing a lot of comparisons to 2019 right now, particularly the second half of 2019 since we were starting to see a definite uptick in the market at that point. The lack of inventory is still driving this market and allowing prices to remain steady. Supply and demand is in full force.


Q: Is it still a good time to list my house?

A: Absolutely. There are plenty of buyers still in the market. Buyers fall into two camps – they are either new to the market now that it’s a little calmer, or took a break because they were exhausted by the frenzy of the past two plus years, but have decided to reenter again. You can feel confident entering the market right now, no matter whether you’re a buyer or a seller.


Q: Is it a good time to buy?

A: Definitely. At Karla Murtaugh Homes we are working with a number of buyers across all price points and there’s just not enough inventory to service them all. We are still seeing multiple offers, but generally they are coming in on properties that are as turnkey as possible and priced properly.


Q: What is one of the misconceptions you’re hearing a lot?

A: We always have to remind ourselves that real estate is hyper local. The national sound bites and headlines do not apply in Ridgefield right now. A lot of the numbers that are floating out there in headlines are comparing us to 2020 and 2021. The big, big difference is that there was so much more inventory to sell then, and a lot of the headlines aren’t giving any explanation or context.


Q: What about interest rates?

A: Though they have hedged up, they’re still not unreasonable especially when you look back and compare to where they’ve been throughout history. Most lenders are now suggesting a shorter-term variable rate. I don’t believe they’ll go back to below 4%, which is fine because that’s unsustainable, but hopefully the economic indicators will continue to show they will drop again soon.


Check out our 2022 Year End Real Estate Market Report here.

You Just Moved To Ridgefield With Kids. Now What?

Ridgefield is an absolutely fabulous place to raise a family! Excellent schools, plenty of activities, the first Cultural District in the state of Connecticut, close proximity to NYC and it’s consistently one of the safest towns in America.

So you just moved here and have kids in elementary and/or middle schools. Welcome! Now what? Our first recommendation is to get connected to the Ridgefield Newcomers, Ridgefield Moms Club, or another group where you can meet other families who are new to town.

Our area is home to plenty of parks, museums and playgrounds that you can check out with your little ones. Here are a few of our favorites:

  • Ballard Park in downtown Ridgefield has a fabulous new playground, beautiful gazebo and lovely gardens plus fabulous free CHIRP concerts in the summer.
  • Ambler Farm in Wilton celebrates our community’s agrarian roots through active learning programs, sustainable agriculture, responsible land stewardship, and historic preservation. They hold plenty of programs year-round and are home to many animals you can visit every day.
  • Woodcock Nature Center in Wilton offers terrific hiking trails and camps.
  • Stepping Stones Children’s Museum and The Maritime Aquarium are both located in Norwalk with plenty of programs for kids of all ages.
  • Silverman’s Farm in Easton is home to a petting zoo and plenty of pick-your-own fruit orchards.

The Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield is an outstanding organization that I’ve been proud to support for many years. They offer an incredible variety of programs and services, including their Torch Club which is a National leadership and service club for Middle School Age Club members. The program focuses on character development, community service, and social skills in a fun and creative environment.

Head to the Ridgefield Library and learn more about their many programs for children, including Reading to ROAR (Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue), Scrabble Club STEAM Corner, and Chess Club. They also have plenty of programs, seminars and book clubs for parents, and their daily newsletter contains a lot of valuable community resources.

Don’t miss The Prospector Theater, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to providing competitive and integrated employment to people with disabilities through the operation of a premium, first-run movie theater located right here in Ridgefield. In addition to their incredible mission, they show family-friendly movies and serve gourmet treats. Plus, it’s a fabulous date night destination!

Ridgefield Parks and Rec offers a plethora of classes and activities, from aquatics and dance to glee club and drop-in courses.

We highly recommend you subscribe to newsletters like Hamlet Hub for more information on what’s happening here in town!

We are proud to welcome you to our community and hope you love it as much as we do!

Ridgefield 2022 Year End Real Estate Market Report

2022 proved to be another strong year in residential real estate. While pricing remains elevated above pre-pandemic levels, we are seeing a slowdown in the number of homes sold. There was a 24% drop in the number of sales from 482 to 366 in 2022. The total dollar volume sold decreased by 20% to $360,490,826. Buyer demand is still strong with homes spending an average of 46 days on the market compared to 60 in 2021. Prices increased with the Median sales price rising 7% over last year to $870,000 and the Average sales price rising 5% to $984,948. Homes also continued to sell above asking price particularly in the first half of 2022.

Download the FULL REPORT including charts, graphs and additional stats

Looking Ahead
Since mid-2020 we have seen home prices elevate at an exceptional rate due to the pandemic. The demand caused by the influx of buyers to our local towns, coupled with exceptionally low mortgage rates created a perfect storm. The main concern going into 2023 is the lack of available housing inventory. There are many qualified buyers in the market for homes at all price points, but supply and demand continues to remain out of balance. This lack of inventory will allow prices to hold somewhat steady. Towns such as Ridgefield, which offer a sophisticated, suburban lifestyle & award-winning schools, are still in demand. New residents are taking advantage of the amenities with no desire to return to cities. The outlook of most economists is that we may see the market move towards a more balanced buyer/ seller dynamic in 2023 with seasonality returning to the buying/selling timeline.

The Luxury Market
Sales in the luxury home market (over $1.5 million) continued to have a strong showing in 2022. 40 homes sold in this price point compared with 44 in 2021 and 41 in 2020. We have seen luxury buyers come from all areas of the country, with a particularly large number migrating east from as far west as Texas and California. There have also been buyers moving locally as the opportunity to trade-up presented itself.