Ridgefield 2022 Mid-Year Market Report

The first of half of 2022 saw the market slow from a frantic scramble to a more manageable, but still in-demand pace. The number of sales and total sales volume were down significantly, while the median and average sales prices rose a few percent over the same time in 2021. Inventory continues to be a challenge and is sitting at 3 months, which is the same as in 2021. There are still plenty of buyers ready to purchase homes that are priced properly and in good condition, and the median days on market in the first half of the year was 30 days compared to 48 last year. Homes are selling at 103% of list price as well.

Sellers seemed hesitant to jump into the market in the early days of 2022 and inventory was a real challenge throughout the first couple of months. However, with interest rates remaining historically low, we started to see seller confidence climb again and buyers were quick to jump on properties that offered amenities, location, and updates. Multiple offer situations were common but have slowed slightly as
we move into the traditionally slower summer months of Q3. Prices are holding firm even in the face of rising inflation concerns and increasing interest rates. The luxury market continues to do well with investors taking refuge in the real estate market, even as the stock market continues with volatility. Inventory levels are still at historic lows with only 3 months of inventory currently available, which is good news for those looking to sell. There’s also good news for buyers as the market seems to be becoming more balanced and less frenzied offering a return to a more traditional pattern of purchasing with mortgage, appraisal and inspection contingencies.

The luxury market – billed as sales over $1.5 million – continued to dominate over past years. There were 16 luxury sales in the first half of the year, compared with 22 in the first half of 2021. As a percentage of total sales this represents
a 1% increase over 2021, and a 5% increase over 2019 (our last ‘non-covid’ real estate market). We also just closed the highest priced sale to date of spectacular ‘Hilltop Estate’ for $4.4 million.


Inventory Is Increasing, But It’s Still A Seller’s Market

Spring is here, and it’s a fabulous time to list your home! If you’ve been on the fence about selling, we understand. It’s been a tumultuous two years. But the real estate market shows that inventory is starting to rise, and if you’d like to capitalize on this exciting spring market to earn a fabulous price for your home, Karla Murtaugh Homes at Compass would love to help. And if you’re looking to buy, inventory is climbing and you may have more options in the coming weeks, so definitely don’t give up!

“Thankfully, the market isn’t as frenzied now as it has been in past months, and more people are feeling comfortable about selling. Inventory is still relatively low at this point, so it’s a great time to take advantage of a seller’s market,” said Karla Murtaugh.

According to Connecticut Magazine, at the start of 2022, statewide inventory sat at less than a two-month supply, more than four months less than the typical market, so inventory will be the most important thing to watch in 2022. The Multiple Listing Service’s year-end report for 2021 showed the months supply of inventory down nearly 38 percent from 2020, to 1½ months statewide. Months supply describes the amount of time it would take to sell all the homes on the market, given current market conditions. Historically, moderate price appreciation comes with about six months’ supply, according to the National Association of Realtors.

“One thing to keep in mind if you’re thinking of selling is that research shows a staged home generally sells faster and for more money. The real estate market is highly competitive and staging will give you a leg up on the competition”, said Karla.

“When a potential buyer enters your home, you want to provide a backdrop for them to experience the home—a place where they can see how rooms function and how the home ‘feels’. You want them to say WOW!”, she continued.

One of Karla’s favorite things about having joined Compass is the Compass Concierge program, which is designed to prepare your home for the market. From deep cleaning to cosmetic improvements, Compass Concierge assesses opportunities to elevate your home’s value. The program will provide a tailored plan for updating and staging your home, and the means to execute it. Compass fronts the costs associated with home-selling improvements and only collects payment for the services rendered at the time of the property’s closing.

In addition, Karla’s own staging programs are designed to work within your budget and comfort level, and can either use your existing furniture and accessories, or bring in additional items. Most importantly, staging lets you get an objective opinion as seen through a “buyer’s eyes” – it’s not a reflection on your personal style or taste, but about getting you the most bang for your buck and top dollar on your sale.

For everything you need to know about selling your home, check out the Karla Murtaugh Homes Seller’s Guide. Be sure to connect to the team at karla.murtaugh@compass.com for your complimentary consultation.

Put A Little Spring In Your Step And Spruce It Up

With increasing inventory coming on the market, buyers are continuing to offer top dollar but are looking for properties in good condition with a “fresh” look. Even in this brisk market, it’s worth it to take the time to prepare your home. We have so many examples that demonstrate when you go the extra mile, you can list at a higher market price and ultimately achieve a higher sale price and in many cases multiple offers. Here are some simple ways to brighten your home for spring whether you’re considering selling or not.

1. Declutter! This is a terrific opportunity to get rid of items you’re no longer using or enjoying. If you’re not ready to part with many of your things, consider a temporary storage unit.

2. Deep clean! Set aside a significant amount of time or hire a pro, then keep it clean until you close so it’s in great shape for showings. Don’t forget often neglected areas, like heating vents, lightswitch plates, outlet covers, trim, doorframes, grout and caulking.

3. Shine! One thing you absolutely must spring clean if you’re planning on selling your home is the windows, including screens and sills that can look really dingy after a long winter. When your windows sparkle, they’ll let in that gorgeous natural spring sunlight which makes every part of your home look more beautiful.

4. Repair! Patch holes in the walls, replace broken appliances, change burnt out light bulbs.

5. Paint! Many homeowners are surprised by how a new coat of neutral paint can refresh their home. We’re happy to recommend paint colors that will enhance the beauty of your home.

6. Freshen up! Take advantage of the warmer spring temperatures and open your windows as much as possible to help air out your home. This can help remove any odors from paint, cleaning products and/or pets.

7. Boost curb appeal! The first impression is most important and, so consider improving outdoor light fixtures, replacing the mailbox, arranging patio furniture and/or sprucing up the landscaping. Even a few pots of colorful flowers can make a huge difference in welcoming potential buyers. Plants and shrubs could be looking a little overgrown by this time of year, so spend a little time sprucing things up. Especially if you’re planning to list your home for sale, don’t underestimate the power of curb appeal. Invest in professional landscapers, or head to Ridgefield Hardware which has plenty of tools and products to choose from.

If you’re thinking about selling, connect with us today at karla.murtaugh@compass.com or 203-856-5534. Happy Spring!

Wilton Q1 2022 Market Report

The Wilton real estate market continues to take advantage of the current surge. While inventory and the number of sales are typically lower in Wilton than in Ridgefield, the town has enjoyed an earlier resurgence of inventory particularly in the over $1 million range. This has led to higher median and average sales prices than in Q1 2021. For example, 52% of all property sales in Wilton in Q1 2022 have been for homes priced in the $1 million and over range compared to only 26% in Q1 2021. In addition, there have been twice the number of luxury properties (homes selling for more than $1.5 million) in 2022 compared to 2021, with 20% of all sales being in this price point. This noticeable surge in luxury sales has definitely influenced the median and average sales prices in the town. The number of sales in Wilton has also decreased as in Ridgefield, but is still slightly higher than the pre-pandemic numbers. As we move into the typically fast-paced spring market, it will be interesting to see if supply can keep up with demand.

Ridgefield Q1 2022 Market Report

Overall, the Ridgefield real estate market for single family homes was healthy in the first quarter of 2022. While the main issue affecting the number of sales was low inventory, we have started to see an uptick in homes coming on the market, particularly in late March. There are still many buyers searching for homes, and sellers are getting creative with rent backs and other tools while they sell and make their next move. It is also important to note that while values seemed to show a decrease from last year, that is almost entirely due to the breakdown of homes that are selling. For example, in Q1 2021, homes in the over $1 million category made up 33% of all sales, while in 2022 they were only 29% of total market share. In addition, the luxury market (homes selling for greater than $1.5 million) accounted for 12% of all sales in Q1 2021, compared to only 6% this year. The drop in the share of homes selling in these price points has an overall negative effect on both median and average sales prices as reflected in these statistics. This is nothing to be concerned about as the number of sales equals or exceeds our more normal markets of 2018-2020, and the median sales values are up compared to those years as well.

COMPASS is the #1 Brokerage in USA for Closed Sales Volume!

I am so excited to be part of such a dynamic brokerage and am pleased to share that as of the end of 2021, COMPASS is now the largest brokerage in the United States in terms of closed sales volume (RealTrends 3/16/22). This is pretty remarkable considering we were a start-up 10 years ago and now we’re number 1!

What This Means For You?

I am proud to be a part of the largest brokerage in the U.S. where I can best support you! Powered by the COMPASS network and its technology, I have access to the top agents nationwide and can help you with all of your real estate needs.

In this challenging real estate market, my agent referral network can help you make your next move with confidence. I know a lot of you are thinking of selling, but not sure where to go. This “chicken and egg” phenomenon requires a skilled, seasoned agent to help you navigate it successfully. There are a number of COMPASS initiatives available, which will help sellers be in the best position possible to navigate their property sale and what they’ll do next.

I can confidently say our referral network is officially the best in the United States. Almost anywhere you are considering moving, COMPASS has a highly talented, high integrity, well-respected and hardworking agent I can refer you to.

If you’re interested in learning more about how I can help you capitalize on this hot real estate market, let’s set up a time to connect. And don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any other questions. 203-856-5534 or karla.murtaugh@compass.com. Together, we will MOVE YOU!

Embrace The Green!

St. Patrick’s Day is next week! And while you’re getting your green on and planning for this fun holiday, don’t forget to exercise your green thumb. Plants and shrubs could be looking a little overgrown by this time of year, so spend a little time sprucing things up.

Especially if you’re planning to list your home for sale, don’t underestimate the power of curb appeal. Sasha at Greenway Landscaping is a great resource if you’d like to invest in an expert opinion on how to cut back your plants. Or head to Ridgefield Hardware which has plenty of chemical-free products to choose from.

If you prefer a more natural approach to your lawn, you may enjoy this terrific piece in 068 Magazine about the “Pollinator Pathway”: https://068magazine.com/068-feature-benefits-of-a-natural-back-yard-march-april/

In this article, Sarah Breznen, Director of Education at the Woodcock Nature Center, stresses the importance of researching specific native plants. “The pollinator pathway is a great resource, and I would always urge everyone to go on there because they have a list of plants, what habitat they’re good for, when they bloom, what host species use them,” says Breznen. “So, they can kind of pick what would be most beneficial for their backyard.”

David McCarthy, Executive Director of the Wilton Land Conservation Trust, is another supporter of chemical-free yards. “An organic lawn is something that’s more sustainable over the long term,” explains McCarthy. “When you introduce things like pesticides, herbicides, and you’re spreading those around you are basically creating a dead zone.”

Also, don’t forget to clean your gutters out after the winter! Clogged gutters can be a major cause of spring flooding in homes, and it’s imperative to keep your basement dry.

Enjoy celebrating the return of the sun with some green beer and green lawns! Wishing everyone a very happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Ridgefield Market Continues To Out Perform

Overall, Ridgefield single family homes sales in February were reduced compared to 2020 and 2021 due to a lack of inventory. Only 12 homes sold this past month, with a Median Sales Price of $646,000 and an Average Sales Price of $796,875. However, it is important to evaluate these numbers as part of a bigger picture, and not in a bubble. In reality, there are plenty of qualified buyers still looking to purchase, but there is a relatively small selection of homes for them to choose from!

When comparing year-to-date sales, a picture emerges reflecting a strong market with all the markings of an exceptional year if sellers choose to list their homes for sale.  The Median Days On Market for January and February 2022 was 62 days compared to 65 in 2021, 105 in 2020 and 79 in 2019. In general, homes are spending almost no time on market, often selling with multiple offers within the first few days. The Sales to List Price Ratio reflects this trend with the current ratio sitting at 100.7%, while 2021 was 99.4%, 2020 at 95.5%, and 2019 at 94.3%.  Again, inventory is the biggest challenge. Currently there are only 3 months of inventory on the market, compared to 3 months in 2021, 10 months in 2020 and 14 months in 2019!

Pricing is also interesting due to this lack of inventory. There were many more sales in lower price points than in the luxury market, resulting in January and February 2022 showing large price decreases from both 2021 and 2020. The Median Sales Price YTD is $723,750, a 15% decrease from 2021, but a 32% increase from pre-pandemic 2019 values.  The Average Sales Price tells a similar story decreasing 10% from 2021 to $829,143 but remaining 12% higher than prices in 2019. Perhaps the biggest decrease is seen in the 34% drop in the number of homes sold when compared to the same time in 2021, but a 55% increase over 2019.

The overarching message here is that the Ridgefield real estate market is extremely healthy and is simply waiting for an influx of properties to be listed. Spring is traditionally the strongest time to list a home for sale and we are seeing an uptick in interest from potential sellers here and in surrounding lower Fairfield County towns. In my expert opinion there is no time better than the present to sell your home.

If you would like to have a more in-depth conversation about your home’s value, connect with us today. Karla Murtaugh 203-856-5534 or karla.murtaugh@compass.com.


Compass, Inc. Reports 2021 Results & Growth

New York, NY – February 16, 2022 – Compass, Inc. (NYSE: COMP), the leading tech-enabled real estate brokerage in the United States, announced today that revenue for the full year 2021 was $6.4 billion, up 73% year-over-year. Revenue for the fourth quarter 2021 was $1.6 billion, an increase of 31% year-over-year.

The Compass technology and services platform contributed to year-over-year transaction growth of 56% for the full year 2021 and 20% for the fourth quarter.

Net loss was $494 million for the full year 2021 and $175 million for the fourth quarter. For the full year 2021, Compass achieved positive Adjusted EBITDA of $2 million compared to an Adjusted EBITDA loss of $156 million in 2020. In the fourth quarter of 2021, Adjusted EBITDA loss was $51 million. The majority of the net losses in 2021 were driven by the non-cash stockbased compensation expense of $386 million for the full year 2021, $149 million of which was one-time related to the IPO, and $93 million for the fourth quarter.

The Company’s cash position remains strong, with $618 million in cash and an unused $350 million revolver available to invest in the growth of the business.

“I am happy to announce that our strategy of achieving strong revenue growth while improving profitability and investing in our business is working exceptionally well,” said Robert Reffkin, Founder, Chairman, and CEO of Compass. “We delivered exceptionally strong revenue growth of 73% in 2021 increasing revenue to $6.4 billion as our agents closed a record 225,000 transactions, up 56% in 2021 while the industry grew transactions by 8%. We ended the year with positive Adjusted EBITDA, two years ahead of the timing we communicated at the IPO. Today, we are guiding to continued strong growth in Adjusted EBITDA in 2022 and beyond.”

Reffkin continued, “In nine years, we have built a powerful brand across the United States with more than 26,000 agents in 69 markets covering nearly half of the US population. In 2021, we added nearly 7,000 agents as we launched 25 new markets and grew our national market share to 5.6% which is up from 4.0% in 2020 and 1.1% in 2018. Agents tell us that the reason they decide to bring their business to Compass is our agent-focused culture and our proprietary vertically-integrated technology platform that provides a critical edge in a real estate market increasing in competition for talent, listings and clients. We continue to have industry leading principal agent retention of over 90% and we had a net promoter score in 2021 of 71 with our agents.”

Higher usage of the Compass platform is contributing to enhanced agent economics, productivity and retention. A cohort study of platform usage among our agents1 found that in 2021, the top 25% of Compass teams who used the platform most:

● Represented 55% of all Compass transactions;

● Grew their Gross Commission Income 2.6x, compared to the bottom 25% of agent teams;

● Retained principal agents at an annual rate of 98% versus 86% for the bottom 25% of agent teams; and

● Used the platform consistently – Top multi-agent teams spent an average of 4 hours per day (assuming a five day work week) using the tools and single-agent teams used the platform more than 2 hours per day.

FY2021 Financial Highlights:

● Revenue increased by 73% from FY2020 to $6.42 billion as transactions increased 56%.

● GAAP Net Loss was $494 million, compared to $270 million in FY2020.

○ GAAP Net Loss margin was 7.7%, compared to 7.3% in FY2020.

● Adjusted EBITDA was a positive $2 million, compared to a $(156) million loss in FY2020.

○ Adjusted EBITDA margin was 0.0%, compared to (4.2)% in FY2020.

FY2021 Operational Highlights:

● Agents: Average Number of Principal Agents was 11,058, an increase of 2,372 from FY2020.

● Transactions: Compass agents closed 225,272 Total Transactions in FY2021, up 56% from FY2020, compared to a 8% increase in transactions for the residential real estate market . Our Principal Agents averaged 20.4 transactions on our platform in FY2021, up 22% year-over-year.

● Gross Transaction Value (“GTV”)6 : GTV of $254.2 billion increased by 68% from FY2020. This was a record year for Compass, reflecting strong transaction volume and higher average transaction values. GTV per average principal agent was $23.0 million, up 32% year-over-year.

● Markets: In FY2021, Compass entered 25 new markets, bringing the total markets served to 69 at the end of the year.