Ridgefield 2021 Mid-Year Market Report

Ridgefield Market Snapshot
Ridgefield home sales remain strong in the first half of 2021 compared to 2020, which is to be expected due to the two lost months during the pandemic shutdown. There was a 51% increase in sales during the first half of 2021 with 237 homes selling as compared to only 157 in 2020. The overall sales volume increased by 86% from $119,397,044 YTD in 2020 to $222,198,937 YTD in 2021. It will be interesting to see if the numbers start to even out more in Q3 as we factor in the incredible second half of 2020 to the mix.

Prices Are Up
Both the Median Sales Price and the Average Sales Price saw marked increases in the first half of the year. The median price jumped from $635,000 in 2020 to $815,000 in 2021. The average sale price saw an equally large upward movement and sits at $937,548 this year, a 23% increase over 2020’s $760,491.

Market Time Is Down
The average days on market saw a 44% decrease from 116 days to 65 days before a property went under contract. Tellingly, the months of inventory also decreased from 16 months to 6 months year over year. This lack of inventory and surge in buyer demand has fueled a housing shortage across the country, resulting in higher prices and creating the seller’s market we are currently experiencing.

The Luxury Market
Luxury market sales in Ridgefield – defined as homes selling for more than $1.5 million – took a huge leap in the first half of 2021 with 22 homes selling as compared to only 11 by this time last year. When we look at the last five years, 2019, 2018 and 2017 had 7, 1 and 2 luxury sales by mid-year respectively. This was in large part due to the continuing exodus of people leaving urban areas for the space and privacy of country estates early in the year. Combined with low interest rates and a surging stock market, real estate reflected a desirable investment. Even now as things open up and offices are talking about bringing workers back in, we are still seeing interest at the top end of the market.

Looking Ahead
For the better part of a year the real estate market has been in a boom like we’ve never seen. The mass exodus from urban areas caused unprecedented inventory demands on our local market resulting in bidding wars, multiple offers, all cash offers and a shift to a seller’s market almost overnight. As the country reopens after the ‘long pause’, and questions about hybrid work and school begin to rise, we are once again faced with an unknown situation. To date, the number of sales and overall prices have seen double and triple digit growth. With people beginning to take vacations again, the market seems less frenzied than a few months ago, but we are still seeing homes that are in good condition and priced well sell amid a torrent of offers in just a few days.

Read the full report.

Mother Always Said “Eat Your Vegetables”… But How About Growing Them Too?

With so many of us taking advantage of extra time at home last summer, as well as this summer to upgrade our outdoor living spaces, it’s only natural that those of us with green thumbs may have turned to a more sustainable way of obtaining our veggies!

If you are one of the industrious individuals who is trying out this kind of gardening, mother nature has certainly helped out with all the July showers of late. If you haven’t planted much yet this season, don’t fret. There’s still time to plant a variety of vegetables to harvest this fall, which will be here before we know it.

To get a great fall harvest, mid to late summer is the time to start sowing your fall garden plants if you’re looking to bring the fresh veggies to your table by the time the cool weather arrives. Crops like broccoli, green beans, beets, and radishes can be sown in late summer for a fall harvest. Time to maturity will vary by crop, so check seed packs or tags in seedling containers and plan backward to come up with a planting date.

If you have a small gardening space, start thinking about how to create space for your fall garden by figuring out which of your spring and summer crops will finish first; when summer crops are ready to take out, be prepared with fall crops to replace them.

Check out HGTV.com for more suggestions.

Top 5 Reasons To Move To Ridgefield

Ridgefield, a beautiful, colonial town nestled in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains, can easily be described as “the little town that time forgot.” Established in 1709, encompassing Branchville, Titicus, & Ridgebury, Ridgefield is the perfect blend of New England small town charm, combined with America’s modern day tastes.

Year after year Connecticut Magazine ranks Ridgefield #1 when taking into consideration quality of life, schools, restaurants, low crime rate, cultural offerings and scope of services. All these reasons are important factors when looking for homes for sale in CT, and Ridgefield proudly offers them all (and so much more!).

Here are our top five reasons to move to Ridgefield:

1. The town’s school system is considered among the finest in a state known for fine schools. If you are looking for a family friendly community that’s tight knit and proud to support its heritage, Ridgefield is the place for you! The exceptional educational system is often a key driver for many families searching homes for sale in Ridgefield. Ridgefield’s award-winning public schools encompass Branchville, Barlow Mountain, Scotland, Farmingville, Veteran’s Park and Ridgebury Elementary schools, Scotts Ridge and East Ridge Middle schools, and Ridgefield High School. The high school features an incredible athletic campus supporting the many high school and community sports teams the area is known for. Ridgefield Academy offers a wonderful private option, while religious education is also available.

2. Ridgefield has been designated the first Cultural District in the state of Connecticut. The Ridgefield Playhouse attracts high caliber entertainment from the music and arts world, and The Prospector movie theatre is recognized throughout the country as a blueprint for creating meaningful employment for adults with disabilities. Our new Cultural District designation recognizes that Ridgefield has an artistic and economic center of cultural activities that makes our community extraordinary. The multitude of both nonprofit and for-profit cultural facilities, activities and assets in the expansive downtown area make our Town unique and a phenomenal resource for both residents and visitors.

3. The lakes and winding roads provide beautiful backdrops for hiking, biking and jogging and landmarks like the Woodcock Nature Center, New Pond Farm, The Hickories, One Hump Farm, Simpaug Farm, The Ridgefield Public Library, Weir Farm National Historical Park, Seth Low Pierrepont State Park and numerous ball fields, tennis courts and swimming pools, provide unique experiences.

4. Easy commute to NYC! Ridgefield commuters have numerous options when commuting to New York City. Katonah train station, serviced via town shuttle, and Branchville train station are good options for commuting from southern Ridgefield, while north-end commuters may favor Goldens Bridge or Purdys.

5. Ridgefield prides itself on community involvement. Everywhere you look there are opportunities to support small businesses, charities, causes and communities including charitable 5K runs, community theater programs, volunteer fundraisers and neighborhood tag sales. The Ridgefield Community Center, Boys and Girls Club and numerous sports teams allow for ample participation in athletic pursuits.

Learn more about Ridgefield, including real estate market statistics, in our Town Profile:

Top Outdoor Living Trends, According to Google

Summer is here! Even as the world reopens, homeowners and home buyers are putting more weight on outdoor spaces to enjoy at home. So, what’s trending in outdoor spaces? Living Spaces, a furniture retailer, recently spotlighted Google trends data to showcase what is seeing the highest uptick in interest as homeowners spruce up the outdoors.

Indoor-outdoor spaces: “Cozy, private, and shaded space outdoors” is trending—all through comfy couches, ambient lighting, and multifunctional, weather-resistant furniture, according to Daniela Lopez, a Living Spaces designer. Indoor-outdoor spaces have posted one of the largest increases for 2021, jumping about 156% over the last year, according to Google searches.

Backyard play sets: The kids are getting their own private spaces outside too, including backyard play sets, tree houses, and even giant sidewalk checkers games or outdoor reading nooks. The Google Trends report shows backyard play sets have risen about 7% over the past year.

Gardening: Container gardening is gaining popularity, which has increased spots all around outdoor space for pots of flowers or fruits or vegetables. Edible gardens have seen a 20% increase in searches over the past year and sustainable gardens a 9% increase.

Backyard basketball court: Sports and hobbies have gained popularity in the pandemic and half-court basketball courts don’t have to take up a ton of space. Google Trends notes “backyard basketball court” has seen a 42% interest over the past year.

Front porch: The front porch has become an extension of the indoor space and a place during the pandemic for drive-up parties or socially distanced gatherings, Lopez notes.

Hot tubs: In creating an entertainment getaway, hot tubs have grown in popularity too. Hot tub searches are up 4.11% over the past year.

View more outdoor trends, according to Google, at LivingSpaces.com.

Top 5 Reasons To Move To Wilton

Wilton is a rural residential town rich in New England history. Nestled in the Norwalk River Valley in southwestern Connecticut, Wilton is north of the City of Norwalk, west of the Town of Weston, and east of the Town of New Canaan. Winding roads, large lots and a generally rural feel lend Wilton a serene lifestyle. Bustling retail areas also abound with wonderful restaurants and all the modern amenities of an urban center.

Here are our top five reasons to move to Wilton:

1. The exceptional education system is often a key driver for many families searching for homes for sale in Wilton. Highly rated, Wilton’s Board of Education is responsible for the four public schools under their jurisdiction. Organized slightly differently than a traditional school progression, the Miller-Driscoll School serves pre-K to second grade, Cider Mill School grades 3-5, Middlebrook School grades 6-8, and Wilton High School grades 9 -12. For more information, use my comprehensive tool to research information about area schools. You can also look at the proximity of home listings to the school you’re exploring for your family.

2. Wilton has a strong arts community represented by the Wilton Arts Council and enjoys many festivities and community events each year. The Wilton Trackside Teen Center offers a multitude of opportunities for teens to get involved, while Wilton Children’s Theater offers a unique theatrical experience to the town’s children.

3. This beautiful town is home to beloved nature destinations like Woodcock Nature Center, situated on 179 acres of state-protected land with 3 miles of trails traversing a mixture of habitats, including woods with stands of maple, beech, oak and hickory trees, a pond and wetlands. A visit to the Weir Farm National Historic Site is always invigorating, a creative refuge for friends and fellow artists that still remains today. Hiking, biking and all manner of sports teams abound as does a rich shopping experience in many nearby neighborhoods.

4. Some well-traveled routes, such as Ridgefield and Belden Hill roads, are known for handsome historic homes and stone walls. Wilton has preserved much of its architectural heritage in five town-designated historic districts.

5. The commute to Stamford and New York City is totally do-able. If you’re looking for a home for sale conveniently located to New York City, I encourage you to consider Wilton, which is only 90 minutes from Grand Central Station from the Wilton, Cannondale or Branchville stations on the New Haven Line Danbury branch of Metro-North Railroad. Depending on where you live in Wilton, you can travel to GCT via the Branchville, Wilton or Cannondale stations on the Danbury Branch of the Metro-North New Haven line.

Learn more about Wilton, including real estate market statistics, in our Town Profile:
https://karlamurtaugh.com/wilton-ct-real-estate/ .

Top Ten Summer Staycation Ideas to Enjoy Within Driving Distance of Ridgefield

School is OUT here in Ridgefield and after the past year we’ve all earned some rest and relaxation. With so many fabulous outing opportunities within driving distance of Ridgefield, why would you ever leave the area? Here are a few of our favorites!

1. Strawberry picking at Jones Family Farms. For over 150 years, the Jones family has been working the lands on their farm in Shelton, Connecticut. Today this 400-acre farm offers one of the finest harvest-your-own picking experiences due to the high quality crops and the knowledgeable, friendly farmers and staff. Click here for details: https://www.jonesfamilyfarms.com/farm.

2. Martin Park Beach right here in Ridgefield offers refreshing pond swimming and boating activities in a natural, spring-fed pond. With docks, kayaks, paddleboard rentals, playground, volleyball net, Wibit Slide, Zoom Floom, and Water Mat, Great Pond is one of the gems of Connecticut. Click here for details: https://www.ridgefieldparksandrec.org/martin-park-beach.

3. The Spray Bay at the Ridgefield Rec Center is a 2,800 square foot, zero-entry water playground beloved by kids of all ages. Spray Bay play time is included with a Family Recreation or Family All-Inclusive Membership; drop-in rate available for non-members, which also includes recreation swim. Click here for details: https://www.ridgefieldparksandrec.org/spray-bay

4. Yoga and trails at Woodcock Nature Center in Wilton. Trails are open to the public 365 days a year from dawn until dusk for family and individual use unless noted. Trails and grounds close at sunset. There is no cost to visit the grounds. Visitors are welcome to explore our grounds, visit our birds of prey and use our playground during daylight hours. Registered yoga teacher Jessica Outlaw will hold several outdoor classes throughout the summer. Click here for details: https://www.woodcocknaturecenter.org/yoga.

5. At Silverman’s rustic animal farm in Easton, CT, you can see, pet, and feed all sorts of unusual animals, including buffalo, llamas, alpacas, sheep, goats, fallow deer, emus, and long-horn cattle. Picnic tables are available in the park area. Silverman’s also offers pick-your-own raspberries, blueberries, peaches, apples and much more! Click here for details: https://www.silvermansfarm.com/animal-farm/#farm-rules.

6. Sherwood Island State Park in Westport, CT is a great place to get your beach fix. Connecticut’s first state park is still one of its finest. Have a leisurely lunch in the shade of the picnic grove, swim in Long Island Sound, or view marsh life from the observation platform at Sherwood Island. Click here for details: https://portal.ct.gov/DEEP/State-Parks/Parks/Sherwood-Island-State-Park.

7. Ridgefield Golf Course is a public course offering memberships, clinics, special events and more. Click here for details: https://ridgefieldgc.com/.

8. Ridgefield Library offers an incredible variety of free programming from Summer Reading and STEAM programs to Storytime in the shade of the Ballard Park Gazebo. All programs are free and open to the public, though programs with limited space grant preference to Ridgefield residents. Click here for details: https://ridgefieldlibrary.org/.

9. At Weir Farm National Historical Park in Wilton, CT you can visit the home and studio of America’s most beloved Impressionist, J. Alden Weir, and walk in the footsteps of generations of world-class artists. Set amidst more than 60 acres of painterly woods, fields, and waterways, you’ll soon see why Weir described his home as the “Great Good Place.” Weir’s farm is a national legacy to American Impressionism, the creative spirit, and historic preservation. Click here for details: https://www.nps.gov/wefa/index.htm.

10. Lasdon Park, Arboretum, and Veterans Memorial, located in nearby Katonah, New York is Westchester’s Public Garden with 234 acres of landscape consisting of ornamental display gardens, containers, orchard, tree and shrub collections, conservatory with tropical plants and changing exhibitions, greenhouses, forests, meadows, and hiking trails. Click here for details: https://www.lasdonpark.org/.

And because we couldn’t pick just ten…!

11. Storm King Art Center is an incredible 500-acre outdoor museum located in New York’s Hudson Valley, where visitors experience large-scale sculpture and site-specific commissions under open sky. Since 1960, Storm King has been dedicated to stewarding the hills, meadows, and forests of its site and surrounding landscape. Click here for details: https://stormking.org/.

Ridgefield’s May Market Report – All Indicators Point To Strong Market

Positive Numbers Continue

While the frenzied nature of purchases earlier this year seems to have slowed a little due to a slight increase in the number of homes coming on the market, single-family home sales are still breaking records in both number and value. All indicators – both year over year and for the month of May – were up compared to the same time in 2020. We anticipate this trend to continue as early summer sales ramp up and people finalize their plans for the upcoming school year including whether they will continue to work from home, or need to resume commuting to an office. The current months of inventory for May (the time it would take to sell all homes on the market) currently stands at 3 months compared to 7 last May, while the days on market has decreased from 73 in May 2020 to 44 in May 2021.

Single Family Sales & Volume Up

May 2021 saw a 19% increase in the number of sales of single family homes in Ridgefield with 38 properties changing hands compared to 32 in May 2020. There was also a 55% increase in the dollar volume transacted – $37,760,000 compared to $24,390,000 during the same period on 2020.  The same held true in the year-to-date numbers with 187 vs 157 homes sold (up 19%) and a 49% increase in the dollar volume from $177,945,238 in 2021 and $119,397,044 in 2020.

Median & Average Sale Prices Up Too

The median sale price of a single-family home increased from $635,000 to $722,500 – a jump of 14% in the May 2021 vs May 2020.  In year to date numbers, the increase was even more substantial at 31%, with the median price standing at $829,000 in 2021 compared to $635,000 in 2020.  The average price for a home in Ridgefield also increased 30% in May 2021 and sits at $993,703, while year to date in sits 25% higher than 2020 at $951,579.

 

 

 

Karla Murtaugh Named Christie’s Master’s Circle Member For Third Year Running

What an honor to have been named a Christie’s International Real Estate Master’s Circle member every year since the program began in 2019. This award recognizes my love of – and commitment to – real estate. It also acknowledges the luxury market expertise I have developed over the years. It is very exciting and I welcome bringing our same Platinum Level of Service to every member of our community, no matter what price point

Specifically, the Christie’s International Real Estate Masters Circle includes an elite group of high-performing real estate specialists from across the Christie’s global network. Membership in the 2021 Masters Circle is reserved for the network’s top producers in sales volume, number of luxury transactions and listings, all of whom demonstrate a passion for real estate under the Christie’s International Real Estate brand. The agents in the class of 2021 represent more than 4,800 listings, with areas of market expertise ranging from waterfront, equestrian, mountain and ski to vineyards, development, urban, suburban, and private islands among others.

If you are thinking of selling your home and want to understand what sets us apart and why we were recognized with this award, contact me at 203-856-5534 or karla@karlamurtaugh.com for a meeting. We’d love to help you with your real estate needs and welcome you to the Karla Murtaugh Homes experience.

Ridgefield’s April Market Report – Sales Down, Prices Up

Obviously, the Real Estate word on everyone’s mind so far this year has been INVENTORY.  While it’s true that in the early part of 2021 the inventory of homes was less than normal, as spring gets into full swing and the flowers and trees start to bloom, we see more sellers putting their homes on the market.  Easing fear of Covid-19, combined with more direction in terms of work from home vs a return to the office, and increasing numbers of vaccinations have all led to a greater confidence that the market will open up.

Overall Sales Down
While the first quarter of 2021 was unparalleled in terms of sales volume and price, April has seen a slowdown compared to the same time last year. Not surprisingly, the lack of inventory entering the market in January through March this year resulted in fewer homes to buy. The number of sales in April 2021 totaled 37 compared with 54 in April 2020 – a 31% decrease. In terms of overall dollar volume, there was $34,831,356 transacted this April resulting in an 11% drop in overall sales volume compared to April 2020.

Prices Are Up
While the overall dollar volume was lower than the same time last year, the median and average price gains were significant. The median sales price of a single family home rose from $635,000 to $730,000, which is a 15% gain over April 2020. The average sales price closed 29% higher at $941,388 compared to $727,889 during the same time period last year.

Even with more homes coming on daily, we are still in a strong seller’s market. Quick sales continue to happen and we are still seeing multiple bid situations. With that being said, buyers are finding the frenzy of a month ago is starting to ease and more choice is becoming available. Whether you are looking to see what your home is worth in this appreciating market, or looking to buy, it’s never been clearer that working with a savvy Realtor is of the utmost importance to get you to the closing table.