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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 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/ .

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.

 

 

 

Ridgefield Becomes Connecticut’s First Cultural District

Walk from Keeler Tavern to ACT, and the entire time you are within singing distance of a handful of other leading cultural institutions – the Aldrich Museum, Lounsbury House, the Ridgefield Library, Ballard Park, Ridgefield Playhouse, the Theater Barn, the Guild of Artists, and more. While we all knew the bounty in our midst, the state of Connecticut has given Ridgefield a standing ovation.

You see, this section of Ridgefield has been designated by the State as a “Cultural District” – the first designation made anywhere in Connecticut!

This 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.

“The people of Ridgefield have long appreciated the abundance of arts and culture in town. We are thrilled that the state also recognizes all that Ridgefield has to offer, by giving us the first Cultural District designation,” stated Rudy Marconi, First Selectman of the Town of Ridgefield.

The first-in-the-State Cultural District will help to promote tourism, encourage artists and creative businesses, strengthen the distinctive character of our Town, highlight the culture and history of our community, and contribute to the State’s cultural assets.

With this new designation, Ridgefield’s Cultural District will be promoted and marketed by the CT Department of Economic Community Development (“DECD”), which includes the Office of the Arts and the Office of Tourism, along with Ridgefield’s Designated Regional Service Organization which is the Cultural Alliance of Western CT.

In October 2019, a law originally proposed by then-State Representative John Frey became effective, allowing the State to designate a specific area of a city or town as a “Cultural District”. On behalf of the Town and the Ridgefield Economic & Community Development Commission (“ECDC”), ECDC Secretary Glori Norwitt began organizing materials to apply, although the process soon slowed down due to the Covid19 pandemic.

Per the process requirements, an Advisory Council subcommittee was formed, comprised of a diverse mix of Town organizations and businesses, with representation from the Board of Selectmen (“BOS”), the Historic District Commission, the Ridgefield Arts Council, the Keeler Tavern Museum & History Center, the Ridgefield Playhouse, the Ridgefield Library, the Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum, Thrown Stone Theater Company, the Ridgefield Historical Society, the Ridgefield Guild of Artists, TownVibe Media, and the West Lane Inn.

A Public Hearing was held in August 2020 during a BOS meeting, where the BOS voted unanimously to support the ECDC’s Application to the State. The CT Office of the Arts later had a “virtual visit” with the Advisory Council Subcommittee, First Selectman Marconi, and the ECDC, which included a virtual walking tour of the proposed Cultural District. The virtual tour can be viewed here.

“Receiving the first Cultural District designation in the State not only spotlights how many exceptional cultural wonders we have in our town, but also highlights the teamwork of the arts & culture for-profit and nonprofit organizations that worked together to submit and promote the Town’s application for the designation to the State,” explained ECDC Commissioner Norwitt.

“It’s like the Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval,” says ECDC Chair Geoffrey Morris. “It’s a significant accomplishment for the town.” The ECDC plans to market this new Cultural District, and encourages all businesses and organizations within it to do the same. Signs will be placed on the north and south side of Main Street, marking when visitors enter the Cultural District.

This new designation will be valuable for tourism both locally and in the region. The ECDC hopes that the State’s formal acknowledgment of the many activities and sights in Ridgefield will encourage visitors to stay for a weekend, instead of just one night. Theaters, museums, shops, galleries, superb restaurants, and countless outdoor activities including hiking and biking…there’s just too much to do!

**Published in Ridgefield Hamlet Hub; written by Geoffrey Morris

Q1 2021 – The Ridgefield Real Estate Market Is On Fire!

You may have recently heard about the “surge” in Real Estate transactions and prices. Before the pandemic set in in March of last year, we were seeing a push in real estate that we hadn’t seen for many years. However, in the first quarter of 2021, this surge is truly unprecedented. Low inventory is skewing the supply and demand curve and we are seeing an increase in prices across the board.

This trend is not localized to Ridgefield either. Because we work with buyers and sellers in a number of Fairfield County towns, we are observing this surge there as well. Click here to view the latest market stats for all Fairfield County towns.

Well qualified buyers are finding the market extremely competitive at the moment. As the spring weather warms and vaccinations make the promise of a return to somewhat normal a reality, we are also seeing increased confidence by sellers to list their homes.

It is also interesting to note, that the total dollar volume sold is outpacing the increase in the actual number of transactions, meaning that more properties are transacting at higher price points. In Ridgefield, compared to last year, 33% of all sales were in the over $1-million category, as opposed to only 14% in Q1 2020. As such, both the median and sales prices have increased this year.

Prices and Sales Continue To Rise
Compared to Q1 2020, all indicators point to a robust sellers market. The overall sales volume for single family homes was up 106% over last year closing out the quarter with $102,363,182 as compared to $49,703,144 at this time in 2020. The number of sales increased from 70 to 108, and the median and average sale prices also climbed. The median value of a Ridgefield single family home sits 44% higher than 2020 at $859,500, while the average price rose 33% to $947,807. Homes are also selling at 99.6% of their list price compared to 96.2% at the end of Q1 2020.

Days On Market and Inventory Remain Low
One of the key indicators of the strength of the market is the Months of Inventory – the lower the number generally the stronger the market. Currently, at the end of the first quarter this year, we have only 2 months of inventory available compared to 7 months in 2020. Due to the number of buyers still wanting to purchase, this is placing pressure on the market and making it increasingly competitive. The median days on market has also declined from 110 days last year to 62 this year, with many homes taking deposits the first few days after they enter the market.

The Benefits Of Using A Buyer’s Agent To Purchase Your Home

Buying a home is one of the major milestones in life and it shouldn’t be stressful! At Karla Murtaugh Homes, we offer a Platinum level of service to each and every client we work with – partnering with you in your home search and providing you with exceptional market knowledge, negotiating skills, and market insight at every stage of the process.

Signing a Buyer’s Agency agreement or an Exclusive Right To Represent Buyer agreement means you are protected – the agent has a fiduciary duty to represent you to the best of their ability, in confidence, and always acting in your best interest. These agreements are required in order for us to show you homes on the market and serve to benefit you throughout the buying process.

Using a buyer’s agent you always know you are truly being represented with only your interests in mind. A good buyer’s agent will counsel you on how to make the offer, what contingencies to waive, how best to negotiate, what inspection items to address/request and just generally what to expect in the current tumultuous real estate market.

A great buyer’s agent will provide:

1. UNSURPASSED MARKET KNOWLEDGE
Every quarter, we release our “Interpreting The Market” real estate report outlining how the market is doing and where we think it’s going. Based on sound analysis of trends, home sales and current values, as well as a wealth of anecdotal information from our representation of multiple buyers and sellers, we offer the most comprehensive analysis, resulting in your real estate success.

2. REAL TIME INFORMATION
Aligned with the latest search technology, we match our buyers quickly to relevant homes on the market. Priding ourselves on up-to-the-minute communication and familiarity with the inventory through agent previews, broker open houses and broker relations, our buyers are always ‘in-the know’ when it comes to the latest price changes, recent sales and new-to-market homes.

3. EXPERT NEGOTIATING SKILLS
Using skills honed in almost two decades in the business, Karla Murtaugh Homes has seen it all. It’s a challenging, fast-paced market right now, and if you’re lucky enough to find a home you want, you’ll need a seasoned agent to get you to the closing table. From the initial offer to the repair requests, it’s important to balance the seller’s market with your best interest.

In Real Estate Timing is Everything!

Christie’s auction house broke another world record this week by auctioning off the world’s first purely digital artwork where bidding started just two weeks ago at $100, sold for a record $69M.

Not all of us can afford the world of alternative investments, but navigating the tides of the recent real estate market can be just as intimidating. With the exodus of buyers from NYC in 2020, Ridgefield and other Fairfield County towns have been experiencing an uptick in sales and demand not previously experienced. Recently however, NYC is starting to see interest return and Christie’s International Real Estate NYC Brokerage has been fielding questions from NYC die-hards with upsizing and downsizing questions, investors looking to buy up assets, and first-time homebuyers looking to get in while prices remain relatively low.

With this being said, the suburbs continue to be attractive to many urban buyers. As you have been reading, inventory is low and bidding wars are still occurring on properly priced homes. People are reflecting on their new work-life balance and what that means in terms of housing. Buyers – keep the faith! We are in constant contact with sellers getting their homes ready for spring market. With the vaccine providing a light at the end of the tunnel, the market is starting to open up.

Whether you’re looking for your dream home or wanting to list your current home for sale, our up to minute knowledge will help you navigate this new normal and set you up for success. Reach out at 203-856-5534 or karla@karlamurtaugh.com to see how we can help.

Ridgefield’s February Market Sees An Uptick In Sales, But A Downturn In Inventory

Home sales continue to exceed all market expectations as 2021 moves towards a reopening of the economy in the late spring and beyond. While this seems to be excellent news, we are seeing a downturn in inventory with many well-qualified buyers still in need of homes.  With mortgage rates remaining at historic lows, the real estate market will definitely remain strong if we approach the spring selling season with people willing to list their homes.

Prices & Volume
To date, in 2021 Ridgefield single-family homes sales have totaled $58,947,250 with 64 closed transactions as compared to $31,252,400 in sales and 41 transactions by this time in 2020.  Most of these sales reflect homes that went under deposit towards the end of last year, but nevertheless have resulted in a record-breaking first two months. In February alone, we saw 29 homes close with a volume of $28,355,750. The median sales price rose from $561,700 in February, 2020 to $850,000 this year, and the average sales price also climbed from $644,133 to $945,192.  Homes are selling at 98.4% of their listed price in about 90 days.

Inventory
There are currently 44 homes with accepted offers set to close in Q2 2021 and a further 59 homes already in contract to close in the next two months. As mentioned previously, inventory remains dangerously low with only 3 months of available inventory on the market.  In 2020, there was 12 months of inventory available at this time of year. For a breakdown by price point of recent sales, see the chart below or DOWNLOAD it.

Karla Murtaugh Homes Leads The Way

We regularly review the entire Ridgefield market to assess how we are serving our clients, and were pleased to discover that our sales represent 26% of the total inventory sold year to date in more than double the number of transactions of any other Ridgefield agent. We also have 17 properties in contract and set to close in the next couple of months. Our forward-thinking approach to this ever-changing market, along with adaptive marketing and unparalleled client service at all price points is why we are Ridgefield’s number one agent. Our commitment to understanding the market cannot be overlooked, and we encourage you to check out our 2020 “Interpreting The Market” Ridgefield Market Report included with this month’s Ridgefield Magazine for further insights.

Looking Ahead
We are optimistic as we look towards a spring and summer with eased Covid restrictions and a return to a more normal life. Buyers are still excited to purchase their dream home. For seller’s, as working-from-home scenarios and in-person school arrangements become solidified, we may also find that their needs are once again up for examination and change. We expect that the must-haves and wants of privacy, multiple offices, home gyms, pools and separate spaces will remain. As some situations change, we also expect an increase in inventory as consumer confidence returns and people once again look to make moves to better their current lifestyle.

To find out what your home is worth or for a complimentary consultation, please reach out to us at karla@karlamurtaugh.com or call 203-856-5534. We’d love to discuss our outstanding marketing campaigns and platinum level of service with you, and advise on how to best sell your home in this unprecedented market.

Continued Good News In The Ridgefield Real Estate Market!

Coming off a stellar year in 2020, Ridgefield real estate sales continue to impress. With numbers far exceeding 2020’s incredible start to the year, 2021 promises to again post increasing prices and decreased sales times, as long as we can procure the inventory to keep the market moving. With a wealth of qualified buyers waiting in the wings for the perfect house, now is the time to jump into the market if you’ve been contemplating a move.

Prices & Volume
The number of sales in January 2021 exceeded 2020 by 48% with 34 homes sold as compared to 23 in January 2020. There was a rise in overall sales volume as well, with 2021 seeing $30,591,500 sold in the first month of the year compared to $19,658,000 in 2020. The median price this month was where the steepest overall gains were seen with a sales price of $856,000 vs $620,000 in 2020. The average sales price rose from $854,696 to $899,750 this year.

Inventory & Days On Market
In an unprecedented first, the available inventory has dropped to 3 months! In comparison, at this time last year there was 8 months of available inventory on the market. In addition, the days a house remained on the market before entering contract currently sits at 59 days as compared to 132 days in January 2020. For a breakdown by price point of recent sales, see the chart below or DOWNLOAD the chart.

Now Is The Time To Sell
With a continuing number of buyers looking for privacy, space and the suburbs, it’s certainly a good time for sellers. Buyer demand is at an all time high and there is very limited inventory. To find out what your home is worth or for a complimentary consultation, please reach out to us at karla@karlamurtaugh.com or call 203-856-5534. We’d love to discuss our outstanding marketing campaigns and platinum level of service.