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Ridgefield High School Ranked #317 Nationally, #4 in Connecticut

The 2019 U.S News & World Report has released its 2019 Best High Schools Ranking Report and Ridgefield High School shines again!

Nationally, the school ranked 317th out of a total of 17,245 public, magnet and charter schools throughout the country.  It also sits in 4th position in Connecticut behind Darien High School (#1), Weston High School (#2) and Achievement First Hartford Academy Inc. (#3).

To create the STEM rankings, the top 1,000 ranked schools from the national rankings were evaluated for their AP test-taking students’ participation and success in AP science and math exams. Ridgefield High School ranks 176th nationally for STEM.

The Best High Schools rankings identify the country’s top-performing public high schools. The goal is to provide a clear, unbiased picture of how well public schools serve all of their students – from the highest to lowest achieving – in preparing them to demonstrate proficiency in basic skills as well as readiness for college-level work.

According to the U.S. News Best High Schools methodology, schools were rated on the following six measures, and the weights used for each indicator are in parentheses:

College readiness (30% of the ranking) : The percentage of 12th graders from the class of 2016-2017 who took at least one AP or IB exam during high school and the percentage of 12th graders who passed at least one AP or IB exam in high school. Passing is weighted three times more than taking.

College curriculum breadth (10%): The percentage of 12th graders from the class of 2016-2017 who took a wide variety of AP and IB courses across the multiple disciplines and the percentage of 12th graders who passed them. Passing is weighted three times more than taking.

Reading and math proficiency (20%): Measures how well students scored on state assessments that measure proficiency in reading and mathematics. Passing these assessments can be required for graduation. Examples of assessments include Smarter Balanced in California and STAAR in Texas.

Reading and math performance (20%): The difference between how students performed on state assessments and what U.S. News predicted based on a school’s student body. U.S. News’ modeling across all 50 states and the District of Columbia indicates that the proportions of students who receive subsidized school lunch, are black and are Hispanic are highly predictive of a school’s reading and math scores.

Underserved student performance (10%): How well the student population receiving subsidized school lunch, and black and Hispanic populations perform on state assessments relative to statewide performance among students not in those subgroups.

Graduation rate (10%): For the 2019 rankings, the graduation rate corresponds to the 2017 graduation cohort who would have entered ninth grade in the 2013-14 school year. The high school graduation rates were collected directly from each state along with the math and reading assessment data.

Why Now Is A Good Time To Buy A Home

According to Keeping Current Matters, whether you are a first-time buyer or looking to move up to the home of your dreams, now is a great time to purchase a home. Here are three major reasons to buy today.

1. Affordability
Many people focus solely on price when talking about home affordability. Affordability is determined by three components:

  • Price
  • Wages
  • Mortgage Interest Rate

Nationally, prices and wages are up, and interest rates have recently dropped dramatically. As a result, the National Association of Realtors’ (NAR) latest Affordability Index report revealed that homes are more affordable throughout the country today than they were a year ago.

2. Mortgage Rates

Mortgage rates have dropped almost a full point after heading toward 5% last fall and early winter. Currently, they are below 4%.3 Powerful Reasons to Buy a Home Now | Keeping Current MattersAdditionally, Fannie Mae recently predicted the average rate for a 30-year fixed mortgage will be 3.7% in the second half of 2019. That compares to a 4.4% average rate in the first quarter and 4% in the second quarter.

3. Increased Family Wealth
Homeownership has always been recognized as a way to build long-term family wealth. A new report by ATTOM Data Solutions reveals:

“U.S. homeowners who sold in the second quarter of 2019 realized an average home price gain since purchase of $67,500, up from an average gain of $57,706 in Q1 2019 and up from an average gain of $60,100 in Q2 2018. The average home seller gain of $67,500 in Q2 2019 represented an average 33.9 percent return as a percentage of original purchase price.”

The longer you delay purchasing a home, the longer you are waiting to put the power of home equity to work for you. While we haven’t seen short-term gains in some price points in the Ridgefield market, in the long run, real estate is generally a safe bet to build equity and wealth.

For more information about the Ridgefield Real Estate Market, check out our mid-year report available here.

 

 

*Originally posted on Keeping Current Matters

Ridgefield’s 2019 Mid-Year Market Report

Ridgefield Market Snapshot
Ridgefield single family home sales are on par when compared to the same time last year. 150 homes sold during the first six months of the year, as compared to 147 in 2018. The median sales price stayed exactly the same at $625,000, while the total sales volume made modest gains ending the mid-year 4.5% higher than 2018 at $104,368,182. Even going back to 2017, we have seen the number of sales and the median sales price remain essentially flat, while the overall sales volume has fluctuated from a high in 2017 of $125,473,815 to a low in 2018 of $99,906,250.

While the median sales price remained the same year over year, we saw gains in the average sales price, which bodes well for the market as it indicates a general increase in what buyers are willing to pay. Year-to-date the average sales price was $695,788 – a 3.8% increase over the 2018 price of $670,512. This may sound modest, but considering 2017 had a high of $704,797, it indicates we are trending in the right direction. The months of inventory was slightly lower fluctuating between 8 and 15 months, while the list to closed price ratio was up over previous years at 96.7%.

The Luxury Market
Luxury market sales in Ridgefield – defined as homes selling for $1.5 million and above – have seen a huge uptick since this time last year, and in fact, are the strongest we’ve seen since 2016. There have been seven sales to date, compared to only one in 2018, two in 2017, and nine in 2016, while other Fairfield County towns, generally known for their luxury market, have flattened and reported less than stellar results so far this year. Traditionally, demand for these properties is strongest towards the end of the year so we hope to see this segment of the market continue to do well. There are currently an additional three homes under deposit set to close in the next few months and we’ve noticed that in the higher price points it is the motivated seller who is seeing the best results in the least amount of time.

Fairfield County Snapshot
The results are truly mixed for Fairfield County as a whole in the first half of 2019. Overall, median sales price was down throughout the county, as was total sales volume, but the number of unit sales increased in many towns. Traditionally strong commuter towns such as Darien and Greenwich had opposite results with Darien showing an increase in unit sales but the greatest decrease in median sales price in the county, and Greenwich showing an in increase in price but a decrease in the number of sales. Westchester County has also seen a decrease overall in the number of unit sales with median and average sales values down across the board. Looking ahead, we hope to see a more balanced market with supply and demand bringing prices back into alignment.

Looking Ahead
The spring market never seemed to materialize but we are seeing an increase in activity in the early summer months. Buyers continue to be in the driver’s seat in 2019 and sellers would be wise to make sure that their home is show ready before listing it for sale. Now, more than ever, it is important that these properties check off as many of the buyers’ boxes as possible. We continue to see in-town properties and those sporting the latest design trends garner top dollar. Inventory for small to medium-sized homes that are in turn key condition continues to be a challenge as baby boomers looking to downsize, and millennials looking to buy their first home, often overlap in what they desire. We are cautiously optimistic that Ridgefield Real Estate will remain steady. We are seeing 63% of sales coming from the purchase of homes under $700,000 indicating middle-class earners continue to find Ridgefield a desirable place to live with its access to great schools, major urban centers and exposure to a vibrant arts and leisure community.

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A Rare Find – Homes For Multi-Generational Living

With more families experiencing multi-generational living, either because college-age children move home or parents come back into the picture, it’s often hard to find housing that can accommodate these changing needs. For some, it’s not even necessarily family but rather nannies and au paire’s requiring a separate space. Here are some wonderful Ridgefield homes currently on the market that can help everyone live in harmony in their own space.

34 Salem View Drive

Listed for $1,375,000. Featuring a beautiful approach in Ridgefield’s equestrian neighborhood the property includes a stunning five bedroom, Heritage Homes-built Colonial home, plus a 1,534 square foot, one bedroom residence on the same parcel. The stately main residence features a handsome library; living room with a fireplace; formal dining room with a huge rear wall of picture windows; a newly updated, white eat-in kitchen & a spectacular, vaulted family room with exposed beams, a brick fireplace, custom built-in cabinetry & a floor-to-ceiling Palladian window with views to the nearby cottage. The upper level has a huge master suite & sitting room, walls of closets & a spacious master bath. Three additional large bedrooms have access to private or Jack & Jill baths. The expansive finished lower level includes a rec/playroom, exercise room, fifth bedroom & full bath. The charming one bedroom cottage includes a large living room, kitchen, dining area, powder room and bedroom with full bath & private deck, as well as laundry, mudroom, 1-car garage & full attic for tons of storage. The grounds are second-to-none with a saltwater pool, large pool deck, terraced dining area, outdoor fireplace & outdoor kitchen. Landscaping includes stone walls, mature perennials & all manner of trees. The sweeping lawns provide a perfect place for picnics in the summer & sledding in the winter & the views go on forever. This oasis is just minutes from major commuting routes down county & to NYC, as well as all manner of shopping & conveniences.

74 Norrans Ridge Road

Listed for $1,150,000. Elegant living close to town with an in-law suite, level yard & additional barn/garage, this property also features a new roof, propane furnace, generator, Nest thermostats and more, making it the picture of efficiency. Tucked away in the sought-after community of Norrans Ridge, the residence features a spacious open floor plan & includes a formal living room with large divided-light windows, dining room, eat-in kitchen with professional appliances, a large island, breakfast bar & adjoining breakfast room with a spacious pantry. A vaulted family room has a gorgeous gas fireplace & exposed beams plus a wet bar to a private office with deck access. Upstairs the master suite has a walk-in California closet & spa-like bath with a soaking tub & oversized shower plus three additional bedrooms & a full bath. The finished lower level has both gaming & media rooms and an incredible wine room with an electric fireplace. The attached 3-car garage leads to a laundry room & a separate entrance to an in-law/au paire suite with a bedroom, living & dining area, updated bath & a kitchenette. An additional, detached, heated two-car barn/garage has room for two-lifts for the avid car collector & also functions as a sports room, golf simulator, hockey room, indoor basketball court, artist’s studio, or whatever is desired! The spectacular, level yard is awash in colorful plantings with hydrangeas & peonies galore. An abundance of large trees also serves to create a sense of privacy. Tons of space in a fabulous location!

71 Old Branchville Road

Listed for $1,095,000. Sophisticated & stylish country retreat just over 1 hour from NYC. This home is classic Connecticut with a twist, this home has been completely renovated by area restoration specialists & finished with the latest design trends, while preserving amazing original details such as vintage beams and built-ins. Spanning over 7200 square feet on four finished floors the home includes casually elegant formal spaces, a fabulous chef’s “white” kitchen with professional appliances and a large breakfast room, butlers pantry with 2nd dishwasher and custom cabinetry, wonderful music room, family room, five ensuite Bedrooms + an amazing master suite with a spa-like bath, His/Hers dressing rooms, sitting room & private study. In addition, a home gym, spacious laundry room and lower level lounge with fireplace & bar, plus an expansive finished attic complete the main house. Off the main level, a one bedroom in-law/Au Paire apartment includes a kitchen and living room, full bath and dining area, as well as a separate entrance and independent security system. The tranquil, natural setting includes sweeping lawns on 4+ private acres with a pond and lovely landscaping. Newer windows, plumbing, electric, boiler, AC, insulation and well. Great south Ridgefield commute location and every amenity for modern living. A fabulous residence for entertaining year round can be yours full-time or the ultimate weekend retreat. Originally listed for $2,795,000 this home is truly special! Can subdivide a two-acre parcel if desired.

If any of these homes catches your eye, reach out for a private showing by calling us at 203-856-5534 or via email.

Ridgefield Real Estate Market Report Q1 2019

The first quarter of 2019 shows promise for a strong spring market with 173 single-family homes currently on the market for sale at all price points. Already this year there are 39 single-family homes that have gone under agreement and a further 34 are in contract. With new properties launching on the market daily, we expect these numbers to rise over the coming months.

In mortgage news, 30-year fixed mortgage rates have again dropped to record lows, sitting at just over 4%, which bodes well for buyers entering the market. Our strongest sales so far this year have been in the under $500,000 range for single-family homes, and encouragingly our high-end luxury market (over $1.5 million) has also had 3 sales this year.

Overall, a total of $33,915,150 transacted during Q1 2019 in contrast to $32,298,800 by this time in 2018. The number of sales stayed the same at 48, while the average days on market has taken a slight jump this year to 208, up from 146 last year. A lack of new inventory could be to blame with some listings languishing on the market for various reasons.

The average sales price rose 5% this quarter compared to the same time last year and sits at $706,566. Interestingly, the median sales price dropped to $567,000 from $619,750, but the increased activity we have seen in the under $600,000 range in this early part of the year may account for the drop. We would expect to see this number rise as the year progresses. Homes are still selling at 96% of the listed value.

As we move into the busy spring and summer markets, we would love to learn more about your home and how we can help you list it for sale. And with more homes coming on the market every day, as well as lower mortgage rates, we would love to help you find your dream home! Contact us today.

To see a snapshot by price, click here.

Mortgage Rates See Biggest Plunge In Over A Decade

Last week, the average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage declined by 22 basis points from 4.28 percent to 4.06 percent, resulting in the biggest single-week decline in rates since 2008, according to Freddie Mac’s latest Primary Mortgage Survey released on Thursday, March 28.

Freddie Mac chief economist Sam Khater said the drop is due to the Federal Reserve’s economic outlook, which predicted slowing economic growth.

“The Federal Reserve’s concern about the prospects for slowing economic growth caused investor jitters to drive down mortgage rates by the largest amount in over ten years,” he explained in a prepared statement.

This is good news for buyers as the dramatic drop in rates is expected to drive up home sales during the spring home buying season.

“Despite negative outlooks by some, the economy continues to churn out jobs, which is great for housing demand,” said Khater. “We have recently seen home sales start to recover and with this week’s rate drop we expect a continued rise in purchase demand.”

Bankrate economist Deborah Kearns estimates the lower mortgage rates will save buyers approximately $15.85 each month for every $100,000 they borrow in comparison to last week’s rates.

“At the current 30-year fixed rate, you’ll pay $487.27 each month for every $100,000 you borrow, down from $503.13 last week,” she explained.

* Original article by MARIAN MCPHERSON Staff Writer, Inman News

Celebrating Tower Cottage with ‘Bubble & Brew’

We recently hosted a fun Broker’s Open House event at one of our premiere in-town properties at 48 East Ridge Road with the ‘Bubble & Brew’ food truck! Realtors from the local area toured the home and enjoyed gourmet scones, croissants, tea, coffee and more on a beautiful, sunny Tuesday morning.

An iconic presence since it was a summer home for Jackie Bouvier Kennedy’s aunt, the beautifully updated Tower Cottage is a stone’s throw to all the Village has to offer including shops, restaurants, theaters, art galleries, spas, fitness studios and more!

Offered for sale at $2,475,000, the architectural treasure features original detailing & charm, yet is also perfectly suited for a modern lifestyle. Built in 1880 by renowned architect Charles B. Northrup, the impressive wrap-around porch leads into a spacious front hall with well-proportioned rooms, fabulous flow, 10-foot ceilings, 4 fireplaces & classic architectural details that cannot be reproduced today. The new kitchen features white custom cabinetry, Carrera marble countertops, a Bertazzoni stove, two wall ovens, separate full-size SubZero refrigerator & freezer units, & the original coal stove. Other rooms include a formal dining room, living room, breakfast room, butler’s pantry, 6 bedrooms, library & an office. Expansive views of the lawn, gardens, or gunite pool can be enjoyed from every window, but are most impressive from the three-story turret. Truly the definition of a Signature Property.

Click here to see more, or contact me to set up a showing.

Ridgefield is #1 Safest City in Connecticut, #2 in USA!

Ridgefield is a fabulous place to live…and a safe one too!!  According to SafeWise, Ridgefield ranks as Connecticut’s safest city and America’s second safest.  Read below for more details about how Ridgefield stacks up, as well as the SafeWise methodology for raking the cities.

A Closer Look At America’s Safest Cities

Nationally, violent crime is actually down over the past three years, with 70% of the safest cites in America residing in the Northeast. To find out more about the health of the nation, click here.

  • 30% of America’s 100 safest cities are in New Jersey. Connecticut claims second place with 14, and two of those are in the top three.
  • 16 of these cities made the list for the second consecutive year, and New Jersey is home to five of them.
    It’s harder to find one of the safest cities in the West or the South—those regions have only five cities each on our list.
  • The Midwest is home to 20% of the country’s safest cities.
  • The top three cities (Hopkinton, Massachusetts; Ridgefield, Connecticut; Madison, Connecticut) each reported zero violent crimes in 2017—and each has a median income of more than $100,000.⁴
  • 93% reported fewer than 10 total violent crimes, and only six cities reported any counts of murder.
  • 22 cities had fewer than 100 property crimes, and 70 had fewer than 200. Only two cities reported more than
  • 500 property crimes—Johns Creek, Georgia, and Carmel, Indiana (the two largest cities on the list).
  • 42 cities have populations under 20,000, and all are under 100,000.
  • Carmel, Indiana is the largest city on the list, with 93,098 citizens. Even with a big population, Carmel still managed to limit violent crime to just 0.18 incidents per 1,000 people.
  • 59% of the safest cities in America have a median income over $100,000.
  • Only two cities are below the national median income of $57,652—Laguna Woods, California, and Manchester Township, New Jersey.

A Closer Look At Connecticut’s Safest Cities

Overall, the Constitution State is well below national averages for both violent and property crime. Proving the point, 95% of the cities on our list saw fewer than one violent crime per 1,000 people, according to FBI data.

With such a low violent crime rate (it’s just 2.55), it’s no surprise that residents named digital security their top concern in our State of Safety study. And the numbers confirm this finding—just 6% of the people we spoke to reported a personal experience with violent crime in the past year, but 16% reported experiencing a digital security issue.

  • 85% of the safest cities are on the list for the second year.
  • 80% reported 25 or fewer total violent crime incidents.
  • Connecticut’s crime rates are better than the national averages, with 2.55 violent crime incidents per 1,000 people and 19.53 property crime incidents. Nationwide rates are 4.49 for violent crime and 27.11 for property crime.
  • 95% of the safest cities had fewer than one violent crime per 1,000 people in 2017.
  • Even though 16% of our State of Safety respondents had a personal experience with digital security in the past year, that’s eight percentage points below the national average of 24%.
  • Having someone access sensitive information is the primary digital security fear, with 73% naming it their top concern.
  • Being robbed is the top violent crime worry, and safest city reporting supports that—only three cities had zero incidents, and the reports ranged from one to 25, with a total of 146 being reported among all cities, which makes it the second-most common violent crime after aggravated assault (166).

 

** Data courtesy of SafeWise and first published on their site 03/14/2019

Ridgefield’s 2018 Year In Review

Ridgefield Market Snapshot
The Ridgefield Real Estate market for single-family homes faced an interesting year in 2018 with a tumultuous mid-term election and the challenge of attracting businesses to the state. Combined with the new tax structure – the effects of which have not yet come to pass – and a bear market, Ridgefield sales rallied remarkably well showing a drop in volume, but no appreciable drop in value. Overall, the number of homes sold was down 11 percent with 329 homes selling in 2018 as compared to 370 in 2017. The total sales volume also decreased by 13 percent resulting in a total of $236,085,651 transacting as compared to $273,224,044 in 2017. The median sales price decreased only slightly from $642,500 to $641,260 (a difference of 0.2 percent) and the average home price fell by only 2.8 percent from $738,443 in 2017 to $717,586. Homes also continued the trend of selling at 96.5 percent of their listed price as in previous years.

In Condo News
As in 2017, there was a total of 70 condominium sales in Ridgefield in 2018 ranging in price from $129,000 for a one-bedroom apartment in Fox Hill, to $865,000 for a 3,200 square foot condominium on Sunset Lane. The average sales price was $330,174, while the median sales price was $235,000. This is down slightly from last year when the average price was $384,920 and the median price was $250,000. Of note, 3 luxury condos on Main Street are also due to close in the $1.3 million range in the early part of 2019.

The Luxury Market
The luxury market in Ridgefield-defined as homes selling for $1.5 million and above-continued to show decent market activity with 9 luxury homes selling in 2018, as compared to 13 homes in 2017. Of note, we represent 4 additional properties priced over $1.5 million currently in contract to close in the first part of 2019. Overall, we have noticed buyers are taking longer to commit to luxury purchases and are instead searching for just the right home-one that includes all the features and amenities they are looking for. As a Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Specialist, in 2018 I was proud to represent 10 out of the 18 buyers and sellers who purchased luxury homes priced between $1.525 and $2.55 million.

Fairfield County News
Overall, Fairfield County experienced slight decreases in both the number of properties sold and median sales prices in 2018. Redding, Norwalk, Wilton and Fairfield showed an increase in values over last year, which is welcome news for homeowners in Wilton and Redding where home values had plummeted almost 10 percent back in 2017. Weston was able to rally back after being down 22% in mid-year unit sales. New Canaan continues to post double­ digit decreases in sales as a result of an increase in supply compared to demand especially in the upper price points.

Looking Ahead
In 2019, the buyer’s market will continue with the biggest discussions centered on mortgage rates and available inventory. In terms of inventory, we hope to see sellers continue to list their homes, attracting solidly qualified buyers who still see this market as a good time to buy. In 2018, Ridgefield lacked entry-level inventory in the under $600,000 range as well as the $800,000 – $1.2 million range. We are hoping to see that turn around in 2019. The two largest groups of buyers and sellers will continue to influence the market with Millennials moving to the better value of the suburbs and baby-boomers downsizing, thereby freeing up more inventory. Ridgefield continues to be a desirable place to live with its top-ranked schools, great cultural attractions, world-class dining and amazing sense of community.

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