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Ridgefield Posts Record Sales In Q3 2020

Q3 2020 Rises Beyond Expectations

After Covid-19 took the wind out of our sails in March and April, the Ridgefield real estate market has rebounded with enthusiasm posting record sales that far outweigh 2019. Year-to-date, a total of 358 homes have sold so far this year, outpacing 2019 by 39% and the total sales volume stands 55% higher than 2019 at $280,255,426 vs $180,307,075.

In Q3 specifically, we have seen 201 sales vs 108 in Q3 2019. Additionally, our total sales volume in Q3 2020 posted a 108% gain over the same timeframe in 2019 registering $160,858,383 in sales. Sales in Q3 reflect deposits taken from May to August in most cases.

Our days on market and months of inventory are also lower than in 2019, which is concerning given the number of buyers still looking to move to our area. There are currently only 117 homes on the market, which corresponds to 3 months of available inventory.

Luxury Sales Are Strong

Sales are up in all price points with strong gains in the over $1 million category.  In 2019, there were 37 homes that sold for over $1-million by this time, while there have been 79 year-to-date in 2020. The trend continues when looking at Luxury Homes sales in particular (over $1.5-million) where there have been 25 recorded sales as opposed to only 12 in 2019. There are also 13 additional luxury properties currently under agreement and set to close in Q4 2020.

Prices Are Up

The average sales price was up 12 percent year over year and in Q3 2020.  Year-to-date it sits at $782,836, and in Q3 it was $800,290.  The median sales price was up 11 percent in Q3 sitting at $720,000 compared to $650,000 and 6 percent in the year-to-date with 2019 registering a median value of $635,000 and 2020 $673,750. We have seen a good number of homes selling at or above their listed sale price in a short amount of time. Homes that are updated and priced properly are often in receipt of multiple bids.

Fairfield County Snapshot  

We are experiencing increases in sales and property values throughout Fairfield County with the number of sales increasing 17 percent, median sales price up 12 percent, and total dollar volume up a record 40 percent since 2019. Darien, Greenwich and Westport saw the largest gains in the number of sales and values.

Looking Ahead

We wish we had a crystal ball to have a clearer vision for the market going forward, but with the election, Covid-19 and job security all looming as issues in Q4 and beyond, we are somewhat uncertain what the future holds. Interest rates are holding at historic lows, and we are also seeing more cash transactions in the upper segment of $1-million purchases. One thing we can say is that inventory is low and there are many buyers looking to purchase. If we can continue to list homes, the market will continue to grow. So, if you have been reevaluating your lifestyle and think that making a move would be good for you, now is the time! We offer a complimentary market analysis and would be happy to provide you with a concrete analysis of what your home is worth.  For buyers, our expertise in negotiating in a strong seller’s market means you will get unparalleled representation in a competitive marketplace. Contact us today at 203-856-5534 or karla@karlamurtaugh.com

 

How Real Estate Is Changing During COVID-19

While deemed an ‘essential service’ in some states and not others, the reality is that Real Estate has had to find a way to adapt during this unprecedented time. The need for housing doesn’t stop just because a virus says it should and many people are finding themselves in a predicament where they have to enlist the help of Realtors, attorneys, mortgage brokers, home inspectors and others in order to buy or sell a house during this time. With a little creativity, Realtors and others have found ways to practice social distancing and limit the spread of Coronavirus, even while servicing their clients.

Communicating With An Agent
When it comes to buying a home, pairing up with the right agent is always key to finding your perfect property. But today, you need one who is tech-savvy and comfortable conducting meetings and business online. We are using Zoom for group consultations, online interviews, meetings and CMAs that would normally handled in person. FaceTime, text and good old-fashioned phone calls are also part of our daily communication. And although we’ve been using e-signature apps to send and receive documents digitally through email for a while now, it’s never been more important than in today’s world.

Virtual Home Tours & Online Sites
Crowded open houses with a plate of cookies for everyone to grab are a thing of the past — at least for now. Instead, everything is going online and there are several ways to virtually tour a home. Along with photos, many listings were already starting to incorporate videos or providing “hot spot” tours so you can tour the home, room by room, without physically stepping onto the property. In addition, many agents have posted floorplans, improvements and significantly more photos online to give buyers a better feel for the home. If in-person showings are allowed – as they are in Connecticut – the rules are stringent and agents, home sellers, and buyers must all be willing to make them happen. Given the risk, and if its absolutely necessary, it’s important a buyer have a good idea of what the property offers before even attempting to schedule an in-person showing.

Remote Mortgage Pre-Approval
Some lenders had already made the entire mortgage process digital long before social distancing was needed. And now, many more have jumped on board out of necessity. The first step is to get a recommendation, or interview a few loan officers over the phone or by video chat. Since mortgage interest rates are all over the map these days, it’s extremely important to shop around and compare what they’re offering — and make sure they’re comfortable conducting all steps of the transaction online. In order to get pre-approved for a loan, the lender will need to review your income, debt, credit history, and other factors, and you’ll need to submit paperwork verifying all of the above. Luckily, most of this paperwork should be available online.

Remote Home Inspections
We recently did a deal where the inspector offered the client a remote inspection. He inspected the house alone and reviewed the findings with them via a videoconference. At a remote home inspection, inspectors take a lot more pictures than they might have in the past so clients can get a good idea of where the issues are. Once the report is completed, the client participates in a video call to review every part of the report – just like an inspector would normally do in person.

Virtual Home Appraisals
Although we haven’t encountered this yet, home appraisals required by a lender are getting a virtual makeover. Appraisers are viewing the home via video or are participating in ‘desktop appraising,’ where they review available public and private data in order to value the home, including comparable property data, and produce a report. While these methods may not be to the penny in terms of value, they are relatively accurate and allow lenders to continue operating.

Remote Home Closings
In-person home closings — where all parties come together to sign contracts, swap keys, and shake hands—are, for the most part, not happening right now. However, most closings require some face-to-face interaction, since people have to sign documents and notaries need to stamp them in person. If the situation continues to develop, instead of buyers and sellers being in separate rooms and practicing social distancing with their attorneys as they do now, you may find “drive-through” closings happen or even secure video-conference closings depending on governmental regulations and oversight.

Adapted from a Realtor.com article Is It Safe To House Hunt During The Coronavirus Crisis? written by Margaret Heindenry

Navigating During The Corona Virus

These are unchartered and challenging times for a lot of people, and here at Karla Murtaugh Homes we take the health and well-being of our clients seriously. Buying or selling a home is one of the biggest decisions you will make and we understand that sometimes plans cannot be put on hold, even during trying times such as these.

You have made the decision to entrust the sale or potential purchase of your home to us and here’s how we will continue to offer you best-in-class service, while putting our collective health first during the pandemic.

Open Houses
At this time, Karla Murtaugh Homes’ broker and public open houses are being put on hold. Individual showings are still possible, but will happen on a case-by-case scenario with a seller’s permission. Some sellers may not want showings in this current environment, so it’s very important that we be respectful when asking to show homes. If you would like to schedule a showing of a particular property, contact us directly. If you or your family are experiencing cough or cold symptoms, do not request an in-person showing.

Diligent Pre-Screening
We regularly ask qualifying questions of buyers or other realtors who want to view homes in order to get a sense of timeline and qualifications. During this trying time we feel it is important to only do essential showings, thereby reducing the chance of transmission of the virus. If you are just starting to look at homes or do not have an urgent need to purchase, it might be wise to hold off for a little while. You can view detailed property information on our listings or search all listings in Fairfield County on our website. 

In Person Showings
If a showing is scheduled, be respectful and limit contact with surfaces. Ensure you don’t enter the house if you have cold or flu symptoms. Many agents will insist buyers remove their shoes and will limit their client’s opening and closing of doors, closets etc. Use hand sanitizer between viewing homes as a safety precaution to slow the spread of the virus and keep yourself healthy. As a seller, we recommend that you wipe down surfaces, faucets and door handles with a Clorox wipe or equivalent after a showing. You can view more information about the State of Connecticut’s recommendations for safety during Coronavirus on their website.

Online Showings, Social Media and Support
There are so many resources available to you as a buyer that preclude the need to tour a home if you are not immediately in need of a purchase. Most websites include very detailed information about homes, as well as aerial photos, location maps, digital walk-throughs, floor plans, videos, and many other tools to help you gain a full picture of a home, even if now is not the best time for you to view it. Log the homes you like and contact us to learn more. Then when things calm down, you will have a list of the homes you want to see and can hit the ground running! Take virtual tours on our Featured Listings or search all listings in Fairfield County from the comfort of your home.

Stay Optimistic – Together We Can Weather The Storm
America is resilient. We are optimistic our real estate market will come back better and stronger after this brief interruption. Karla Murtaugh Homes is doing everything we can to support you, keep you informed and keep you healthy, while providing essential Real Estate services to those requiring it. We are also happy to sign you up for our “Search Like An Agent” tool, which will give you market updates in real time. Contact us to get started. 

Keep washing those hands and stay well,

Karla, Sally, Jana, Jen & Jay