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Our Clients In The Wall Street Journal!

In a Wall Street Journal Special Section called Beyond NYC, we were fortunate enough to be asked to provide a commentary on the state of the market. In addition, two of our fabulous clients were featured in a two different articles about their experiences buying in the ‘suburbs’ like Ridgefield, and selling during Covid. To check out the full article, see the posts below.

Ridgefield August Market Report – Low Inventory Remains Main Issue

Year To Date Sales Remain Strong

Year over year January through August single-family home sales remain strong with 351 homes sold to date in 2021 vs 298 in 2020 – an increase of 18%.  We see the same trend in overall sales volume, which saw a 43% increase year over year ending the year-to-date at $329,473,587 with rising prices and continued demand for properties responsible for the continuing uptick.

Low Inventory Means Less Sales, Less Overall Volume In August 2021

For the second month in a row the number of closed transactions is lower in a given month than what was seen in that same month in 2020. There were 58 sales in August this year, a decrease of 19% from the 69 sales in August 2020. There was also a 7.5% decrease in the overall sales volume with August 2021 coming in at $55,711,650 vs $60,211, 700. Given the buying cycle, homes closing in August were most likely to have been purchased in June – the key time observed for the large exodus of buyers from NYC in 2020. It’s also a sign that limited inventory is making it hard for buyers to find homes – the main limiting factor in real estate right now.

Prices Remain High With No Sign Of Dropping

Another result of the limited inventory is that the price of homes continues to remain at all time highs.  Mortgage rates are holding steady, and values are showing no signs of slipping. While the market is not as frenzied as previous, homes remain in high demand with buyers chomping at the bit to make to a move. In August alone the median price was up 13% year over year from August 2020 landing at $835,000 vs $740,000 a year ago.  Year-to-date, the median home price is 28% up year over year sitting at $825,000 vs $645,000.  The average price in August 2021 is up 10% at $960,546, while year over year it is up 22% at $938,671.

 

How To Prep Your Home To SELL

With fall coming, 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 eighteen months. But the real estate market shows no signs of slowing, and if you’d like to capitalize on this exciting market and earn a fabulous price for your home, we’d love to help.

Here are a few great first steps to get you started:

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.

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

4. 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.

5. Boost curb appeal! The first impression is most important, 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.

In addition, 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. 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’. 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 our Seller’s Guide. At Karla Murtaugh Homes, our team is committed to ensuring that each and every transaction is handled in the most effective manner possible, and with the trust and integrity you deserve.

Be sure to reach out to us today for your complimentary consultation. We’ll walk you through every step!

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.

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.

120 Prospect Ridge Featured In Hearst Papers “On The Market”

Our beautiful listing at 120 Prospect Ridge, Ridgefield CT was featured in Hearst Newspapers “On The Market” section this past week. Profiling exceptional properties throughout Fairfield County, Meg Barone interviewed Karla Murtaugh to get the scoop. Here are some excerpts from the article:

The classic architecture of the 1920s-era house at 120 Prospect Ridge in Ridgefield works in concert with its updates, amenities and location to create a living and entertaining space worthy of the 21st century lifestyle.

The circa 1928 masterpiece is a “lesson in timeless architecture and sophisticated living,” according to Karla Murtaugh, the listing agent.

The 15-room house, its sizable guest cottage, and heated in-ground saltwater swimming pool sit on a gated one-acre level property in the Village Center within walking distance of many attractions.

At 5,986 square feet this house is a comfortable size. “It’s just the right size. It’s not a McMansion. That’s the allure of this property. People are looking for comfortable and not over-the-top. This house is very gracious,” Murtaugh said.

The master suite features a huge dressing room, a private balcony looking over the yard and a marble bath. Three other bedrooms are also en suite. Above the detached two-car garage is the guest cottage. It includes a vaulted great room, bedroom, full bath and lower level kitchenette. Either the guest house or the third level in the main house could serve as an in-law or au pair suite.

Murtaugh said the house is “beautifully sited and surrounded by Green Giant evergreens and blossoming rhododendrons.” The professionally landscaped grounds include multiple patios and pergolas, organic garden beds and perennial gardens.

This house is on the market for $2,450,000.

 

Visit our feature page to take a virtual tour. Text or call 203-856-5534 or email karla@karlamurtaugh.com for more information or to schedule an in-person tour.

Ridgefield 2020 Year In Review Real Estate Market Report

Ridgefield Market Snapshot

2020 started out strong, but the year came to a grinding halt in March as we all sheltered in place due to Covid-19. When real estate was allowed to resume towards the end of April, a torrent of buyers from NYC and other urban areas created unprecedented demand for homes in Westchester and Fairfield counties. The number of single-family home sales in Ridgefield increased by 70% year over year with 556 units selling this year as compared to 327 in 2019. In addition, the total sales volume increased 93.5% in 2020 with $451,684,839 in total sales compared to $233,379,725 last year.

Price gains were seen throughout the Ridgefield single family home market with the Median Sales Price increasing from $628,250 to $707,500, representing an overall increase of 12.6%. The Average Sales Price also increased by 14% from $713,699 to $812,383. The Days On Market decreased with homes spending 70 days on the market before selling, as compared to 167 in 2019. The List to Sales Price Ratio rose from 96.5% to 97.8% with many homes receiving offers above asking price or even multiple offers.

Demand for single-family homes increased at all price points, however, the greatest boost came in properties selling between $1-million and $1.5-million. Sluggish sales over the past few years were reversed with a 217% gain from 24 sales last year to 76 this year. The luxury market – defined as homes selling for more than $1.5-million – also saw appreciable gains with a 128% rise from 18 to 41 sales, and the under $1-million sales increased 54% from 285 to 439. In general, homes that had been updated were often selling at or above their listed price.

Trends In The Market

  • As people reevaluate their lifestyles in the wake of the pandemic, many are finding their home a sanctuary. People are moving out of cramped urban spaces to more residential neighborhoods in the suburbs.
  • While the market has transitioned to benefit the seller, buyers are still wary of creating a ‘bubble’ and will continue to be reasonable in their offer strategy.
  • A shortage of inventory will continue to place pressure on first-time and even ‘move-up’ buyers as continued demand outweighs supply.
  • It is increasingly important to understand how the market changes we are seeing breaks down by price and segment, as not all gains are the same across the board.

For more information, download the FULL REPORT.

Karla Murtaugh Receives Luxury Specialist Designation From Christie’s International Real Estate

After attending Christie’s International Real Estate’s Luxury Specialist conference specializing in insights about the global economy, evolving business strategies and luxury trends in art, collectibles and home design, Karla Murtaugh was awarded the exclusive “Luxury Specialist” designation for expertise in high-end client service. This is the sixth year that Karla Murtaugh has been granted the Luxury Specialist designation.

Welcoming over 700 brokers from 24 countries, including 26 U.S. states, this year’s event was held virtually, attracting the largest number of participants in the history of the forum. At the conclusion of the conference, attendees were designated as a “Christie’s International Real Estate Luxury Specialist” by Christie’s Education.

Dan Conn, CEO of Christie’s International Real Estate, said: “Our agents are experts in their local markets, the reason their companies were invited to join our exclusive network. This conference, offering continuing education in the luxury sector, allows them to build on their local reputations with an appreciation for the full scope of the interests of high-end clients.”

In addition to representation from across the United States, attendees joined from Europe, Canada, the Caribbean, Latin and South America, Asia and Australia.

Speakers included Elliot Eisenberg, internationally acclaimed economist renowned for making the science of global money policies clear and logical; and Michael S. Smith, the interior designer appointed by President Barack Obama to the Committee for the Preservation of the White House and responsible for the 2010 makeover of the Oval Office.

Participants also heard from Christie’s International Real Estate executives and their industry-leading peers who provided insights into managing their businesses in a volatile environment, digital approaches for buying and selling homes, managing client relations and leveraging PR and social media to build personal brands.