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Karla Murtaugh & Christine Carnicelli Honored By BGCR

The Boys & Girls Club of Ridgefield is having their Great Futures Celebration Supporting our Kids, Our Families and Our Club Community on Saturday, November 6th and I am so proud to be honored as the 2020 Champion for Youth! Together with my friend Christine Carnicelli, who is being honored as the 2021 Champion for Youth, we will join a host of community members to celebrate our wonderful local club.

BGCR rose to the occasion, met each challenge, and stayed true to the mission of helping those that need them the most throughout the past years. They truly rallied to do ‘Whatever It Takes’ for the youth and families in our community. Join us and support the Great Futures Celebration at the Ethan Allen Hotel. It wouldn’t be a celebration without all of you!

In addition to Christine and myself, the club will also be presenting Jess Murphy Podrazky with the Boys & Girls Club of America’s National Service to Youth Award recognizing a decade of service to the Club.

Of course, the BGCR also hopes to raise some much-needed funds for our Club members’ Great Futures. Our promise to youth is to continue to be a pillar of support for them, no matter the obstacles they may be facing, and with your help at the Great Futures Celebration, we know we will be able to fulfill this promise.

Antique Homes Are Amazing, But Do Your Homework

There are some beautiful antique homes in our area, and these can be some of our favorites to help clients buy and sell. The unique charm of older homes can be just the character your family is looking for, and there is nothing cookie-cutter about these properties! They are often located in well-established neighborhoods with mature landscaping.

Older homes can have amazing character traits and historical features that most new homes simply do not have, like huge wood-burning fireplaces, beautiful wood trim and moldings, and ceilings with rustic wood beams that can be harder to find in newer, more modern homes.

There can be some challenges however, and we created this list to help prepare you if you’re thinking of purchasing an antique home. Be sure to consider the following:

  • Enlist the help of a top realtor like us who has decades of experience in this area. We know what red flags to look for, and how to negotiate on your behalf to get the best deal especially when it comes to replacement expenses.
  • Most older homes contain items that eventually need to be replaced. Some examples with considerable price tags may include roofing, furnace, water heater, decks, windows and fencing. It is important to find out the age of each of these items when you’re considering an older property. Structural issues, older plumbing and outdated electrical may also need to be addressed depending on the age of the home.
  • Antique homes in the northeast especially can require updated weatherstripping and insulation to ensure you’re not wasting money on an unnecessarily high energy bill. Speaking of bills, it can be more costly to insure an older home than a modern home so you may want to check with your homeowners insurance company.
  • Depending on the needs of your family, the floor plan in an older home might require some renovation and remodeling. Smaller rooms might need to be opened up to create a more open floor plan and additional bathrooms might be needed if you have a larger family or frequent houseguests.
  • You may want to find out if there are any historical societies or neighborhood restrictions on remodeling. Some older homes and neighborhoods have restrictions in terms of the type and style of remodeling that can be done.
  • Fortunately, our team loves antique homes and would be honored to help you find yours, even if it means resolving some of these issues! Reach out to us today.

    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.

     

    Welcome Back To School!

    Ridgefield Public Schools began their school year this week, and we wanted to take a moment to salute our incredible teachers, students, staff and administrators! Our schools are consistently ranked among the best in the nation year after year.

    We know our administrators are closely following the developments of the COVID-19 pandemic and complying with all local, state and federal guidelines. The district is not offering a remote or hybrid option this year, and masks are required for all individuals regardless of vaccination status. There is currently an indoor mask mandate in place for the entire town of Ridgefield.

    Superintendent Susie Da Silva told The Ridgefield Press that the district had a great start to the new school year. With more knowledge of the virus at their disposal, she explained, administrators were able to better prepare for the year ahead.

    School officials will keep a close eye on local COVID-19 cases to inform how to proceed with quarantines, continued instruction and enhancing that learning. The district is also preparing to screen students in grades K-6 on a weekly basis as soon as Sept. 13. The voluntary program is designed specifically for children who are ineligible to receive the vaccine and is intended to alleviate transmission in the event of a positive case.

    Additionally, in partnership with the Connecticut State Department of Education, Ridgefield Public Schools will continue to offer a free meal in all of our schools for the entire 2021-22 school year.

    Learn more about our many excellent district offerings here: https://www.ridgefield.org/Our_District

    We also have several private schools in the Ridgefield area, including Ridgefield Academy and St. Mary School. You can learn more here: https://www.privateschoolreview.com/connecticut/ridgefield

    Join us in wishing everyone in Ridgefield schools a safe and productive year!

    Ridgefield July Market Report – Prices Remain High

    Sales Slowing, But Prices Remain High

    2020 was an unusually busy year for real estate across the entire nation with low inventory and high numbers of buyers. As we enter the second half of 2021, we are seeing a slight slowdown in the number of sales happening and a return to seasonality in the market. This is understandable given people are once again taking vacations. July saw the number of unit sales decrease from 72 in 2020 to 55 in 2021. Year-to-date sales stayed elevated however with 292 homes closing in 2021 compared to 229 last year (an increase of 28%).

    Overall Dollar Volume, Median & Average Prices Up

    Due to an overall increase in price sales volume has not suffered in July despite the slowdown, staying the same at over $50-million dollars. Year-to-date sales dollar volume also increased over 2020 by a margin of 61%, with a total of $272,974,437 sold vs. $169,811,694 by this time last year. The median price of a single-family home in Ridgefield was up 30% year over year standing at $825,000 currently, and was up 37% ($875,000) when comparing July sales only, The average sales price increased 26% to $934,844 year year-to-date.


    Looking Ahead

    Our biggest challenge moving into Q3 and Q4 2021 is the lack of inventory. Particularly at more competitive price points ($600,000-$900,000), the lack of new homes entering the market is cause for concern. There are still buyers looking for homes, although that seems to be slowing slightly as buyer fatigue sets in. For now, homes that in good condition and are priced accordingly are still selling at or above list price, and we are seeing some multiple offer situations. It will be interesting to see how the fall market rebounds as mortgage rates continue to remain at record lows, prices stabilize and the Delta variant of Covid-19 comes into play. It does seem to be moving towards a more balanced market for buyers and sellers.

    Click here to see a breakdown by price or click here to see quick summary.

    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.

    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.