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What to Consider When Upsizing or Downsizing

As we discussed in our recent Q3 Market Report, the market is still very busy although we are seeing the “panic” situation of late 2020 receding a little. Homes that are in good condition and priced correctly are still seeing lots of interest, but it is not as frenzied as in previous months.

Our days on market and months of inventory continue at record lows and are a matter of concern given the number of buyers still looking to make the move to the suburbs. With in- office work returning, high crime in many urban areas, and stubbornly low interest rates, it behooves sellers looking to move to jump into the market.

Taking all of this into consideration, many people are currently thinking about upsizing or downsizing. Many families’ needs have changed and their current homes no longer serve their lifestyle appropriately. But figuring out the perfect size home for your family can be difficult. Often, we don’t know exactly how we’ll use a space until we’re in it (and then it could be too late!).

If you’re considering either upsizing or downsizing, we recommend you contemplate the following:

  • Think about your current home. Are there rooms you never use? Are there rooms that are packed to bursting? Do you have enough storage space? Are you bumping into family members when trying to get out the door at night or make dinner at night?
  • Think about the future. Do you have young kids who will only occupy more space as they grow? Or do you have kids who are about to leave the nest and free up a certain amount of square footage?
  • Think about your lifestyle. Do you wish you had more space to entertain and have overnight guests? You might want to upsize. Are you spending more time away from home and don’t want the maintenance that goes along with a larger home? You might be ready to downsize.
  • Think about your budget. Is a smaller mortgage payment one reason you’d like to downsize? Or has your financial outlook improved enough to take on more of a mortgage in exchange for the lifestyle that will go along with it?

As we move into the traditionally slower holiday season, prices are still up but we hope for a more balanced market as we head into 2022. 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.

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.

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!

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.

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.

 

 

 

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.

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.