Newtown Real Estate Market Generates ‘Unusual’ Start In 2019
In an unlikely turn of events, Newtown’s real estate market has seen an “unusual” trajectory this year, according to Newtown Board of Realtors President David Landau, who spoke to The Newtown Bee on Monday, July 8.
While springtime typically sees a boom in sales, it was the opposite locally, with sales on the lower end before rising back up to normal levels.
“We always seem to average about 30 to 35 sales a month,” Mr Landau said of the market in town. “We’ve actually averaged that for the year so far, even though in February there was about 20-something sales and in May there was around 44 sales.”
At that rate, the real estate market has made its way back on course, and there have been 192 homes sold in Newtown since the start of the year, with a median sales price of $372,000.
Of those homes, 17 were bank-owned and three were short sale. Realtor.com reports, “A short sale happens when a homeowner owes more on the mortgage balance than the market value or sale price of the property at the point the owner wants to sell.”
Mr Landau said that among those nearly 200 sales, 21 homes sold for the seller’s original asking price and 32 homes were sold for more than the original asking price. Of the latter, he says, a few were new construction.
Compared to last year at this time, Mr Landau finds the market is “almost identical.”
“The only change is that the average sales price is down 3.4-percent,” he explained. “It’s very close to the same volume, but the sales price has gone down. Last year at this time, the average sales price was $385,000.”
As of the time of the interview, there were 102 homes under show or deposit, with the average listing price being $420,000.
On The Market
“Real estate is always location, location, location,” Mr Landau emphasized.
Newtown appeals to many looking to buy, he says, because of its placement in upper Fairfield County. With its proximity to New York City and its easy access to nearby train stations, those commuting to work find it desirable.
Another big draw is that it comes at a relatively cheaper price-point than its Fairfield County counterparts.
According to The National Association of Realtors, Fairfield County’s median home price is $435,477.
As of July 8, there were 189 single-family homes on the market with a median listing price of $420,000.
Of those single-family homes, seven were antiques and 27 were new construction.
Also available were 12 townhouses and 17 condominium units — the latter of which had options with age requirements, including at Regency at Newtown, Liberty at Newtown, and Newtown Woods.
While there are six homes for sale that are valued for more than a million, one in particular may stand out to aviation enthusiasts: Flying Ridge on Platts Hill Road.
“It’s the most expensive property for sale in Newtown and has its own air strip,” Mr Landau explained.
Unfortunately, for sellers in the million-dollar price range, properties costing more than $700,000 are proving to be the slowest selling homes this year with only ten sales so far, according to Mr Landau.
“The most popular price range that’s selling right now in Newtown is between $300,000 and $450,000,” he added. “Approximately half of the sales this year — 95 sales — have been in that price range.”
For those interested in renting, rather than buying, there are about ten rentals available — more than double from last year’s real estate market review.
Mr Landau said, “The average price goes between $2,000 and $2,500 for a three-bedroom rental in Newtown.”
Advice To Sellers And Buyers
Navigating the market climate for the area is not the only aspect that buyers and sellers need to consider.
“The biggest challenge is the home value hasn’t recovered since the crash [in 2010],” Mr Landau said. “Other challenges we are facing at the moment is the uncertainty of the economic climate in Connecticut.”
Whether buying or selling, though, Mr Landau says that people continue to be drawn to Newtown for its “sense of community and the people.”
With that in mind, when asked when he would recommend someone put their home on the market — with no hesitation — his reply was, “Immediately.”
Qualified home buyers are looking at current mortgage rates of below four percent.
“Interest rates have historic lows again. I have a client closing next week at 3.75 percent,” Mr Landau explained.
For those ready to sell their home, he recommends presenting the space in a way that is neat, clean, and decluttered to create a good first impression.
As for those first-time home buyers looking to purchase in Newtown, Mr Landau advises, “Sit down with your buyers’ agent and go over the process and the expectations. Also, be pre-approved for a mortgage.”