New Yorkers fleeing city for country
A pandemic-inspired influx of New Yorkers has hit Connecticut’s real estate market, including Ridgefield.
“The market is hot!” said Lynne Boehm, president of the Ridgefield Board of Realtors. “Homeowners thinking of selling should consider listing their properties now to take advantage of buyers looking to move to more wide open spaces.”
Large numbers of New Yorkers have changed their addresses in recent months in favor of Connecticut ZIP codes, according to data from the United States Postal Service (USPS).
Since March, when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the region, nearly 10,000 New York residents requested an address change with USPS and decamped for the Nutmeg State, according to data obtained by Hearst Connecticut Media. That’s up from roughly 1,200 requests over the same period in 2019.
The data supports the trend real estate agents have described throughout the public health emergency, which hit New York especially hard. More than 200,000 New York residents have fallen sick and more than 17,000 have died in the city of 8 million.
The USPS also noted the unprecedented uptick.
“There has been a significant increase in changes of addresses so far this year compared to previous years,” a USPS spokesman said Friday, June 19.
Connecticut, while also among the hardest-hit COVID-19 states, is far less densely populated than New York City.
In Fairfield County, the state’s most populous area, nearly 5,000 address changes from New York occurred between March and early June this year, compared to 765 during that same period in 2019.
According to Paul Breunich, president and CEO of William Pitt and Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, an independent analysis conducted by his brokerage of New York City buyers confirms trends evident in the Postal Service data.
Since mid-April, 33 percent of buyers in Fairfield County, 31 percent in Litchfield County and 9 percent on the shoreline have come from New York City, the analysis found.
“I’ve been in business for 30 years — this is a market that I have never seen before from a demand standpoint,” Breunich said. “We have our normal demand, but then we’ve got an unforeseen demand coming from New York City. Our opinion is it’s a direct result of the pandemic and also the social unrest that’s been going on.”
The ripples that the sudden interest has sent through the market may be felt more because there was already a shortage of housing inventory.
In Ridgefield in May 2020, there was an inventory of 231 single family houses, down 27 percent from an inventory of 315 houses in May 2019. And the number of new listings in May was 84 this year, compared to 119 last May — a drop of 29.4 percent. These figures came from the Local Market Update for May from the SMART MLS, provided by the Ridgefield Board of Realtors.
Last month, Ridgefield’s real estate market appeared more steady than booming, with 32 sales closed on single family houses in Ridgefield during May, compared to 31 closed sales last year, in May 2019 — up 3.2 percent.
Closed sales of single family properties from Jan. 1 through May 30 totaled 124 in 2020, up 15.9 percent from 107 in the first five months of 2019.
“Overall, the market is slightly ahead of last year. It is definitely a sellers’ market,” said Boehm, the Ridgefield Board of Realtors president, who works for Weichert, Realtors. “Due to the softness in inventory many properties have multiple offers, driving prices up slightly.
“Homeowners should consider listing their properties now to take advantage of this surge in buyers,” she said. “We are experiencing buyers coming from out-of-town, NYC and boroughs, and, New Jersey cities, some looking to rent first to experience the area before buying, but, many also ready to purchase.”
Boehm said that the market had livened up in June.
“June 1 to 23, versus May 2020, single family homes: Active 64; Show 51; Deposit 36; Closed 25; Total volume $181,897,299,” she said.
Prices were up, even in the figures released that only went through the end of May. The average sales price of single family houses sold in Ridgefield in May 2020 was $762,203, up 17 percent from $651,460 in May 2019.
Year-to-date the price increase was less dramatic, though still upward, with an average sales price of $717,816 for single family homes from January through May 2020, up 2.1 percent from an average price of $702,889 for that period in 2019.
The median price of single family sales closed in May was $635,000, up 1.6 percent from $625,000 in May 2019. From Jan. 1 through May 30 2020, the median sales price was $617,000, up 3.7 percent from $595,000 in the first five months of 2019.
“Pending sales” of single family houses were counted at 31 in May 2020, down 22.5 percent from 40 pending sales in May 2019. From the first five months of the year, pending sales totaled 135 in 2020 and 139 in 2019, off 2.9 percent.
The number of days a house had been on the market before being sold was 81 days in May 2020, down 17.3 percent from 98 days on the market for houses sold in May 2019.
For the Jan. 1 to May 30 period, the time a house sat on the market before being sold was 111 days in 2020, up 4.7 percent from 106 days in 2019.
The condominium and townhouse market appears less active. Sales of two condominium or townhouse units were closed in May 2020, down from three in May 2019 — just one less sale, but a drop of 33.3 percent with the percentage affected by lower numbers.
From Jan. 1 through May 30, condo and townhouse sales closings totaled 24 in 2020, up one unit — or 4.3 percent — from 23 units sold in that period in 2019.
The average condominium or townhouse sales price in Ridgefield was $258,500 for May 2020, up 1.2 percent from $255,333 in in 2019.
For the Jan. 1 to May 30 period, the average condominium sales price was $313,296 this year, up 14.2 percent from $301,413 for January through May of 2019.
The median price on condominium sales was $258,500 in May 2020, down 1 percent from $261,000 in May 2019. For the first five months of the year, the median sales price of a condo in Ridgefield was $239,750, up 14.2 percent from $210,000 for that period of 2019
The number of days a condo unit was on the market before being sold averaged 96 days in May 2020, compared to 61 in May 2019 — an increase of 57.4 percent. For the first five months of the year, units that sold had been on the market an average of 103 days, up 53.7 percent from 67 days in from Jan. 1 to May 30 2019.
The inventory of condo units on the market was 30 in May 2020, down 9.1 percent from 33 in May 2019. The number of new listings for condos was 10 in May 2020, up 11.1 percent form 9 in May 2019. For the first five month sof the year, the number of new listings for condos was 39 in 2020, down 18.8 percent from 48 in 2019.
Again, Boehm pointed to a stronger June.
“The condo market is up in June versus May 2020, with 9 Active/New; 7 Show; 2 Deposit; 5 Closed; Total Volume $7,722,435,” she said.