Third-quarter real estate: Home prices up, condo market cold

Strike while the iron is hot.

That’s the message local Realtors are giving sellers in Ridgefield’s high-end market after a third quarter in which the average sales price increased $60,369 — from $743,161 in July, August and September of 2016 to $803,530 during the same three-month stretch in 2017.

Despite a slight decrease in the number of homes sold in the third quarter — 116 in 2016 to 115 this year, Realtors believe the market is in good shape heading into the fall and winter months.

“It doesn’t concern me that sales numbers are down, because there’s that positive trend in the high-end market,” said Kyle Neumann, president of the Ridgefield Board of Realtors, “which is great — that’s the market that’s been hurting.”

The third quarter in 2017 saw four homes sell above $2 million — compared to just two over the same period last year.

Those high-end sales helped pull up the median sales price in town — $654,500 this year, compared to $637,000 over the third quarter in 2016. The highest price for a home sold in the third quarter of 2017 was $3,318,183. The lowest was $235,000.

“The biggest thing to take away from this is that the higher-end market is showing a positive trend,” Neumann said.

Condos down

While home sales remained relatively stable, condominium sales took a dip. Ridgefield saw 23 units sell during the third quarter last year, compared to the 14 that went off the market in July, August and September of 2017.

As did sales prices of single-family homes, the prices of condos went up — but not by that noticeable a margin.

The average sales price for condos in the third quarter of 2017 increased by $7,942, according to Neumann.

The median sales price for condos did make a significant jump, increasing from $292,000 in the third quarter of 2016 to $461,500 over the same three-month stretch this year.

Neumann said that with those numbers, plus a strong second quarter in condo sales, leave plenty of room for optimism among Realtors.

“Although the amount of condos has decreased for this [quarter], it doesn’t concern me, because there was such an increase in condo sales in the second quarter,” he said.

If you average the two together, Neumann explained, condo sales remain steady in town.

He pointed toward the second quarter of 2017, when 26 condos were sold.

“I think the big takeaway for sellers is, Put your condo on the market earlier in the year; don’t wait until the summer,” Neumann said.

Cheap condos?

Unlike the first two quarters in 2017, the strongest sales in the condo market in July, August and September were in units priced below $500,000. Ten of the 14 units sold in this year’s third quarter went for below that figure.

The highest sale price for a condo was $1,348,000. The lowest was $130,000.

“Condos obviously went down, but then you have one that sold for over a million,” Neumann said about the unit that sold at 500 Main Street.

Despite the drop-off this quarter, he believes condos in Ridgefield remain strong investments for potential buyers.

“A condo sort of appeals to everyone because everything is taken care of — it’s an easier investment,” he said. “They have an association maintaining it, so it’s very hands-off.”

On average, Ridgefield condos sold for 96% of their asking price.

“It’s very easy to price a house incorrectly,” Neumann said, “but condos are much harder to price incorrectly.”


Looking at the conveyance taxes the town brought in during the third quarter this year, Town Clerk Barbara Serfilippi said things are stable but not flourishing.

She took in $272,244 in conveyance taxes this past quarter, compared to $274,270 during the same period in 2016.

“2016 was slightly better, by about $2,000,” she said.

“I think it’s been a steady market,” Serfilippi added. “We’re holding our own.”

While the first half of the year had more sales, Neumann said, the average sale price for homes had been decreasing.

“The transaction volume has remained consistent with its overall annual growth, but the average cost of homes sold has increased,” he said.