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The Hartford Courant

Greater Hartford Home Inventory Indicates A Solid Buyer's Market

Bright Spot For Sellers: Median Sale Price Is Up

 

By KENNETH R. GOSSELIN, kgosselin@courant.com

8:06 PM EDT, October 18, 2010

If you're house-hunting in Greater Hartford, there's no shortage of choices.

For the second month in a row, the number of single-family houses on the market in September increased by double digits compared with the same month a year ago. Sales have continued to weaken now that the federal home-buyer tax credit has expired, according to a report Monday from the Greater Hartford Association of Realtors.

The number of houses for sale in the 57-town area tracked by the association was 6,532 in September, up 14.4 percent from 5,711 for the same month in 2009. Based on closed sales last month, there is nearly a 12-month supply of houses on the market.

That means the area headed into the fall in a deepening buyer's market. A six-month supply is considered healthy, not tipped in favor of either the buyer or the seller.

There was one bright spot in Monday's report: The median sale price increased 4.5 percent in September, to $230,000, from $220,000 a year ago.

The activity earlier in the year stoked by the tax credit raised optimism about the housing market, coaxing more sellers to put their properties on the market. While the tax credit was available, buyers rushed to meet the deadline, sending sales surging.

Now, sales of single-family houses are weakening, not getting the jump-start intended by the credit because the economic recovery remains uncertain. Employers generally remain cautious about expansion and hiring, sapping would-be buyers of confidence about the prospect of finding a job should they lose theirs.

Closed sales in September fell 28.1 percent to 568, down from 790 for the same month a year ago.

Rob Giuffria, a broker at Prudential Premier Homes in Farmington, said the surge earlier in the year meant more buyers purchased homes sooner than they might have — accounting for some of the weakness in sales now.

"Buyers are being conservative and putting off decisions," Giuffria said. "Until job growth picks up, you won't see housing pick up."

Monday's report also pointed to continued weakness in sales in coming months. Houses under deposit fell nearly 33 percent, to 657, from 976 in September 2009.

Copyright © 2010, The Hartford Courant

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