The COVID 19 pandemic continues to affect nearly every element of daily life around the world. Here in Fairfield County, Connecticut we continue to see those pressures come through in real estate in the form of a very hot 2020 sellers market. As it becomes clear that we may not return to a normal way of life anytime soon, those who can move out of New York City continue to do so at an alarming rate.
High-income earners from the city are choosing to relocate to Connecticut suburbs for good reason: excellent public schools systems, space to remain socially distant, space to allow for a home office and a diverse educated community. Space has never been more in demand than right now. Top choices to relocate in are towns such as Greenwich, Darien and Westport. These towns have proximity to NYC, a metro north train station and top-rated public schools. Their property taxes also remain relatively low due to a strong tax base.
Middle-income earners escaping the city will be pushed farther out into the outer limits of Fairfield County such as Fairfield and Stratford. Fairfield is a great shoreline town with good schools, moderate taxes and beautiful beaches. However, home prices in Fairfield remain too high for most in the middle-income bracket. This will force them to look either north into Trumbull and Monroe or further east into Stratford.
Stratford remains the second most affordable Fairfield County town (second only to Bridgeport) and provides a tremendous value even as property values continue to climb. Stratford has some good schools depending on what neighborhood you live in. Some neighborhoods suffer from underperforming schools. Stratford has several beaches, a metro north train station and a diverse, working class community. Property taxes are high relative to the surrounding towns, though home prices have historically been significantly lower than neighboring towns.
Home prices all across Fairfield County are finally recovering back up to the pre-recession levels of 2006-2007. The current seller’s market represents a perfect storm from the lack of inventory supply and the strong demand for space due to the pandemic. Many homes right now are seeing multiple offers, highest-and-best offer scenarios, and are selling over the original asking price. New York City expats are battling locals in price bidding wars for an ever smaller selection of homes on the market.
As prices continue to rise across Fairfield County, home owners who would like to sell may have difficulty navigating this market. While their current homes are now easier to sell at higher values, finding a new home they can afford – and win- without tough competition will be a challenge. This further constrains the supply of homes, which in turn puts upward pressure on home prices.
Interest rates on home loans are at an all time low. It’s common to see 3% and 3.125% 30-year rates at the moment, which allows buyers to afford more expensive homes. With interest rates predicted to remain low for the foreseeable future, this has also contributed to home price growth this year.
As 2020 transitions into 2021, many real estate experts expect the home prices and sales in Connecticut to remain very strong.
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The Book on Negotiating Real Estate