2020 Year End Summary: Stratford, Connecticut Real Estate Market

As 2020 comes to a close, there is no sign of the housing market slowing down in Connecticut. According to Zillow (and from our own observations) Stratford’s 06614 zip code saw housing prices rise by an incredible 12.5% over the past 12 months. The upward trend is expected to continue by another 11.5% next year in 2021. Home prices continue to rise in Stratford as New Yorkers continue to flee high cost housing and high taxes to Fairfield County Connecticut’s relative bargain pricing. It truly is a bargain when compared to New York City and Westchester rates.

Historically, Stratford has been the most affordable town in Fairfield County. It largely still holds this title, though prices are rising to meet the strong demand from homebuyers looking for more space in town. Stratford is a mix of suburban and shoreline neighborhoods that experienced widespread development after World War II in the 1950’s through the 1960’s. For the most part, any land worthy of development has been developed long ago.

With strong prices and demand in 2020 however, new construction has taken off again in 06614. Developers have found the few remaining buildable lots to build on, now that prices support such development. Town officials seem eager to grant any permit that brings new tax base to town.

Lordship, the beautiful shoreline neighborhood has seen both tear-downs with new homes built as well as once vacant lots sold and permitted for new building. We also wrote about this beautiful new home newly constructed on Park Boulevard this year. In the Paradise Green neighborhood in the North-end of town, more new construction was seen at Cutspring road adjacent to the Mill River Country Club golf course. Three new homes all next to each other were built in 2020 with the third home nearing completion as of December 27, 2020.

Another new construction at the North-end located on Wakelee ave recently went under contract at $469,000 within just one week of being listed in the fall of 2020. On the West-end of town near the Bridgeport line, new construction is seen there, too. Perry lane has two new listings which are currently offered for customization (pre-construction) at $495,000 for 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom homes with two-car attached garages.

Fairfield County’s best kept secret, I’m afraid to say, is no longer a secret. With new buyers and investment coming in from New York, prices and a competitive market are here to stay for the foreseeable future.

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Information posted is merely the opinion of Time or Space for entertainment purposes only. All information published can be found in Town Records which is made available to the Public.

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Housing is Hot in Stratford’s Paradise Green Neighborhood

Paradise Green is a quaint North-end neighborhood in the Fairfield County suburb of Stratford. This neighborhood is nestled along the beautiful Housatonic River that empties out into Long Island Sound next to Milford. It’s located above I95 and below the route 15 Merritt Parkway. In the center of the neighborhood is Paradise Green Park, a large triangular shaped green situated between Huntington road and Main Street where the farmers market operates during the summer months.

The Paradise Green neighborhood is within walking distance to Longbrook Park, which is next to beautiful new athletic fields, and offers many shops and restaurants on Main Street. On Main Street you’ll find brick oven fired pizza, a wine shop, an American tavern, a donut shop, bakeries, coffee shops, Italian restaurants and more. This area is excellent for commuters due to its convenient location. Paradise Green residents will enjoy a 5 minute drive up north to get on the Merritt Parkway or a 5 minute drive south down to the Stratford metro north train station.

Fairfield County is now experiencing a very hot seller’s market this year due to several factors; read more about that here. Paradise Green is arguably one of the best neighborhoods in Stratford due to its convenient location, good schools and amenities. This neighborhood has beautiful mature tree-lined streets with sidewalks, offering a high quality of living in a peaceful suburban setting that’s perfect for families. New York City transplants and Connecticut homebuyers looking for a safe and affordable place to call home often land here.

Homes in this area are well-kept and often extensively updated with a wide range of styles to choose from. Smaller ranch homes, two story colonials and a mix of large and small pre-war homes can be found here. Pre-war homes are more rare as the building boom in town didn’t take place until the post-war years once servicemen returned home. With the support of the 1944 GI bill promoting home ownership, low interest mortgages helped fuel the growth of the suburbs.

The Great Recession from 2007-2009 had a large impact here in Town. Foreclosed homes resulting from this recession were still widely available in 2015-2016 when I began looking at homes in Stratford. However, from 2015-2019 home prices recovered dramatically, nearing pre-recession levels. The pandemic in 2020 has further pushed the already hot market into an even hotter one, with homes going under contract within a day or two and prices at or above historical peaks.

Even with home prices continuing to rise, Stratford still offers the best value proposition in Fairfield County today. Beautifully updated 3 bedroom homes in the $350,000 price range in Stratford would easily reach into the $500,000 range and beyond in the town of Fairfield, just over 10 minutes drive away. While these two towns offer different benefits, the fact remains that Paradise Green offers quite a lot for those looking to affordably break into a Fairfield County town on the metro north train line.

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The 2020 Seller’s Housing Market in Fairfield County, Connecticut Explained

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