Spring home buying market started out with a bang in Greater Hartford

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The spring home buying market — traditionally the strongest of the year — didn’t do much to boost overall home sale prices in greater Hartford this year, a new report Friday showed.

Through the first seven months of 2019, the median sale price of a single-family house — where half the sales are above, half below — fell 0.4%, or was essentially flat, compared with the same period in 2018, according to the monthly report from the Greater Hartford Association of Realtors.

The association tracks 27 towns and cities stretching from Suffield to Rocky Hill and Canton to Willington.

John Zubretsky, president of Weichert Realtors-The Zubretsky Group in Wethersfield, said Friday the spring market ended up with a disappointing finish.

Hartford, Conn.

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“It started out with a bang and then it stalled,” he said. “It just didn’t maintain.”

Part of the reason, Zubretsky said, is that buyers have turned very demanding in a market that is still recovering.

“They expect a perfect house, at a great price and the seller to cave in on everything,” he said.

July is considered the last month of the spring home buying season because properties that went under contract 45-60 days earlier will have closed.

Here are five key takeaways from Friday’s report:

Spring home buying season wraps up without overall price gains

Through July, the median sale price was $246,000, essentially unchanged from the same period a year ago. Real estate experts look for gains in prices paid as a sign the housing market is making strides in recovering from the steep economic downturn of a decade ago.

There is a silver lining though: low prices — paired with low mortgage rates — make purchasing a home affordable, if potential buyers can make a deposit and find the right house.

Inventory is tight and is likely to remain so in the near future

House hunters will really have to look for the house that’s right for them.

According to the association, new listings fell 2.7% through the first seven months of this year, compared with the same period last year.

Homeowners take heart: Houses are selling

While buyers often play hardball, homes that are in the most desirable locations with updated kitchens and baths are sought after and can attract multiple bids.

The association noted sales of single-family houses rose 3.5% through July of this year, compared with the same period in 2018.

And more sales are on the way: pending sales were up more than 3% through July, compared with a year ago, the association reported.

Condos are providing a bright spot in the housing market

Condominiums are a much smaller slice of the home sale market and are often not given as much attention as single-family houses.

But through July, sales rose more than 4.5%, while the median price gained 2.5%, to $171,000, both compared to the same seven-month period last year.

To compare, 959 condos sold through July, while 3,805 single-family houses were purchased.

Statistics are just that — statistics

The median sale price is a well-watched indicator of changes in sale prices and trends affecting property values. But it doesn’t necessarily mean all home prices and values, for that matter, are moving in the same direction.

Prices can vary widely from town-to-town and even neighborhood-to-neighborhood. The median can be influenced by the mix of properties on the market at any one time. For instance, multiple bids can push up prices in a market but can be offset by foreclosure sales, often affecting lower-priced properties in the same market.

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