Home sales, prices fall
While prices and sales are off statewide, markets where there is variety are showing improvement in the number of days it takes to sell a house, he said.
For example, the median sales price for a single-family home in Bridgeport fell from $250,000 in the first half of 2007 to $201,000 in the first half of 2008. But it only took 118 days to sell a home in 2008, compared to 124 days in 2007.
Rosa said that's because Bridgeport has homes for sale in just about every price range, and people are snatching them up as bargains in a county where the median sales price is still more than $500,000.
In Danbury, the average number of days on the market for the first six months of 2008, according to the report, increased from 101 in 2007 to 137. In New Milford, the average number of days to sell a home increased from 138 to 166.
The number of sales made during this period also declined statewide. There were 10,882 single-family homes sold in Connecticut in the first half of this year, compared to 14,901 sold in the first half of 2007.
Sales in Danbury declined from 203 during the first half of 2007 to 152 during the same period this year, according to the Prudential report. In Newtown, total sales decreased from 171 to 113, while single-family home sales in Ridgefield dropped from 182 to 117.
Connecticut also had one of the highest rates of foreclosure in the nation entering this year, but it has dropped out of the top 10, according to RealtyTrac.com, which tracks foreclosures.
Besides the declining rate of foreclosures, Rosa said a number of positive trends are helping the state, including a decent job market.
Connecticut has added jobs during the last two months, while the nation has lost them.
Rosa said he believes new initiatives by Congress, including a federally backed program that will buy loans to help people avoid foreclosure, could help the state's real estate market but not immediately.
That's also what economists Todd Martin and Peter Gioia said.
Martin, of Fairfield-based Todd P. Martin Economic Services , said the initiates the
Martin agreed Connecticut, particularly Fairfield County, is still in decent shape and people are buying houses.
Gioia, a vice president and economist with the Connecticut Business & Industry Association, said congressional action takes a long time to take effect, and he doesn't expect the proposed measures to be different.
The Senate must still pass the measures, which include tax incentives for buying foreclosed properties and giving the U.S. Treasury and Federal Reserve authority to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, should the two mortgage backers fail.
But Gioia said what Congress is doing is helping investors in securities and lenders think a bottom is in sight.
That doesn't mean the market will rebound, he said, because lending standards will be tighter than they were during the boom. "The terms before were ridiculous," he said.
The standards will remain tight, and Gioia and Rosa said that will constrain prices and activity.
While Connecticut compared the first six months of activity, the National Association of Realtors reported figures for a single month compared to the same month a year ago.
Sales dropped 2.6 percent last month, to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.86 million units, the slowest sales pace since the first quarter of 1998, according to the association.
The downward slide in sales depressed prices, too. The median price for a home sold in June dropped to $215,100, down 6.1 percent from a year ago. That was the fifth-largest year-over-year price drop on record.
Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.
Contact Rob Varnon
at (203) 330-6216 or
Single family home prices for the first six months of 2008 vs. 2007 and percentage change, according to Prudential Connecticut Realty report. 2008 median price 2007 median price change Bethel $360,000 $380,000 -5.3 percent Bridgewater $685,000 $474,000 44.5 percent* Brookfield $432,500 $451,000 -4.1 percent Danbury $335,000 $363,000 -7.7 percent Newtown $475,000 $517,500 -33.9 percent New Fairfield $408,800 $415,000 -1.5 percent New Milford $342,500 $352,800 -2.9 percent Redding $677,500 $768,000 -11.8 percent Ridgefield $725,000 $770,000 -5.9 percent Roxbury $665,000 $1,050,000 -36.7 percent Washington$638,800 $737,500 -13.4 percent *Based on four homes sold