It's a home seller's market in eastern Connecticut

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Both the number of single-family home sales and the days on the market were down for the second quarter of 2019 in New London and Windham counties, and the median sale price of $235,000 is the highest it's been since the third quarter of 2008, according to the latest numbers from the Eastern Connecticut Association of Realtors.

These numbers, ECAR CEO Susy Hurlbert said, indicate it's "definitely a seller's market."

But while single-family home sales in Windham County dropped 18.8 percent over the year, from 399 to 324, they dropped only 0.22 percent in New London County, from 906 to 904. Over the first quarter of 2018, the average number of days on the market dropped 21 percent in Windham County and almost 19 percent in New London County.

Hurlbert said maybe there's more contract work in New London County and noted people come and go more often with the Naval Submarine Base, whereas the numbers for Windham County are more in line with the continued housing shortage nationwide.

The drop in residential land sales doesn't paint a positive picture for increased housing stock in the future. Land sales dropped from 77 to 54 over the past year, with the median sale price dropping from $72,000 to $67,450.

"What I'm hearing about that is that builders don't want to take the risk to build spec houses, and buyers are typically not going to buy land," Hurlbert said. "It takes a unique buyer to want to buy land and build."

Elaborating on the lack of desire to purchase land, she said the cost "is too high to support the permitting and expenses involved with building, driving the price of a brand-new home higher than what the median buyer can afford."

Another takeaway Hurlbert had from the latest numbers is that multifamily homes "stood out as a very hot market again," and she reiterated her assessment that the condo market peaked last year.

Hurlbert also checked SmartMLS — the multiple listing service ECAR uses for its data — to see where buyers are moving from and where sellers are moving to.

She said for the second quarter, 74 percent of buyers and 79 percent of sellers in eastern Connecticut moved within the state. The next most popular place for people to move to was Florida.

e.moser@theday.com

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