Coastal condos are easy, breezy
Condominiums have always had broad appeal. They have attractive value propositions for first-time homebuyers, downsizers, retirees, singles and small families, and investors, alike. In southeastern Connecticut, condominiums in communities that are walkable and have in-complex and town amenities, are drawing buyers from all across the country to our slice of New England coastline.
Ann Carpenter is a Realtor with One and Company at William Raveis Real Estate in Niantic. She's experienced how the condominium market has been challenged by low inventory and buyers who are have to be particularly competitive and strategic with their offers. As a seller's agent, she anticipates multiple bids; it's the new normal.
Carpenter is the listing agent for 400 Bank Street, Apt. 106 at Shaw's Landing in New London — a two-bedroom, 1,567-square-foot condominium, currently listed for $285,500.
"This unit is a must-see," Carpenter said. "It's one of the first condos I have seen that has a private fenced-in yard and water views on top of that. If you have a pet, it's perfect. There is a gate on one side that allows you to go right out to the common area, which leads to a sidewalk along the river."
The seller has made a number of improvements to the home. Originally, it had three bedrooms, but they reconfigured the floor plan, dropped a bedroom and reclaimed the space for the main living area. In the primary suite's bathroom, they took out a tub and built a tiled shower.
"This first-floor unit has great water views, and it is on the water side, with no buildings in front of it," Carpenter explained.
The complex's gym and media room are mere steps away.
"The unit comes with two parking spots — one in the garage," she added.
Prepping for market debuts
Broker Judi Caracausa of Market Realty in Mystic knows the condominium market inside and out. She not only helps condo owners list and sell their units in Mystic and Stonington, she herself is a condo resident. She recently settled into a home at "the Power House," a building she's known since the 1980s, when she began selling units there. There are currently no other condos available for sale there, but in recent months, two units have been sold — one for $619,000 and $879,000 for the other, she said.
When The Day spoke with Caracausa in early December, she was prepping another condominium she owns for its market debut in January 2022. It's an end-unit townhouse in Mystic Run, a 55+ community. She'll introduce it to the market in "mint, move-in condition." This home has three bedrooms, formal living and dining rooms, approximately 2,600 square feet of living space, a full finished basement, an attached garage and a private deck.
For condo owners who may be considering selling their units during the dynamic spring market, the broker recommends prepping now, especially if they need to make any improvements to the property — significant improvements, like renovating kitchens or baths, or little details, like brightening the décor with fresh coats of paint.
"You'll also want to get a good evaluation of the market and begin talks with your real estate agent," she advised, adding that the spring market kicks off in March.
"Realistically, real estate doesn't sleep. It's 24/7. There are always buyers out there," Caracausa said. "I always say, if a property is priced right, if it's marketed right, and there's nothing structurally wrong, it will sell and in a short amount time, but I do expect a very busy spring market."
Area condos remain popular with buyers who plan to be full-time residents or seasonal second-home owners. "It's an extremely desirable market, but also an extremely tight market," Caracausa said. "Buyers are looking for anything walkable, especially in downtown Mystic, where units are rare."
Buyer preferences today also lean to one-level living, and condos in communities for residents over the age of 55 are particularly in demand, she said.
Caracausa noted that condo buyers aren't just locals who already know the value proposition of living in Mystic or Stonington. She knows of buyers who came all the way from New York, Arizona, Texas and the Carolinas to establish homes in these quintessential New England coastal communities.