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    Real Estate
    Monday, March 20, 2023

    Local Realtors Offer Predictions for the New Year

    Interest rates, inventory, the economy and stock market will be factors in the 2023 market

    By Gretchen A. Peck

    The turning of the final 2022 calendar page may inspire introspection about the year past and resolutions for the year ahead, maybe even a change of perspective. Perhaps 2023 will be the year when you lease a brand-new apartment or become a first-time homebuyer. Others may find 2023 is the opportune year to move to a bigger home to accommodate their growing families, or that it’s the right time to finally buy a home closer to the coast. Others may decide that it’s ideal to downsize now, to have a more manageable property that requires less upkeep.

    Regardless of the circumstances, anyone considering navigating the new year’s real estate market will appreciate the insight offered by local Realtors, who shared predictions and hopes for 2023.

    Sales Associate Kathleen Coleman, a Realtor with William Raveis’ Norwich office, offered a prediction: “No doubt, we’ll see an uptick in market activity once we settle into January. New listings and manageable mortgage rates will contribute to renewed real estate activity.”

    Predictably, the numerous 2022 interest rate hikes will still hold sway over the market.

    Berkshire Hathaway Realtor Elizabeth Johnstone said to expect interest rates and stock market performance to impact “affordability” in the new year.

    Realtor Elizabeth Johnstone—who is affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway’s Mystic brokerage and licensed in both Connecticut and Rhode Island—told Welcome Home, “I expect consolidation. Spring tends to increase inventory. Interest rates and the stock market may impact affordability at any given price point, as well as speculative activity in the market.”

    George and Heather Bassett—otherwise known as “Team Bassett” at RE/MAX Home Team in Uncasville—offered a few predictions of their own for the new year: “Coming into the new year, it will be easier to buy a house than during the peak of the market,” they remarked to Welcome Home by email. “Buyers will rarely waive inspections or pay over appraisal value going into this year, compared to the number of buyers doing those things in the height of the [recent] market. The competition of multiple offers will be less than it was before, allowing buyers to get a house at asking price—or less than asking, if the house does not have much activity on it. Buyers can still expect to be in a multiple-offer situation for certain houses, but it will be less frequent.”

    Located in Westerly’s Weekapaug community, the four-bedroom 3,381-square-foot 15 Knowles Ave., Westerly, is offered to the market for the first time in 60 years. Broker Lori Joyal, with Lila Delman Compass’s Watch Hill brokerage, is the listing agent. The seller is asking $4.495 million.

    That’s great news for prospective buyers. There’s good news for next year’s sellers, too, the Bassetts suggested. “Inventory is still low, which means that a seller’s house still has substantial value, but it will have to be priced right and show well to achieve multiple offers in the upcoming year,” the Bassetts predict. “Homes can no longer be priced like they were a year ago. Also, many homeowners refinanced when rates were low, and even they want to sell to ‘upgrade’ their house, they may not sell, because they know they will not achieve their current interest rate, which also keeps inventory low.”

    Brittany Auerbach Hebert—partner in the Auerbach Hebert Team at Berkshire Hathaway New England Properties’ Mystic brokerage—shared a hopeful perspective on the new year: “I still think there is a lot of opportunity for both buyers and sellers in New London County. We are hoping for a traditional spring market, so winter may be a good time to jump in on either side with lower inventory.”

    Homeowners who’d like to sell but weren’t able to capitalize on the 2021-2022 market may be wondering if they’ve “missed the boat,” or if they might be disadvantaged in the market ahead.

    William Pitt Sotheby’s Realtor Alice Piacenza reported that she’s starting to sense lessening anxiety among prospective sellers and buyers, who are planning to venture forth into the 2023 real estate market.

    “There is currently tremendous insecurity around real estate, and with obvious reasons: the looming interest rate, the impending recession and reasonable economic concern,” according to Alice Piacenza, a Realtor with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty’s Old Lyme brokerage. “However, I hear a subtext in the global and local conversation that suggests both buyers and sellers are easing their worries regarding their real estate assets. Deep in the dialogue is the question of when to act, not if. The distinction is apparent.”

    Home buyers may benefit from more time to search and consider their options in 2023.

    Liz Squillacote with the A Team at William Pitt Sotheby’s in Old Lyme explained, “I see the much-needed shift in the market as a good thing! I believe that in 2023, we will see the bidding wars dissipate, allowing buyers to have more time to make major home buying decisions.

    Built in 1895, the antique seven-bedroom shingle-style colonial at 26 Plant Street in Groton is on the market for $650,000. Brittany Auerbach Hebert and Cheryl Auerbach—the Auerbach Hebert Team at Berkshire Hathaway Home Services—are the seller’s agents. The asking price is $650,000.

    “While interest rates have increased, they are still historically low, according to Freddie Mac: ‘Between April 1971 and December 2022, 30-year fixed-rate mortgages averaged 7.76%.’ In my experience, there are still a good amount of home buyers looking for homes in southeastern Connecticut, while we continue to endure a low supply of inventory of homes for sale,” Squillacote observed. “Based on classic supply-and-demand economics, I think 2023 will be a good market for both buyers and sellers equally—and a break from the frantic fast-paced market we have experienced in the last two years.”

    Broker Lori Joyal is the sales manager at Lila Delman Compass’s brokerage in Watch Hill. She offered some new-year perspective: “2023 will be a great year for real estate. We are fortunate to live in a sought-after destination that escapes the purported doom and gloom surrounding real estate. Inventory is tight, and prices are stabilizing, and it’s a healthy mix for buyers and sellers. Here’s to a banner 2023!”

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