August 17, 2005
By KENNETH R. GOSSELIN, Courant Staff Writer
Single-family home sales in Greater Hartford fell for the sixth
straight month in July, a further sign that the area's housing
market is cooling a bit from the torrid sales pace of the past
"The market is slowing," said Ronald F. Van Winkle,
a West Hartford economist. "It's not necessarily taking
a turn for the worse, but it's definitely slowing."
Despite slower sales, there is enough demand - and not an overabundance
of homes for sale - to keep pushing sales prices higher, though
not at the double-digit pace of the past few years.
Statistics for July from the Greater Hartford Association of
Closed sales of new and existing single-family homes fell 9.2
percent, to 1,151, from 1,267 for the same month in 2004. The
decline was the steepest since a 15.1 percent drop in April.
The median sales price rose 6.3 percent, to $255,000, from $239,900
for the same month a year earlier. The increase is more modest
than the double-digit increases in price appreciation in recent
New listings rose 3.6 percent, to 1,750, from 1,690 a year earlier.
Deposits, an indicator of potential future closed sales, increased
2.5 percent, to 1,151, from 1,193 a year earlier.
Jeff Arakelian, the association's chief executive, said the
slowdown in sales comes as little surprise because the area's
residential real estate market came off an exceptionally robust
year in 2004.
Closed sales rose 4.5 percent last year, compared with 2003.
For the first seven months of this year, closed sales are down
2.6 percent, compared with the same period in 2004.
"This is something that we've expected for some time," Arakelian
said. "The market is slower than it was, but we're still
at high levels."
The strong housing market in Greater Hartford, elsewhere in
Connecticut and across the country has been driven by mortgage
rates that have remained lower far longer than many economists
On Monday, the National Association of Realtors reported that
total existing-home sales rose 14.7 percent in the second quarter
in Connecticut, compared with the same period last year. In addition
to single-family homes, the national association's statistics
include condominiums and co-ops.
The numbers reported by the national association also represent
an annual rate on a seasonally adjusted basis. The annual rate
for a quarter represents what the total number of actual sales
for a year would be if the relative sales pace for that quarter
was maintained for four consecutive quarters.
The statistics from the Greater Hartford association are not
Although borrowing costs have risen in the past six weeks, the
average for a 30-year, fixed-rate home loan still remains below
Most economists expect the housing market in Connecticut to
slow as mortgage rates rise, but they do not expect values to
fall because construction has been constrained.
The number of single-family homes on the market rose just 2.8
percent in July, to 4,187, from 4,072 a year earlier. That stands
in contrast to other markets in the country, such as San Diego
and northern Virginia, where the number of homes for sale has
Arakelian said the increase in new listings and deposits shows
that there is clearly plenty of interest from buyers and sellers.
The average time that it took to sell a single-family home in
July rose only slightly, from 37 to 40 days.
That sales pace is still brisk, Arakelian said. A couple of
years ago, it took an average of 55 days to sell a home, he said.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
To view other stories on this topic, search the Hartford Courant Archives at