It’s been a rollercoaster few years for real estate, particularly here in the Northeast.
The pandemic brought a significant economic downtown, but paradoxically, it also brought real estate value increases. Fueled by low-interest rates and a move toward working from home, millions of people began buying up homes creating, in some areas, double-digit increases in real estate values and a dearth of available properties.
So what will 2023 bring, now that we’re seeing inflationary prices and rising interest rates intended to slow down consumer buying across the board? Nationally, experts say real estate prices will continue to drop as interest rates remain higher or keep going up. But the decreases will be a correction to values that were inflated, not a crash in real estate prices, they say.
In terms of Connecticut and local real estate markets, those forces haven’t brought much of a change in prices or demand, local experts say.
In West Hartford, the trend of homes selling quickly and above their asking prices continues unabated, says Paula Fahy Ostop, a Realtor and Team Leader at the Marshall + Ostop Team with William Raveis in West Hartford. That’s because there is still a low inventory of homes available in West Hartford and the town remains a popular option for families seeking excellent services and education options.
“The trend has been pretty consistent since the fall of 2019 when we started to see inventory decrease and buyer demand increase. Since 2020 our inventory decreased 16 percent and prices increased 23 percent. Mortgage rates hit historic lows which encouraged people to purchase a home instead of rent. Although mortgage rates have increased, our inventory continues to decrease. If a West Hartford home is properly prepared and priced for the market it will receive multiple offers. Even in down markets West Hartford maintained its real estate values. The town has so much to offer home buyers. Strong services, well-regarded public and private schools, a thriving entertainment district and endless options for recreation. It’s a special place.”
While online home sale sites are popular, the fluctuating real estate market makes it more important than ever for home buyers and sellers to seek out a qualified agent, Paula says.
“The market changes so quickly. Agents look at a lot of different data points when we’re working with clients,” she says.
For instance, she adds, when pricing a home she reviews data from comparable home sales in the region as well as appraisals for comparable properties. But Paula says she’ll also take into account the demand for this type of home in the local market and its competition.
Another benefit to working with a knowledgeable local realtor, she adds, is the value of networking that goes on between agents.
“We’re consistently working and talking with each other, sharing information about the local market. Having updated and accurate information is so important, especially now. And a local realtor knows what’s coming online and is familiar with the properties that are already out there, so we can let clients know right away when something hits the market.”
That knowledge base is especially important for first-time home buyers, she adds.
“I am often asked how first-time home buyers can compete in a sellers market. We have had great success with first-time homebuyers. There are many opportunities and strategies available to them, so they should not be discouraged.”
Paula Fahy Ostop, Marshall + Ostop Team
William Raveis Real Estate
125 LaSalle Road
On Facebook and Instagram: PaulaOstopRealtor
A local realtor knows what’s coming online and is familiar with the properties that are already out there, so we can let clients know right away. Paula Ostop