Connecticut home sales rose in May — for the first time in four months — and prices continued a steady march upward, a trend that is expected to extend through the summer, a new report today shows.
Sales of single-family houses rose nearly three percent, to 2,356 from 2,290 for the same month a year ago, according to the report from the Warren Group. Through the first five months of this year, sales are down about two percent.
The level of sales is the highest recorded for the month of May since 2010.
The median sale price — where half the sales are above, half below — jumped more than 8 percent, to $268,500, from $248,000 a year ago.
“We’re expecting home sales to continue to rise on a year-over-year basis this summer,” said Timothy M. Warren Jr., The Warren Group’s chief executive. “Median prices have increases for eight straight months and show no signs of slowing.”
In May, three of the state’s eight counties — Fairfield, Windham and Litchfield — saw an increase in both sales of single-family houses and the median price. One county, Tolland, saw a decline in both measures.
In Hartford County, sales in May fell 7.6 percent, to 562, from 608 for the same month a year ago. The median price rose 4.8 percent, to $224,450 from $214,250 in May, 2012.
An improved economy, higher consumer confidence and a tight inventory are contributing to the overall surge in median prices. But Warren said he is concerned about price increases getting too far ahead of sales, which could price too many potential buyers out of the market before a sustained housing recovery in the state is established.
“It’s concerning to see prices rise at this rapid rate,” Warren said. “Pent-up demand for homes from buyers who postponed their purchase plans is driving up prices. Consumers are rushing to buy before prices and interest rates get too high.”
Last week, the average 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage umped to 4.46 percent, from 3.93 percent a week earlier. The rate, as tracked by Freddie Mac, was at the highest level since July, 2011. The increase was the biggest jump since April, 1987.
The median sale price of single-family houses in Connecticut up 9 percent through May, compared with the same period last year. But Warren said he is not worried about a housing bubble forming “unless the rate accelerates and continues for another two years.”
The rise in the median does not necessarily mean that all home prices are rising, however. While there are bidding wars that are pushing up purchase prices, some properties are sitting and owners are reducing asking prices, agents say.