Sales of single-family houses in Connecticut in February fell for the first time in more than year, but prices rose as the number of homes on the market continued to shrink, according to a new report today.
Sales fell by nearly 8 percent to 1,149 in February from 1,245 for the same month a year ago, according to The Warren Group, which tracks real estate trends in New England.
The median sale price — where half the sales are above, half below — rose more than 7 percent in February to $225,00, from $210,000 for the same month in 2012, Warren Group reported.
While the decline in sales was discouraging, Warren Group said the increase in prices was a positive sign for the market. Prices, Warren said, were pushed higher because house hunters had less choices and were willing to pay more if they found the right house, Warren said.
“With such low inventory, we’ve seen bidding wars — homes selling above the asking price,” Timothy M. Warren, Jr., Warren Group’s chief executive, said. “As prices rise, more sellers will begin to list their property which in turn pumps up the sales volume.”
Warren also noted that sales in February, 2012 were particularly strong for a winter month.
Single-family house sales fell in all counties except Litchfield County, where sales rose 4.2 percent in February compared with a year earlier. New London County registered deepest, year-over-year decline in February, plunging 31 percent.
Sales in Hartford County dropped 6.6 percent compared with February, 2012.
The median sale price rose in five of eight counties. The largest jump came in New Haven County where prices soared nearly 28 percent, to $209,175, from $163,500 a year ago. Hartford County saw a 5.7-percent increase in its median sale price, rising to $190,212, from $180,000 in February, 2012.
Look here for a county-by-county breakdown of sales, prices.
If more sellers list their properties, the spring market — traditionally the busiest of the year — could still be strong, Warren said.
Low mortgage rates remain a plus for home buyers. But Connecticut’s slow job growth still is making many potential buyers cautious about such a large purchase. The state is adding jobs but some economists have estimated that Connecticut’s job recovery from the last recession is just 40 percent to 60 percent of what the nation as a whole is experiencing.