William Pitt-Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty Releases Annual 2023 Market Report
Finishing a year of reduced sales and inventory levels, the fourth quarter of 2023 served as a period of transition
STAMFORD, Conn., Jan. 4, 2024 A report detailing market results for the year 2023 in Fairfield, Litchfield and Hartford Counties and the Shoreline in Connecticut, the Berkshires in Massachusetts, and Westchester County, New York, has just been released by William Pitt-Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty, the company announced today.
With low inventory suppressing sales throughout 2023, the report noted that the year ended with closed units and dollar volume significantly decreased from the calendar year of 2022 across all markets. Yet the fourth quarter represented a period of transition. Just as new listings arriving on the market began to improve compared to the same time in 2022, single family unit closings and dollar volume also demonstrated notable improvement relative to the past several quarters. Throughout the year, declines in closed dollar volume tracked at lower and lower rates from quarter to quarter. Fairfield County, Conn., started the year with closed volume down by 37% in the first quarter compared to the same quarter the prior year, but that percentage lessened each quarter until the decrease was only 2% by the fourth. Most other counties also witnessed a gap in quarterly closed volume that continually narrowed over the course of the year. The report stated that this steady trajectory signifies the next quarter is likely to see sales growth instead of more declines.
With inventory plunging to historic lows in recent years, new listings taken improved in the fourth quarter versus the same time in 2022, an indication that total inventory will soon rise, and in turn help sales improve as the market loosens and buyers are presented with more options. Dollar volume in new listings taken increased by 6% in the fourth quarter in Westchester County, N.Y., versus the same time last year and 9.1% in Fairfield County. Mortgage rates have also been coming down, sliding to 6.61% by December 31, an indicator that the upward trend in new listings will continue into the new year.
Buyer demand, while not as high as it was during the pandemic years, given that buyers' purchasing power has been impacted by unfavorable conditions from high mortgage rates to high home prices, is persistently outplacing supply. The supply and demand imbalance has increased home sale prices, due not only to competition among buyers but also a shift in product mix sold, with more properties trading in higher ranges. Twelve-month median sale prices at the end of the fourth quarter rose in the counties of Westchester by 4%, Fairfield by 6%, New Haven by 5%, Middlesex by 7%, New London by 6%, Litchfield by 7%, Hartford by 10% and the Berkshires by 2%, compared to the same time last year.
In Westchester County, New York, unit sales and closed dollar volume for the full year fell behind last year by 24% and 22%, respectively, while in Fairfield County, Connecticut, unit sales were down for the year of 2023 by 25% and volume by 16% compared to the year of 2022. On the Connecticut Shoreline, New Haven County's annual sales fell behind last year by 22% in units and 18% in volume. Middlesex County's sales were down for the year by 20% in units and 14% in volume, and New London County's yearly sales declined by 18% in units and 13% in volume. Litchfield County saw units drop off by 24% and dollar volume by 22% for the full year, while in Hartford County, unit sales decreased by 20% and volume by 12% versus last year. In Berkshire County, Massachusetts, unit sales declined by 18% and dollar volume by 15% compared to 2022.
"Even if buyer demand has fallen, it is not in equilibrium with the supply of inventory. Homeowners who are considering selling can still realize maximum value for their properties due to the current supply and demand dynamics," said Paul Breunich, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of William Pitt-Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty. "We don't know how long this window of opportunity for sellers will last, but we do expect to approach a more normalized market next year, one more closely aligned with the market conditions prior to the pandemic."
The 2023 Year in Review Market Watch is available on the firm's website at williampitt.com.
About William Pitt - Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty
Founded in 1949, William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty and Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty manages a $5.8 billion portfolio with more than 1,100 sales associates in 27 brokerages spanning Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Westchester County, New York. The company is one of the largest Sotheby's International Realty(R) affiliates globally and the 35th-largest real estate company by sales volume in the United States. For more information, visit the website at williampitt.com.
Sotheby's International Realty's worldwide network includes 1,075 offices throughout 81 countries and territories on six continents.