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Fairfield Home Values Slip by $158K Since 2006

Home values all over Fairfield County have dropped continuously since the market peaked in 2006, according to the UConn School of Business's Center for Real Estate and Urban Economic Studies. Here's a 2012 'State of the Real Estate' in Fairfield County.

Much of the United States has been on a slow path to recovery following the "Great Recession," but recent real estate data reveal that Fairfield County home values have dropped continuously since 2006, when the market peaked.

According to the UConn School of Business’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Economic Studies, mid-tier* home values in 14 Fairfield County cities and towns have diminished by an average of nearly $250,000 since 2006.

Dr. John Glascock, director of the Center, blames the “severe downturn” in real estate on the national liquidity crisis, which led to the bankruptcy of large financial institutions like Lehman Brothers.

While some look back at the subprime mortgage crisis as a huge factor that lead to the Great Recession, Glascock said only 15 percent of the general economic calamity could be attributed to subprime mortgages.

Looking at the Fairfield County market, the town of Trumbull is the lone anomaly—its home values rose by a net increase of $20,000 between the first quarter to 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. The rest of the Fairfield County markets cited in the indices have seen, for the most part, quarter-to-quarter drops since 2007. Exceptions include a good quarter or few per town.  

Town

Last Increase in Mid-Tier Home Values

Bethel

2006 - Qtr 4

Danbury

2006 - Qtr 1

Darien

2011 - Qtr 1

Fairfield

2008 - Qtr 1

Greenwich

2010 - Qtr 4

Monroe

2011 - Qtr 3

New Canaan

2011 - Qtr 2

Newtown

2010 - Qtr 2

Norwalk

2011 - Qtr 1

Shelton

2011 - Qtr 4

Stamford

2010 - Qtr 4

Trumbull

2012 - Qtr 1

Westport

2011 - Qtr 2

Wilton

2011 - Qtr 1

[Editor’s Note: UConn’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Economic Studies produces and updates “constant quality” price indices for 69 towns in Connecticut, 14 of which represent markets in Fairfield County. The figures date back to 1999 and estimate the prices that homes with specific characteristics will sell for in a given quarter, thus neutralizing market demand and making it possible to compare year-to-year market information. See the bottom of the story for more data and charts.]

When Lehman Brothers failed, Glascock said, Real Estate Investment Trust Prices “dropped like a rock.” The dip in housing prices followed, along with climbing unemployment rates and a sour economy.

The combined liquidity crisis and high rate of unemployment contributed to the lasting housing downturn, Glascock said. “People will hold off on purchasing a home when there’s high unemployment.”

Local Real Estate Agents Weigh In

Local real estate agents agree. Cathy Masi, broker and president of , said that in 2009—the year when the national unemployment rate hit 10 percent and Connecticut’s hovered between 8 and 9 percent—“was a wasteland. Nothing was going on.”

Grim data aside, Glascock expects the market to begin to stabilize this year or next year. When that happens and prices start to creep up, “people will be rushing in to get the bottom price” on listed homes.

Taxes, particularly in Fairfield County, “make a big impact” on how the market will turn, according to William Raveis, founder, chairman, and CEO of , who operates out of a Raveis office in Southport.

“Taxes are killing everybody,” he said. “It’s almost too expensive to live here.”

Raveis thinks a true upturn won’t occur until 2013, partly due to tax rates acting as “ankle weights” on prospective buyers. He hopes new tax policies will help stabilize the state of real estate.

The state of the job market also plays a role in improving the markets. While Raveis cited the “huge opportunity” that the current market’s affordability factors—the depressed home prices and close-to-3-percent interest rates on mortgages—represent, he said only those prospective buyers who feel financially sound are jumping to buy.

“The only way buyers will seize opportunities will be if we can bring jobs to Connecticut,” Raveis said. 

Signs of Life in 2012 Spring Market

The early start of spring 2012, however, has shown some promising signs already. Raveis said the his company’s numbers for April look “pretty good.

They’re going north for the first time—there have been more transactions.”

Down in Greenwich, real estate agents at have seen a recent uptick in sales in that market, according to Managing Broker .

Agents in her office have been taking two to three prospective buyers out each day to look at homes in the area. In fact, just minutes before speaking with Patch, Anderson heard from one of her top agents, who said one of her buyers found their dream home. At the same time one of the real estate agent’s listings had an accepted offer.

“I think it’s really moving now…it feels like we’re here, we made it,” Anderson said. “We’re feeling very optimistic and excited bout the wave of the market.”

Up in Newtown, Cathy Masi said she’s seen multiple offers on listed homes, something that hasn’t occurred in recent years. Demand for homes hasn’t quite reached a level that would mean a rise in home values and prices, but we’re slowly heading toward a balanced market, she said, because sales activity is getting closer to the number of homes for sale.

“Buyers want to get on with their lives; sellers want to get on with their lives. That’s the trend I’ve been seeing,” Masi said.

Appendix

Comparing Quarter 1 to Quarter 1 from 2006 to 2012 (2012 Q1 numbers were just released earlier in April)

Year Bethel Danbury Darien Fairfield Greenwich Monroe New Canaan Newtown Norwalk Shelton Stamford Trumbull Westport Wilton   2006 $419,940 $372,764 $1,169,668 $559,908 $1,225,982 $478,195 $1,528,607 $472,665 $517,356 $510,164 $699,246 $492,563 $1,310,374 $898,833   2007 $419,940 $349,314 $1,126,463 $569,593 $1,163,741 $445,950 $1,468,065 $415,836 $496,935 $518,939 $676,137 $480,819 $1,320,192 $873,618   2008 $390,593 $322,863 $1,039,126 $570,570 $1,145,492 $439,624 $1,398,965 $378,852 $500,847 $492,331 $644,197 $394,882 $1,304,541 $856,939   2009 $357,300 $282,215 $878,361 $477,024 $952,343 $409,736 N/A $328,712 $400,757 $433,182 $547,279 $326,620 $1,081,408 N/A   2010 $320,296 $270,420 $851,357 $426,721 $942,268 $375,948 $1,181,401 $335,835 $392,016 $405,927 $541,092 $304,635 $1,013,565 $669,311   2011 $305,066 $242,899 $856,431 $415,810 $921,374 $364,489 $1,178,210 $327,825 $403,177 $388,693 $537,660 $270,216 $1,047,119 $676,393   2012 $278,470 $222,082 $796,603 $401,788 $905,918 $348,611 $995,549 $299,237 $321,980 $358,040 $512,703 $290,709 $933,288 $574,618   Net Increase/(Decrease) from Q1, 2006 to Q1, 2012 ($141,470) ($150,682) ($373,065) ($158,120) ($320,064) ($129,584) ($533,058) ($173,428) ($195,376) ($152,124) ($186,543) ($201,854) ($377,086) ($324,215) Ave Net Decrease: $244,047.79 Net Increase/(Decrease) from Q1, 2011 to Q1, 2012 ($26,596) ($20,817) ($59,828) ($14,022) ($15,456) ($15,878) ($182,661) ($28,588) ($81,197) ($30,653) ($24,957) $20,493 ($113,831) ($101,775) Ave Net Decrease: $49,697.57

 

*Mid-Tier: Mid-tier describes the characteristics of homes in the “middle” of each market—those homes that fall into the middle of the range of square footage, age, and price within a town. See the attached PDF for details for each market in the state.

– Michael Dinan contributed to this report.

cbear April 23, 2012 at 07:31 PM
DM, stop spewing falsehoods. The 3.8% tax is on the capital gains amount over and above the threshhold and would only effect those with $200K or moer in income. Who are you trying to scare with this nonsense? People are not stupid. Read it here. Get educated. Stop lying. http://www.snopes.com/politics/taxes/realestate.asp
DM April 23, 2012 at 08:50 PM
Lying!? I stated any gains. This is a new tax attached to Obamacare. Is that a lie too? Fairfield, Ct has its fair share of high income homeowners. Not claiming to be an accountant here. Would not rely on Snopes for tax advice either.
cbear April 24, 2012 at 05:08 PM
You implied all gains in any home sale. And you failed to mention that it only effects those with high incomes. That's misleading. There is a very good example in the snopes article of exactly how it works. You buy a home for $300K, you sell it for $850K. If you're single and making $200K or a couple making $250K, you can exclude up to $500K of profit from your principal residence from your income. So you pay 3.8% on $50K, which is $1,900. Not a huge tax burden on a wealthy couple making $250K. Those are the facts.
DM April 24, 2012 at 06:40 PM
This article is about home values eroding. My comment was about a new law that will hurt some homeowners further, and not help the housing market. Here is an article outlining more increases in taxes. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424053111904353504576567460396287134.html Its simple you cant tax your way to prosperity.
cbear April 24, 2012 at 07:10 PM
DM. And my comments were about your attempt to pretend that the Affordable Healthcare Act is responsible for making the housing market worse. Which is absurd. And by using the term "Obamacare" you subtly blame the President for yet another fiasco left behind by the corruption of the Bush era. How do you think all those rich people in Fairfield County got rich? Manipulating markets and cashing in. Now you want to complain about paying a few extra taxes. Poor little rich kids.
DM April 24, 2012 at 07:27 PM
Not a fan of Obama here. Your right about that. This bill is from the Democrats. Bush has not been in office for 3 years. The last 2 years he was in office the Dems controlled both houses. Its time to move on. Most people i know...the harder they work the luckier they are. Which corruption are you speaking about? Define rich? Who manipulated the markets?
cbear April 24, 2012 at 08:00 PM
Your article is dated 3/12/11. A little late to be beating a dead horse, isn't it? This is what I mean. Why can't a Republian have an honest conversation? It's all about obfuscation. Smoke and mirrors. You guys are so afraid of him that you're like kids on a playground. Thinking up ridiculous insults and accusations that make no sense. I don't need to define "corruption" for you. Or "rich". Or "manifulation of the markets". Of course the GOP MO is to take it's own weaknesses and make them the other guy's problem. More pretend. I can't wait for November! I never liked Ted Nugent...
cbear April 24, 2012 at 08:13 PM
Sorry. Had the date of the article wrong. it's 9/12/11. Still late to be beating a dead horse. Don't want to mislead anyone...
DM April 24, 2012 at 08:27 PM
The date of the article is a non issue. Your own article was sourced from 2010. Blaming Bush...talk about beating a dead horse. Ive made no insults. You called me a liar. Being "Rich" depends on who your talking too. Here in FFLD county 250k will not go as far as the Midwest or most other zip codes. Did not ask you to define corruption, just give examples of what you brought up. Who here manipulated the markets in FFLD county? I'm not insulting you, just trying to have an honest dialogue with you. Not a fan of celebrities endorsing politicians so much.
cbear April 25, 2012 at 12:36 AM
My article was timeless because it is fact. Your article talks about something that never happened. That's the difference. And I'm sorry but $200k is a lot of money compared to $50k or $100k no matter where you are. Let's compromise. You're not a liar. You right fiction.
mark April 25, 2012 at 11:35 AM
George Bush and the the banking regulaters ruin this country . It wil take a miracle at least 20 yrs. to correct the financial empire they built for themselves.
DM April 25, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Its nice to live a world of double standards. The article above is about "home values". Adding costs to owning a home, Never helped increase in value.
DM April 25, 2012 at 03:42 PM
Glass-Steagall was repealed by Clinton. Frank, Dodd didn't help much either. Nor did greedy lenders, or homeowners who took out huge 2nd mortgages to fund a lifestyle they really could not afford. No one put a gun to their head telling to take the money. Lot of blame to go around there. Bush too
cbear April 25, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Yeah, all those crazy people who got those second mortgages to put their kids through college should have known better. Crazy lifestyle, that college.
mark April 25, 2012 at 04:55 PM
DM Bush and his friends acted like Mr. potter
DM April 25, 2012 at 11:35 PM
Very noble to take out a 2nd mortgage to fund your kids studies. So are you suggesting its OK to take a loan out, and not have to pay it back!?
Creeky April 26, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Ffld Citizen, I'm not sure you've quite got that right either. The mill rate is relative, the assessments are not. Also incorrect is your assumption of this being an "everyone" issue, concerning the possibility of a class action lawsuit. There are a significant portion of properties that received unrealistic assessments, inconsistent with market values. There also may be grounds for a lawsuit, given that the model used ignored property sizes under a very high limit, causing property values generated to "normalize." Further, in many neighborhoods, there is evidence of tampering with the "factors" on the land value assessment line item of the property valuations, which isn't legitimate; otherwise equal lots should have no difference in their "factors." Also up for question, is Flatto's statements that he "selected a local firm, familiar with Fairfield's unique neighborhoods," when the selection process was by lowest bidder, indicating a 'last looks' approach to bidding, which is illegal. Since there are a large number of improperly valued properties, a class action suit may be appropriate, not for the purpose of appealing assessments, but as a punitive action to discourage unethical behavior, as has happened here. Regardless of accusations and conspiracy theories, the position of much of our elected leaders is that the assessment "was of low quality," and "Municipal Valuation Services will not be hired ever again."
Creeky April 26, 2012 at 12:32 AM
College didn't get so expensive until the federal government starting subsidizing tuition with guaranteed student loans, and other such approaches. Real estate didn't get so expensive until government starting subsidizing mortgages with PMI and other first-time home-buyer programs. Clinton pushed Fanny Mae to lower the standards for mortgage creditworthiness, as an affirmative action step in home ownership. Cast blame all you want, anywhere you care, it doesn't change the fact that good intentions do not fiscally sound economies make. The new healthcare law is good intentions too. But it is a financial nightmare. Note this: "You want us to go through 2,700 pages" of the law? asked Justice Antonin Scalia. "Is this not totally unrealistic ... to go through one by one and decide each one?" Congress has broken our system. They wrote a law so long, it can't be considered by a judge, or even the Supreme Court of the United States, in its entirety, on the question of constitutionality. Thus, the concept of checks and balances is gone. We don't have a republican problem or a democrat problem. The problem is that the parties have broken our government, and they are the only ones in place to fix it.
jay April 26, 2012 at 01:06 AM
Ffld citizen; Are you perchance a member of the Fairfield bureaucracy? You certainly qualify based on your obfuscation of the facts and total lack of understanding of the issue here. To clarify; The assessment process is bizarre and unrealistic because relative values are completely ignored in the town's antedeluvian mechanism - the beach properties, albeit fraught with danger from storms, etc. are being made to subsidize the rest of the town...
Brian April 26, 2012 at 10:08 AM
This episode (and others) may answer your question. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/money-power-wall-street/
R. Ludlowe April 26, 2012 at 11:53 AM
you wrong fiction
cbear April 26, 2012 at 02:18 PM
First, R. Ludlowe, you evidently didn't get my play on the word "right". Second, DM, I didn't say I took out a second mortgage to fund my kid's college. You not only mislead, you misinterpret. And how did you come to the conclusion that I was advocating not paying back a student loan or any loan for that matter? Again, you take huge leaps with your illogic. My point was that people didn't get second mortgages to fund lavish lifestyles. They did it for a lot of seemingly good reasons, at the time. Like educating their kids, making repairs and improvements to their biggest investment, or funding a small business, etc.
DM April 26, 2012 at 03:35 PM
Cbear my comments re 2nd mortgages was directed at "Mark" the posted above blaming Bush for the financial mess. My comments to him stands. You then jump in regarding 2nd mortgages to pay tuition. I could less how you or anyone spends their money. My point as you know was homeowners using their home as an ATM and not being able to pay it back. I was only talking about the people who didn't pay it back, and then blame someone else.
mark April 26, 2012 at 09:08 PM
let be known that the dems wanted minority home ownership until bush let the banking regulaters exploit these fine people as well as many parents who took out loans for college. Many lost their home because bush and friends allowed variable interest rates to sky rocket on hard working families. As for the rich who were up to their butts in mortgages these people were leveraging all their equity on purpose high gamblers and they lost. don't feeel sorry for them.
Stanley Simpleton April 27, 2012 at 04:06 PM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ-4gnNz0vc&feature=youtube_gdata_player
cbear April 28, 2012 at 11:53 AM
Stanley, this is a joke, right?
Creeky April 28, 2012 at 01:04 PM
cbear, The premise of wanting America to Fail is a false accusation, and some of the views are hyperbole, but, the bulk of it is true. Do keep in mind, I'm a strong environmentalist but, one with no illusions. The "clear smokestacks" did export the steel industry, which did untold damage to the economy, by exporting the industry. Look at Allentown, Detroit, Bridgeport. The environmental lobby, with Obama'a support, does wish to punish people into less oil consumption, by increasing taxation on oil. Of course, what if it works, but that spending platform is already in place? And there are other truly inconvenient truths, such as there not being an alternative to oil (solar a little, wind, not even a dent, there is no hydrogen mine, hydrogen is not a "resource," and even all the scientists whom fully support the concept of global warming or climate change admit that nothing people can do will reverse it). And my favorite of all, for the environmentalists whom still insist on emotional decision-making, is ignoring the fact that nuclear energy, is with out a doubt, the cleanest power we have, the only currently viable alternative to fossil fuels. And how have they handled it? Shutting down Yucca Mountain, which was proven to have no potential leaks, and once again, in the ultimate act of childish decision making, banged their fists and
Creeky April 28, 2012 at 01:10 PM
stamping their feet until they got their way, ignoring the whole picture, that all nuclear waste is now stored in temporary facilities at the plants themselves: a scenario far worse than any perceived one from Yucca Mountain. There are no simple solutions to our complex problem. And not always considering the alternative to each decision is why environmentalism is becoming a joke. So, go ahead and throw some money on greenpeace, and convince yourselves they are helping, while they attack the japanese for whaling, bitching about how it isn't scientific, when anyone whom had gone to the trouble to research it at all would know, in order to get the Japanese to sign, and reduce whaling, they ask to continue a tiny fraction for cultural reasons. Lacking any way to allow that the way the international ban was written, they used "scientific and research" reasons instead. But, of course, any compromise, to the environmentalists is a crucifixion of mother nature herself, and you should be tarred and feathered for considering it. There are no simple solutions to our complex problems. How did compromise, and reasonable progress with continued improvement become the enemy?
mark April 28, 2012 at 01:39 PM
Creeky My oldest son works in energy and does quite well. He has sold many wind farms.he has talk to Mr. t himself . I told him to tell the billionaire to go f--- himself because he's not about america or world he's about money. We as a country had the ability to change forty years ago, but theres to much money at stake.The powers won't let it happen.
Creeky April 28, 2012 at 02:02 PM
mark, We as a country had the ability to change to what? Are you referring to wind power? 40 years ago, it was subsidized by Federal dollars (our taxes, well yours, I was too young to pay them then). As soon as the subsidies dried up, so did the industry. Now, with 40 more years of airfoil design, wind mapping, AC inverter and vector drive technology, it still requires Federal and State subsidies to make wind power viable. Regardless, wind power is not a substitute for fossil or nuclear power. It isn't consistent, and there are limited numbers of locations that have enough wind to really work. Maybe, 10-15% of a power, at best, at best, at best. It isn't a replacement. Frankly, I'm just not sure how much I buy the whole "the powers" deal. The powers are lobbies and the democratic and republican parties. They are only as powerful as we let them be. Look at the town budget right now. Our debt is almost now equal to our whole budget, one of the highest in the state, and our government wants to increase reserves to shore up the credit rating, as a temporary solution, while still borrowing more. And are they cutting spending to come up with this band-aid solution? Nope. Raising it actually. But, most of the town really doesn't care. It isn't just the billionaires, everyone is just out for themselves, and the money, all with short term thinking, to heck with the long term consequences.

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