Tense real estate market driving house prices up dramatically in Middletown

MIDDLETOWN – To the surprise of Connecticut realtors, the state’s housing market has exploded in the last quarter of 2020, despite unemployment and other financial woes caused by the coronavirus pandemic, and they expect that the trend continues well this year.

Fewer properties for sale have created a housing drought, says Debbie Huscher, who heads The Huscher real estate group by William Raveis at 48 Main Street, prompting dozens of potential buyers to bid tens of thousands of dollars above the asking price.

This was true for Gail, who requested that only her first name be used for this article. She sold her house on the shore last August and intended to buy a house closer to her daughter and grandchildren. She lives in a rental and, with her lease ending in a few weeks, her search has become more urgent, she said.

Gail found a home and made an offer that turned out to be the highest among the 30 to 40 people who had reviewed it in three days, she said. She immediately made an appointment for an inspector to come three days later.

Half an hour later, she got a call telling her that the owner wanted to know if she would give up the inspection, which was never discussed: “Everything to go faster, to have a quick sale at a high price. It’s stupidity, especially if you’re going to an older house, ”Gail said.

“Of course not, that would be ridiculous,” she told her broker. His offer was quickly canceled. “My broker was very upset, and so am I,” said Gail.

When the pandemic hit a year ago, Huscher and his colleagues didn’t expect the housing market to change so drastically, but soon learned that sales were very strong this summer and last fall, which Huscher attributed to the move of New York residents to Connecticut – specifically, Fairfield County.

“They are escaping the pandemic, looking to reassess their lives, to have a pool or a home office with more space,” she said. “The inventory is decreasing. “

This leaves sellers in a dilemma, Huscher said. “If they have a house where they can live with their family, they’re not going to sell because rentals are scarce, and where are they going to go?

Huscher has two clients looking for a four bedroom colonial house and not a single house in their price range can be found, she said: “If the price is right and it has the conditions , people will buy it. “

In such a competitive market, buyers pay cash. In fact, one of them was willing to pay $ 30,000 more than expected, without an inspection, she said.

In Middlesex County, sales in October 2020 were 36.8% higher than the same time the year before, and in November they were 72% higher, according to Massachusetts. The Warren group. Comparing the December months of the two years, there was an increase of 24.7 percent.

Huscher, which serves customers in Upper Middlesex County, also noted the steep drop in mortgage interest rates. One of her clients, she said, was able to lock in an interest rate of 1.8% on a 15-year loan.

In a “balanced market,” there are enough homes for sale for six months of inventory. That fell to around 1.8 months, Huscher said.

As for homebuyer Gail, she expects to pay more than market value.

“This is how it goes everywhere. It seems to be generalized, ”she said. “People are desperate to leave the cities. “

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