“Pivotal” 2013 Housing Market Brings High Expectations For 2014

“Pivotal” 2013 Housing Market Brings High Expectations For 2014

Improving. Strong. Energized. Pivotal. We asked a group of realtors and agency leaders across Connecticut to share a one word recap of the 2013 housing market and gathered together their insights. The consensus – 2013 was a year of change and growth that many hope will carry into the New Year.

“2013 showed a marked increase in sales and expectations,” according to Joel Grossman, sales manager of Calcagni in Wallingford. “2014 will continue the trend with increased sales in both our resale and new homes divisions. Both buyers and sellers will fare well as we expect interest rates to remain low,” he adds.

While Connecticut’s housing recovery has lagged behind much of the country, 2013 gains have the state’s housing market finishing with slow and steady growth.

The Warren Group, which collects data on the New England housing market, recently reported that Connecticut demonstrated a jump in sales growth and pricing for September – the best September since 2007. That momentum has given many realtors we’ve spoken with a brisk start to the fourth quarter and hope for the future.

PJ Louis, sales manager of the William Raveis office in Avon, expects 2014 to be better than 2013 as the economy and new construction numbers improve.

Tight Inventory Conditions Questionable for 2014
We’ve said it over and over again in 2013 – buyer traffic is outpacing seller traffic and tight inventory is boosting pricing. Both in Connecticut and nationally, inventory shortages have been a key marker of the housing recovery.

According to NARS Chief Economist Lawrence Yun’s Housing Marketing and Economic Outlook, in 2014 home pricing could either slow or accelerate – the housing starts will be the deciding factor. He adds that the industry needs to reach 1.5 million starts soon or face a persistent shortage that will impact pricing and affordability.

Staging Gives Sellers a Market Advantage in 2013
This year’s inventory shortages provided sellers with a market advantage in many areas and those sellers who staged their homes were able to leverage that advantage further and capture buyers. The year got off to a busy start and from January on PJ & Company worked on over 25 homes, with many selling in record time after staging.

Statistics released throughout the year also continued to support the benefits of staging. New figures from the Real Estate Staging Association and Staged Homes reinforced that if you want to sell, stage it first.

As the market evolves in 2014, we asked realtors why staging a home for sale will continue to be important in today’s real estate market.

“A home that is staged or as I like to say, “romanced”, stands out from the competition. There are many benefits to staging a home for sale besides exciting the agents in the community to show and sell. A staged house is memorable, a staged house is often “move-in” ready and perceived as a great value.”
Joel Grossman, Calcagni, Wallingford 

“For my sellers staging brings the most value in the shortest amount of market time over their competitors. Staging makes the home appealing to the largest variety of buyers.”
Lorraine Amaral, William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty, Danbury

“Today’s buyers demand clean, fresh, organized homes to become excited in their purchase process. Sellers who fall into distressed, tired home syndrome will be rejected by buyers unless very low priced. A home is either really exciting or boring! Anyone can list a home, not all can get it SOLD! A staged home is exciting!- Ruth Ratner, CT Properties/Keller Williams, Cheshire 

Hopeful for 2014
As we look ahead to 2014,the biggest hope for many is that the housing market will continue to recover to stable levels analysts will define as healthy. Ruth Ratner of CT Properties/Keller Williams shares with many in the industry hope for continued increases in listings and sales that will drive the market and allow buyers to find affordable, move-in ready homes.

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