While the , the downward trend has not been as severe in Brookfield, which saw single-family home values diminish by just over $165,000 since the first quarter of 2006.
The study analyzing mid-tier home values in Connecticut since the housing crisis, conducted by the UConn School of Business Center for Real Estate, did not survey Brookfield real estate, however records kept by real estate firms William Pitt Sotheby’s and Coldwell Banker show average home prices dropping by $148,256 to $186,666, respectively.
In 2006, “When things were going crazy, we were wondering, how high can [home prices] go,” said Laura Cruger, , stating that a well maintained home would sell with hardly any advertising or time on the market. The average home sold for $492,295 as the market peaked.
“Now, in 2012, we’re really prepping those sellers to understand” the effort that goes into getting a home sold, Cruger said. When they do sell, they’ve gone for an average of $344,039, according to Sotheby’s records.
Coldwell Banker records show home values falling from a height of $443,333 on average for the first three months of 2006 down to an average of $256,667 in 2012.
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“Although the numbers look bleak, in fact we are seeing a rebound in interest and deposits being taken,” said.
With prices down, “affordability is at an all time high,” and, according to the National Association of Realtors, “the typical family has roughly double the income needed to purchase a median priced home,” she said.
According to Cruger, pending home sales year-to-date for 2012 are up 38 percent over the same period in 2011, showing that the market may be returning.
“Consumer confidence is up, prices have stabilized and interest rates are at an all time low,” she said, pointing out that the rate as of April 24 was 3.75 percent for a 30-year fixed mortgage. “If a home is priced competitively, it will sell pretty quickly.”
Mid-Market Sales Still Struggling
While the real estate market may have turned the corner, it is a different kind of market than it was six years ago.
“First time buyers are swarming into the market,” McCaffrey said, however many of those purchases are short sales, “meaning that the owners owe more on their mortgage than the house sells for.”
Those former homeowners are moving into rentals or back home while they reorganize their finances.
The result: “The low end and the high end are selling fairly well,” McCaffrey said, while “the middle of the market is still suffering.”
Coldwell commercial broker Hal Kurfehs, who is also the chairman of Brookfield’s Economic Development Commission (EDC), said that most of the new development he is seeing in Brookfield is for apartment and condominium complexes, rather than single-family housing developments.
Those who are buying single-family homes are largely buying older homes, he said.
On the high end of the market, “The more expensive homes — $800,000-plus — are starting to get some attention,” according to JoAnne Williams of in Brookfield.
Williams said the market really began to return “just in the past month,” and with home values down approximately 20 percent since 2006, “There are bargains to be had,” especially on the high end.
“20 percent off a million dollar house, that’s quite a bargain.”