Home News SPECIAL REPORT: Wilton Real Estate Market Update — Is The Boom Now Bust?

SPECIAL REPORT: Wilton Real Estate Market Update — Is The Boom Now Bust?

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The property market boom that began early in the COVID-19 pandemic continued at a breakneck pace in Wilton as of the summer of 2022.

However, as summer trading ended, good morning wilton We take a closer look at how the Wilton real estate market, both residential and commercial, has fared this year and what some local experts are currently observing.

housing market

Main indicators

During the first three quarters of the year (January to September 2022), the Wilton single-family home market was characterized by low inventory and high prices. According to our analysis, SmartMLS data:

  • Inventory is low. There were 263 new listings for single-family homes, down nearly 30% from the 371 new listings for the same period in 2021.
  • The property moved very quickly. Single-family homes averaged 45 days (listing date to contract) in the market compared to 64 days in the same period in 2021, down 30%.
  • Prices soared sharply. Median single-family home prices rose significantly (+14%) from $935,000 in 2021 to $1,068,000 in 2022, with sales prices averaging 7% higher than list prices.

qualitative view

For insights on these market dynamics, visit GMW reached out to Tracy Armstrongreal estate agent Berkshire Hathaway Home ServiceWilton officeArmstrong has lived in Wilton for 23 years, 21 of them as a real estate agent.

She believes low inventory is an important part of the story.

“Since the pandemic began, we have been dealing with inventory shortages,” said Armstrong. “We had all this extra [inventory] And all the houses were no longer sitting [unsold]. Those who have been waiting [sell] Putting their house on the market, they sold it. ”

“Currently, our inventory is still very low,” said Armstrong.

In fact at the moment November 13thWilton had only 35 active listings (31 single-family homes and four condos), compared to pre-pandemic levels of more than 150 listings.

In addition to low inventories, rising interest rates have proven to be a key factor in the market. After four rate hikes federal reserve Mortgage interest rates have risen above 7% this year.

“We still have a very hot market. [inventory] A buyer is still being sought and the home is still for sale. But if interest rates rise, things change,” Armstrong said.

“There are people who have been discounted from the market,” Armstrong explained.

Potential buyers were dealing not only with price hikes from bidding wars, but also lower affordability due to higher mortgage rates.

These dynamics are especially difficult for first-time buyers, Armstrong said. Housing that was affordable to them last year may be out of reach now, given the double hit of rising interest rates on top of higher house prices this year.

Armstrong believes that building inventory will be key to bringing these buyers back into the market. She believes that many of them are “taking a break” from searching instead of giving up entirely.

“I think the buyers who lowered their prices are probably ready to go back to that once the market starts to stabilize,” she said. It has to be built.”

Armstrong’s view is that prices aren’t expected to fall sharply, aided by the current low inventories, but are more likely to “stabilize” from the heated bidding wars seen last month. .

“There are price cuts on some homes. [but] We’ve also seen some multiple offer situations — not as many, but they still happen. ”

Homes that offer something unique and special continue to fetch high prices, Armstrong said.

“Because of the charm, the character, the demand for a particular location, they tend to cost a little more than expected compared to some other homes,” Armstrong said of the same perceived value or turnkey terms. He said he may not have it.

More than seasonal changes

While we expect a seasonal slowdown as the summer market ends and the holiday season approaches, Armstrong is noticing another shift.

“I wouldn’t call it quiet,” said Armstrong. “It doesn’t mean nothing is happening, but it is definitely changing little by little and people are becoming more cautious.”

“The timing is now in the fourth quarter and it usually starts to boil down,” she said. I’m not in that much of a hurry.”

“As is often the case at this time of year, I think so too. [buyers] In particular, businesses that don’t have the means to pay cash or pay a significant down payment are a little more cautious,” Armstrong said. “Money is more expensive and people are getting a little more cautious.”

The prudence Armstrong sees isn’t just for buyers.

“There aren’t that many homes on the market, and part of that is the season. [but] I also think there are a lot of potential sellers who might want to sell their homes but don’t know where to go,” Armstrong continued. “The rental market is hot. There are people who want to move but are hesitant.”

commercial market

If ‘attention’ is the prevailing mood in the housing market, ‘redevelopment’ is the operative word on the commercial side.

The redevelopment of outdated office spaces into multi-family residential (or mixed-use) developments is one element of the commercial market that is currently generating a lot of buzz at Wilton.

For insights on the commercial real estate market, visit good morning wilton reached out to Jeff KaplanVice President of Investment Sales true commercial real estateA resident of Wilton since 2006, Kaplan has been active in many of Wilton’s projects. Wilton Heights approved project 300 Danbury Road Potential multifamily development 19 Cannon Road.

On track for change

Kaplan believes Wilton is poised to make a much needed change in the market for office, retail space and multifamily developments.

“Big picture? I think it’s Wilton. [commercial] The market is very well on its way to change,” Kaplan said. “It’s a long-needed change and it’s happening now.”

One “tipping point” Kaplan emphasized is the shift away from large corporate offices. This is a trend that started before the COVID-19 pandemic, but has accelerated rapidly since 2020.

“The office market is in decline and will continue to do so,” said Kaplan.

By some estimates, vacancy in Wilton’s offices has reached 50%, and several notable companies have left in recent months.Those departures include Tornalong-time tenants of Kymcoof river road. complex (already Considering redevelopment) was moved to Merit 7 complicated; Beiersdorfhas left its 46,000 square foot office at: 45 Danbury Roadfor the new headquarters of Stanford; and multiple tenants 20 Westport Road.in Wilton Woods Over 300,000 square feet of office complex. of empty space.

as preferred by employers ASML, blue buffalo When Melissa and Doug (The destination is 10 Westport Road Wilton Woods Complex) still has extra office space that is unlikely to be filled if it chooses to continue to be located here.

“oryou are huge and beautiful [properties] Kaplan gave several examples. “Owners of these properties are suffering. You can’t make money anymore if you own half-empty buildings.”

“These buildings can no longer survive in today’s economy,” said Kaplan.

reason for optimism

Despite this, Kaplan is optimistic about Wilton’s commercial market. Danbury StreetOr near the train station.

“Wilton has one thing that no other town around us has: Route 7. Wilton also has two train stations,” Kaplan said. “It sets the stage for tremendous opportunity for the town to thrive.”

“we please do not There are places where people live that are not single-family homes. ”

Kaplan said the town needs more types of housing and a wider resident base before it can support more retail stores and restaurants.Indeed, Wilton’s Conservation and development planning (POCD) and affordable housing plans At Wilton, we recognize the compelling need for more diverse and affordable housing types.

Kaplan emphasizes that Wilton is “extremely attractive” to today’s developers. But at first glance, Wilton’s inventory of commercial properties for sale appears to be even smaller than its residential inventory.

But the properties for sale tell only part of the story, says Kaplan. Much of the activity is ‘off-market’.

“Potential buyers approach property owners even if the property is not publicly for sale,” Kaplan said. “That ‘out of market’ market is very active. ”

In fact, the activity Kaplan sees leads Wilton to believe he’s “ready for a rebirth.” 141 Danbury Roadoriginal site of Melissa and Doug headquarters.

“I have a chance, [developers] You have to know how to navigate and that’s the developer’s role [141 Danbury Rd.] In terms of working with towns on acceptable setbacks, building heights and densities, 8-30g affordable legalsaid Kaplan.

“This shows that the town is ready and willing to work with developers,” he said. “I think we are at a critical stage of this rapid growth.”

He added, “Wilton is very attractive for commercial development and we believe it will come to pass.”

Adapting to changing needs

What do Kaplan’s comments reflect First Select Woman Lynn Vanderslice It has been telling residents that the time has come for redevelopment.

and editorial Vanderslice, published a year ago, explained why residents are watching Influx of applications for multi-family housing projects And she sparked an unprecedented level of developer interest.

“Demand for multifamily housing is strong, and there is a glut of commercial real estate,” writes Vanderslice. “One solution for owners of such buildings is to sell them to multifamily developers.”

The solution also benefits the town and taxpayers as the redevelopment improves property valuations and tax revenues.

Kaplan said GMW The model that has served Wilton for decades—large single-family homes with residents commuting to local offices—can no longer sustain the town.

Vanderslice explains: [next] A revaluation passes on related tax losses to other taxpayers, including resident taxpayers. ”

bullish, even bullish

While leading the economic development of the town, Director of Land Use and Urban Planning Michael WrinnVanderslice has been bullish on her prospects for commercial development for some time.

GMW I have spoken to Vanderslice about this Back in March, she hinted that she had many potential projects in her pipeline. GMW We reached out to Vanderslice again to see if the outlook has changed for the fourth quarter.

“I’m more bullish on commercial real estate than I was when we spoke in early March,” Vanderslice said in an email.

“ASML’s announcement of its intention to hire an additional 1,000 employees will have a significant positive impact,” she wrote. “ASML has already leased space across the building. 77 Danbury RoadIts expansion must continue. ”

She also felt that ASML’s expansion would benefit the Wilton housing market.

“With 1,000 employees, you need both a place to live and a place to work,” says Vanderslice.

she quoted Hartford Healthcare,place 60 Danbury Road, as another example of a company expanding its footprint in Wilton.She revealed the company was taking additional space 50 Danbury Road.

She and Michael Urin stressed that they continue to talk to a “significant number” of prospective businesses and property owners in their ongoing economic development efforts.

“We expect to see a significant amount of activity in the first half of 2023,” Vanderslice predicts.

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