The CT zip codes where home prices have risen the most during COVID

In the two years since the start of the pandemic, the inventory of homes for sale in Connecticut has shrunk while prices have soared. A surge of interest in Connecticut’s real estate market has made already “desirable” places increasingly popular, and sometimes overlooked places have proliferated.

“Over the past month, I think I’ve listed about six properties – all six have generated over 10 offers each,” said Matthew Nuzie, a RE/MAX real estate agent based in Trumbull. “We’re probably seeing 50 showings, and you’re seeing more than 10% of those buyers making offers – maybe closer to 20%.”

Data from real estate listing company Zillow shows the Connecticut ZIP Codes that experienced the fastest average growth in typical home values ​​between January 2020 and January 2022.

The figures reflect a migration to the suburbs, a competitive market that encourages buyers to widen the geographical radius of their housing search and an overall change in lifestyle initiated by the pandemic.

Fairfield County Suburb

Average home values ​​increased the most in Fairfield County zip codes between 2020 and 2022.

This meant an average increase in home value of $323,115 across the five Greenwich ZIP codes, an increase of about 24%. Also topping the list of ZIP codes with the highest average monetary increase in home value are:

  • New Canaan (postal code 06840): increase of $358,189 (29.56%)
  • You’re welcome (postal code 06820): increase of $331,858 (25.3% increase)
  • Westport (Postal code 06880): increase of $327,344 (29.43%)
  • norwalk (postal code 06853): increase of $283,390 (26.67%)
  • Weston (postal code 06883): increase of $280,345 (38.49%)
  • Fairfield (postal code 06890): increase of $262,267 (32.02%)
  • Wilton (postal code 06897): increase of $217,538 (31.14%)

While the area has “always had a certain cachet,” says Brian Amen of Houlihan Lawrence’s Riverside office, the growth in home value follows the migration of movers from Manhattan to Connecticut during the pandemic. The first New Yorkers who rented in the area bought properties, and then other New York buyers were added to the mix as landlords sold their rental properties to capitalize on market momentum, Amen said.

Amen said the concentration of house hunters in Fairfield County and the resulting rise in home values ​​are linked to a change in lifestyle.

“They want to go out to Greenwich, Darien or New Canaan because they could afford those areas because of where they were before,” he said. “They wanted a single-family home, because as far as we knew the pandemic was a disease that was spreading among people, and they were working remotely. This allowed places like Westport that were quite remote – Weston, Easton and Wilton – to gain popularity because the commute to New York wasn’t as important.

These towns that are “on the I-95 line and on the train line” have seen home values ​​rise as more buyers flock to the areas because of the convenience they provide for the new hybrid work model introduced by the pandemic, as well as the lifestyle it offers compared to city living, Amen said.

“For New Canaan, Darien and Greenwich, it’s really about being able to come to town two to three days a week and being close to a low-tax area with great school districts,” said he declared.

Even places that were once considered too far from Manhattan for commuters are now within walking distance, according to Amen.

“People say, ‘Hey, I do it one or two days a week, I can handle it,'” he said.

Pat Prenderville, a real estate agent with William Pitt Sotheby’s International Westport Brokeragesaid the shift to a hybrid work model keeping people in suburban Fairfield County is here to stay.

“I see this more as a life-changing moment where, if someone was working in Manhattan five days a week and didn’t want to come all the way to Fairfield County, they would now – if they only had to go two days a week.They would rather have good schools, have our beaches, have our easy transport and our restaurants.

Prenderville said another major factor that sends buyers to the area is a lower tax rate than New York.

“I’ve seen a lot of buyers from Westchester, because if they only go to [to an office] part-time, and they are unable to fully offset the very high property taxes, why not be 20 minutes longer? ” she says.

Increased competition only serves to drive up prices, Nuzie said.

“There just aren’t enough houses,” he said. “There are far too many buyers and not enough homes for all buyers. When a house pops up, a ton of buyers flock there, and they make a bunch of offers, and then they go to the next house.

Some people who bought homes in early 2020 resold them in 2021 at a profit, Prenderville said. Other sellers are unloading their properties to become “moving buyers” after building up some equity in their homes over the past decade.

“These people bought their first home in 2006, 2007, or 2008, and because of the market crash, the home they bought hadn’t gone up in value enough for them to be able to afford, let’s say , a separate master suite or a pool or whatever,” Prenderville said. “COVID has changed a lot of things, but now they have the equity in the house, plus they’ve paid off the mortgage and now they want move to their permanent home.”

The northwest corner

Among the top 10 ZIP codes with the largest monetary increase in average home value are cities like Washington – where average home values ​​increased by $271,133 – and Roxbury, where they increased by an average of $228,758 , according to Zillow.

At the top of the list are the following destinations:

  • Canaan: Average increase of 58.45%
  • Torington: Average increase of 43%
  • Norfolk: Average increase of 41.7%
  • Litchfield and Salisbury: Average increase of 41%
  • Kent and Roxbury: Average increase of 40%

Bill Melnick, a listing agent with Elyse Harney Real Estate in Salisburysaid he was not surprised that the northwest corner had attracted such attention.

“I’ve always said, even before COVID, Litchfield County was the best kept secret because it’s so beautiful here,” he said. “Here is the real country: you have the impression of escaping, your population is smaller. And the building and zoning laws — and land trusts and preservation — really make it feel like the countryside.

Melnick said that while it largely caters to buyers looking for a second home, many movers have looked to the area to find their next property because of its isolation and amenities.

“A lot of these towns are very close to the last stops of the commuter train, and that was very appealing to a lot of people who didn’t know how long they were going to stay here when they had to go back to New York City,” said he declared.

Other attractive features of the area for buyers who have purchased a primary or secondary residence include lower taxes and an array of best public and private schoolslike Hotchkiss school, Salisbury School and Indian Mountain Schoolsaid Melnick.

“We have a lot more buyers than houses, so I think that’s going to keep prices higher,” he said. “It’s no longer unheard of here. Even if there is a slight reduction in price after inventory starts to increase, I think a lot of the value is here to stay.

Urban landscapes

Two of the state‘s largest cities have nearly doubled their average home values ​​in two years: Waterbury has seen an average nearly 50% increase in home values ​​across five of its ZIP codes: 06704, 06706, 06705, 06710 and 06708.

Bridgeport saw around 42% growth in average home values ​​in three of its ZIP codes: 06610, 06606 and 06608.

According to Sonya Nevins, broker and owner of Star Realty in Waterburybuyers flocked to the area because of its more affordable housing.

“A lot of people from out of state moved to Waterbury because we were one of the towns with the lowest price,” she said. “You get more for your money at Waterbury. When so many people started moving here, it created so much competition and drove up prices, and it still does.

Nevins said those out-of-state buyers came primarily from New York and Massachusetts. New York buyers are looking for homes within two hours of the city.

“If you’re in Waterbury, we’re about an hour and a half, maybe, from town,” she said. “So they can still work in New York and live here in Waterbury.”

Because Connecticut’s real estate market had “more or less stagnated” in terms of appreciation over the past 10 years, according to Nuzie, the market spawned by the pandemic has created a prime environment for home prices to rise in cities. like Waterbury and Bridgeport.

“There was definitely a pent-up demand for values ​​to increase exponentially in cities, because of where they started and values ​​went down,” he said. “The market was down and you could get great deals in the cities for a long time. They were just kind of ready for that appreciation.

Nuzie had clients who bought homes in March and June 2020 and sold them less than two years later for “more than 20-30% more, in some cases bringing in over $100,000,” he said. he declares.

On the other hand, people who already lived in Waterbury are being kicked out of their own town, Nevins said.

“People coming into the state, they get all the offers,” she said. “They are the ones who can afford it. First-time home buyers who live in Waterbury aren’t paid as well, they can’t afford to get into bidding wars with these people from out of state.

Connecticut’s current market has outgrown the ebbs and flows of the past, Prenderville said.

“It’s life changing,” she said. “Working from home is not something banks, mortgages or interest rates control. I think it’s a real new touchstone in the way people work. It is a more permanent thing than any other market condition or any once-in-a-lifetime event.

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