What really happened in Westport's real estate market in 2010?

Buyers seem to believe that prices are still going down while sellers are sure prices are on their way up. Of course, without a crystal ball, no one can truly tell the future. However, based on a comparison of 2009 to 2010 sales, the market is certainly stable, with great values for buyers. Current values are estimated to be close to those in 2003. Anyone who purchased a home after 2003 who is selling now should expect to lose money on the sale side, but hopefully recoup the loss when they buy another home. Interest lending rates continue to be historically low and sellers have become more negotiable.

Presently, there are 224* houses on the market in Westport, with an average list price of $2.24 million and an average market time of 144 days (which doesn't mean much, since homes could have be re-listed and the market time than restarts at 0). The most expensive home listed for sale is priced at just under $25 million and located on Beachside Avenue, offering 4 acres, a 10,000-square-foot house, a two-bedroom guest house and a two-bedroom gate house, garage space for nine cars and 215 feet of direct waterfront access. The least expensive home on the market in Westport is priced at $274,900 on Crescent Park Road with three bedrooms, two baths in 1156-square-feet.

The average list price for a three-bedroom home is $976,271, a four-bedroom home is $1.7 million, and a five-bedroom or more home is $3.16 million. Interestingly though, over the last six months, the list and sold prices of those homes that actually sold in that period are dramatically lower. The average list/sold price of a three-bedroom home was $732,779/$697,267, a four-bedroom home was $1,336,718/$1,235,857 and for a five-bedroom or more home $2,506,363/$2,282,737. These figures suggest that many overpriced homes are not negotiating prices and are remaining on the market unsold.

In 2010, 350 homes have closed (sold) with an average market time of 102 days, an average list price of $1.55 million, and an average sales price of $1.45 million. The most expensive home sold in 2010 in Westport closed for $20 million. It is on Beachside Avenue on 6.62 acres, offering three building lots and 600 feet of direct waterfront property. The least expensive sale was $365,000, on Richmondville Avenue.

There are currently 39 homes that are considered "pending," which means contracts are executed and they are awaiting closure.

In 2009, 250 homes sold in Westport. Average market time was 128 days with an average list price of $1.55 million and an average sales price of $1.42 million. The most expensive home sold last year closed for $6.5 million on Sasco Creek Road and the least expensive home sold on Newtown Turnpike for $277,000.

The bottom line: the Westport market is alive.

Properties at all price points are selling when priced correctly. Our buyers in Westport are well educated. They know the market, and are not willing to overpay. The market will not allow you to underprice your home (the price will be bid up by savvy buyers), but the market will allow you to hold on to your overpriced listing for years. Price it right and be ready to negotiate.

*These statistics are based on the homes listed for sale through the Greater-Fairfield County Multiple Listing Service as of January 5, 2011.

Linda Skolnick, a Realtor with Prudential Connecticut Real Estate in Westport, can be reached by calling 246-0088 or through her website, www.GoAskLinda.com