Single-family home sales declined in Darien, New Canaan and Westport in 2009, but gained ground in Norwalk.

Condo sales plunged in Norwalk and New Canaan, but rose in Westport. Darien has too few condo sales to track.

Average and median prices for houses and condos suffered a drop across the board. The upper end of the market was in free fall, but the $8,000 tax credit for first-time buyers contributed to more sales at the lower end of the market in some communities.

Westport

Sales of single-family homes were down 7.4 percent to 250 last year from 270 in 2008. The average price took a hit, falling 16.2 percent to $1,419,436, from $1,693,651, while the median fell 11.8 percent to $1,188,500, from $1.347 million, according to Gentry, who also supplied the Westport statistics.

Condo sales, jumping ahead, rose 43.8 percent to 23 from 16 in 2008. The average price fell 13.9 percent to $621,050 from $721,625, and the median slipped 10.7 percent to $690,000 from $772,500.

New Canaan

The number of sales of single-family homes in 2009 slipped 13.9 percent to 167 from 194 in 2008, according to Skip Sisson, whose New Canaan agency carries his name. The average price of a house tumbled 20.6 percent to $1,706,332 from $2,148,831 in 2008, and the median price fell 13.5 percent to $1,373,750 from $1,587,500.

"I am mildly positive about the market," said Sisson, who furnished many of the New Canaan statistics.

Condo sales numbered 30, compared with 34 the year before. The average price of a condo was $733,683 in 2009, compared with $869,225 in 2008, a drop of 15.6 percent. The median was a slightly higher $740,000, still down 11.9 percent from the $839,865 of a year earlier.

"The tax break for residential purchases should continue to help the market through April and the critical spring market, yet the outlook beyond that for 2010 is still difficult to evaluate," Gentry said. "Hopefully, the market will continue to stabilize and slowly get better."

Darien

Total single-family sales in Darien dipped 3.7 percent to 181 from 187 in 2008, but in 2007, there were 342. In the first quarter of 2009, sales were down 47 percent, according to Doug Werner, of William Pitt Sotheby's International Realty in Darien and Rowayton.

The most expensive house sold in Darien in 2009 was a new-construction "spec" home on Pear Tree Point, with water views and water access, that went for $5.1 million, according to Werner. In 2008, the top of the market was new construction right next door that sold for $6.75 million, both homes the work of builder Warrington Homes LLC in Darien.

The least-budget-busting home sold last year in Darien was a 936 square-foot, three-bedroom, 1.5-bath cottage on .12 acres that went for $150,000.

The average price of a house overall was down 7.7 percent to $1,438,555 last year, from $1,558,477 a year ago. The median price was $1.137 million in `09, compared with $1.335 million a year earlier, a drop of 14.8 percent. Nine houses sold above the $6 million mark in 2007 and two in 2008, but not one in 2009, according to Werner, who supplied many of the Darien statistics.

Norwalk

Single-family home sales rose 5.8 percent to 439 in `09, from 415 a year earlier, the lowest number of unit sales in a decade. The average price was down 21.9 percent to $529,423, from $677,703 in 2008. The median price fell 14.1 percent to $440,000, from $512,500, according to Bob Gentry, of William Raveis Real Estate in Norwalk.

"The bleeding has slowed, but the patient is still critical," said Gentry, who supplied the Norwalk statistics. "There were a significant number of distressed sales -- foreclosure sales, short sales, job-loss sales, etc., this past year."

Gentry said the most costly house went for $4.935 million, the most affordable for $105,000.

Rowayton, a special tax district in Norwalk, showed a 6 percent increase in single-family unit sales in 2009, moving up to 52 from 49, according to Werner, who supplied most of the Rowayton statistics.

The average price of a house sold in Rowayton fell 35 percent to $1.04 million last year, from $1,602,915 in `08, and the median dropped 33 percent to $940,000, from $1.4 million.