What really happened in Westport's real estate market in 2012?

Buyers finally seem to believe that prices are steady, while sellers are sure prices are on their way up. Of course, without a crystal ball, no one can truly tell the future.

But, based on a comparison of 2011 to 2012 sales, the market is certainly stronger than a year ago, with some great values still available for buyers.

Current prices 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, but the time period to receive a mortgage commitment from a bank is considerably longer than in the past, often taking a few months instead of a few weeks.

As of Jan. 15, the county's Multiple Listing Service showed 216 houses on the market in Westport, with an average list price of $1,318,909. In January of 2012 there were 293 homes on the market.

The most expensive home currently listed is priced at $27,500,000. It's on Beachside Avenue, is owned by two of Westport's most famous residents, offers 6.56 acres, an 8,716 square foot main house plus a free standing gym and 420 feet of direct waterfront access. It's been on the market since May 2012.

The least expensive home in Westport is listed for $360,000. It's on Crescent Park Road, with three bedrooms, two baths and a fireplace. The house is 1,152 square feet and its on a 0.12-acre lot.

In 2012, 361 homes were sold, with a median sales price of $1,205,000 and an average sales price of $1,401,041. Total sales volume for 2012 was $505,775,846. The most expensive home sold in 2012 in Westport closed for $5,250,000.

It is new construction on Minute Man Hill on 1.23 acre, offering 7,600 square feet, an in-ground pool and is walking distance from the beach.

The least expensive sale was a home on Hiawatha Lane for $308,000.

In 2011, 344 homes sold in Westport. With a median sales price of $1,085,625 and an average sales price of $1,338,230. Total sales volume for 2011 was $460,351,097.

The most expensive home sold in 2011 closed for $6,300,000 on Bluewater Hill Road. The one-acre property in the Blue Water Hill association featured sweeping views of the sound, a pool, a 7,500 square foot house and with tennis courts.

The least expensive sale in 2011 was on Crescent Park Road for $215,000

Typically, the most closings happen in May, June, July and August, and 2012 was no different. During May, 32 homes closed, 54 in June, 49 in July and 39 in August 39. But at year end, sales spiked again with 32 closings in November and 31 in December.

These stats are similar to 2011, when 42 sales closed in May, 54 in June, 36 in July 36, and 43 in August 43 In November and December, however, sales were not as high as 2012, at 18 and 19 respectively.

The bottom line is that the Westport Market is alive and kicking. Properties are selling fast when priced correctly. Buyers in Westport are well educated.

They know the market and are not willing to overpay. However, home sales are steadily increasing, and buyers will need to act faster this year than they have in the past few years.

Price your house right and be ready to negotiate. The market will not allow you to under-price 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.

Linda Skolnick's "Skolnick's Scoop" appears every other Friday. She is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Riverside in Westport and can be reached by calling 203-246-0088 or by through her website, www.GoAskLinda.com.