is, as an American philosopher once said, a-changing. And for anyone looking to buy a house, it couldn’t be better.
“It is a great time to invest,” said Marilyn Lusher, owner of . “There are a lot of good deals, and the interest rates are low.”
In the last six months, the vast majority of home sales in New London County have been $300,000 and less, with the most common sale between $150,000 and $200,000, according to a chart of county home sales. The market has changed, from the classic four-bedroom, two-and-a-half bathroom Colonial to starter homes and smaller homes, Lusher said.
“With the economy the way it is, people are realizing that they don’t need that big of a house,” she said. “So smaller houses are selling better.”
The high-end market, particularly when it is waterfront property, has largely stayed intact, Lusher said. The people who can afford that type of house always have the money, she said.
The market where the supply is largest, and the demand is the least, is houses between $350,000 and $450,000, with three-plus bedroom and two or more bathrooms, she said. A quick search on her computer showed dozens of those homes on the market, many for more than 100 days.
“Every house will sell,” Lusher said. “It just has to be at the right price.”
What is booming is the low-end market. A younger generation, aged 25 to 30, is more likely buy a home, as those under $200,000 are becoming more plentiful and more desired, she said.
“I see younger people live at home a few years, and then put a big down payment on a house,” she said. “It’s becoming more common for people to save and then buy a home rather than rent.”
Real Estate Market
With the market changing, real estate companies that embraced the change are still doing well, while others who relied on the old formula are slower, Lusher said. At REMAX/Waterford, she had her Realtors get certifications in short sales and dealing with bank-owned properties, as those were becoming more common with the high rate of foreclosures, she said.
“The agents who have embraced that business are doing business today,” she said. “And we do it very well, so we have stayed busy.”
With Waterford having low taxes and a strong school system, it has always been appealing to homebuyers, Lusher said. People can “buy more house” and have the same monthly payments as a home in East Lyme or particularly Salem, where taxes are much higher, she said.
Home construction has heated up in town this year, as opposed to the very slow , said Waterford Head Building Official Frank Hoagland. Also, commercial work has been very busy, he said.
“It's substantially improved,” he said.
How To Sell A Home
With so many homes on the market, especially in the $350,000 to $450,000 market, the home has to be “the best looking at the best price,” Lusher said.
One thing some people don’t do that makes a huge difference is to clean the house before putting it on the market, she said. A fresh coat of paint also makes a huge difference, she said.
The furniture inside also matters, even though it doesn’t come with the house, she said. As an example, she showed a home with furniture that looked of an older generation, and said that alone would make it a tough sell for a younger family, she said.
If somebody is looking for a home within the $350,000 to $450,000 range, it is the perfect time to buy, Lusher said. The competition is fierce, and the deals are probably going to be the best they ever will be, she said.
“Some people think the market is going to tail off more, but I tell them you are going to buy the same house a year from now at the same price,” Lusher said. “Why wait?”
Property Sales In Waterford, By The Numbers
Total Properties Sold In 2011, as of November: 198
Average Price: $247,090
Median Price: $209,520
Total Properties Sold in 2010: 195
Average Price: $262,918
Median Price: $225,000