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March 6, 2017 Focus: Residential Real Estate

Q&A: CT homebuyers looking for renovated properties this spring

Q&A talks to Carl Lantz, president of the Greater Hartford Association of Realtors and a member of RE/MAX Premier Realtors in West Hartford, about the upcoming spring homebuying season.

Q:  What is your projection for home sales in the coming months? Do you see spring being more for sellers or buyers?

A: Many areas in Greater Hartford have lower inventories, which would equate to a seller's market, but buyers that I've worked with are looking for homes that are renovated. We're seeing those listings go into multi-offers, while homes that need updating are sitting on the market until they hit an advantageous price.

Usually, inventory picks up with the spring market so I'm sure we will see buyers and sellers adjust. With that being said, I think there are and will be opportunities for both homebuyers and sellers this spring.

Q: How is Greater Hartford's real estate market compared to the rest of the state?

A: The Greater Hartford real estate market is on the rise. According to CTMLS numbers in Greater Hartford, closed sales and pending sales are up, while the number of new listings and sale prices are slightly lower. I think statewide is following that trend, with low inventory and stagnant prices, but demand for homes in good shape, or those homes that are priced well for their condition, is strong. Again, once the weather turns, I think we'll see more inventory and that should have an impact on sales and prices.

Q: There has been talk of eliminating the mortgage deduction on the federal level. Has this affected homebuyers at all? Do you get a sense people may not be buying homes because of it?

A: The housing market is still fragile, and removing the mortgage interest deduction could put it in further jeopardy. People looking to make an investment will still buy homes, but those on the fence may not, and certainly those who are hanging on the edge of affording a purchase would be effected. I believe the market would be negatively affected if the deduction is eliminated.

Q: Gov. Malloy has proposed cuts in state aid to lots of towns. How is this going to affect the residential real estate market?

A: I think tax increases are inevitable in most municipalities so I don't see this affecting the residential real estate market. In this day and age, buyers are much more educated, making them conscious of tax costs and I see the homebuyer really researching what they get for the dollar in each town. I hope municipalities will be held to a tough standard to make sure they are being financially prudent and doing the best they can with our tax dollars.

Q: What impact are Millennials having on the real estate market as they get older and seek houses? Are they buying more homes or are they still renting?

A: Millennials are seeing the value in ownership. More and more are diving in to purchase homes and condominiums. Many who have come from the rental market, like the lower responsibility of owning a condominium. They also really seem to be drawn to homes that are updated already and don't need work. 

The fact that they are buying is helping to push the market forward. That allows sellers to buy and afford a larger house, and that helps the market as a whole.

Q: How is the business of real estate changing?

A: Online presence has become even wider and more important. Nearly all buyers are looking online and there is a lot of information available about housing styles, prices and loans. Some of that information is inaccurate or misleading so it is important to talk to experts in the field.

While some people may think they can buy or sell using the internet on their own, once they get into the process and see the details and complexity involved, I think that buyers and sellers will quickly see the value in using a reputable, well qualified Realtor.

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