Today's listing in the Courant is a reminder that the housing market is local and that national, regional, statewide or even town data are misleading, as well as scary, in the current market. I say "scary" because the macro data is much more depressing than some of the local data.
In West Hartford, for example, a popular town with an excellent tax base and convenient services, housing market data across the four zip codes are all over the place. Median prices are down year to year in three of the zips - by as much as 7.3% - but they are up 1.7% in zip code 06110. The median prices of condos are up in three of the zips - not the same three as above - and down 22% in the other. And over the past year, foreclosures are down in one zip code, level in another, and up in the other two, in one case a staggering 117% (a total number of 13 foreclosures, not inconsequential for one zip code).
Such inconsistent data can be confusing, and if I were moving to West Hartford, or any other town for
What role do foreclosure numbers play? In West Hartford, the zip code with a 117% increase in foreclosures saw only a modest decrease in sale prices (down 1.3%). In the zip code in which prices softened the most, 06107, the foreclosure rate dropped the most as well, and the median price of condos in that zip code increased by 158%. (Note: Some new, upscale condos skew the numbers, but if the developers can get those kinds of prices in this market, it implies something positive about that zip code's attractiveness.)
It is all quite confusing, but the bottom line here is that it is better to have information than not. And the best information is the most local.