Real Estate Information Archive


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Essex History. My Serendipity.

by Michael Marsden

I recently met a new client from out of state on the internet. During our email communications this person shared with me that her family was rooted in Essex many years ago. I asked if I could share one of her remarkable stories on my blog and was given permission to do so. Below is the story of her grandfather, Ashley Young. I hope you enjoy it:


My grandfather's name was William Ashley Young. He was born in 1883. His mother moved him and his older siblings to New York, I believe in the 1890s. There is one story my grandfather liked to tell about one of his older brothers, Alexander. I find it hard to actually believe - but nevertheless. Apparently my great-uncle Alexander was a bit of a wild one when he was young. One night Uncle Alexander and a few of his co-horts decided to play a prank on the town of Essex. They got a hold of someone's outhouse, moved it and placed it on top of the Congregational Church steeple - on that hill at the head of Main Street. The people of Essex woke up the next morning to an outhouse on the top of the Congregational Church! According to my grandfather. It was shortly after that that my great-grandmother decided her children needed something different and moved them to the big city! Again, according to my grandfather.


My grandfather loved Essex, returned as often as he could and when he retired from his job in Manhattan, moved permanently to what had been his summer house in Westbrook. My parents were divorced when I was very young and my mother and I lived with my grandparents - so I grew up in Westbrook in their former summer house.


We just stopped off in Westbrook on our way back from New York. My grandparents and my mother are buried in Cypress Cemetery - on the Essex Road. We put wreaths on their graves.


3rd Quarter Statistics for the CT Shoreline and Lower CT River Valley

by Michael Marsden

The Shoreline and Lower CT River Valley First I apologize for taking so long in reporting our local statistics. You might say I am a victim of my own success. I've been really busy with closings, new contracts, many active buyers, and new listings which had to come first! That said there's great news about our market! Each time I compile our local numbers I am afraid of what I'll see. Each morning on the Today show and CNN the pundits talk about the Real Estate market, the lending crisis, and how this will affect us all. However, 3rd quarter 2007 when compared to 3rd quarter 2006 showed us screaming ahead in the number of closings by 28% with an increase of sales volume of 33%. These numbers are for single family homes in my 23 town service area on the Connecticut shoreline and the lower Connecticut River Valley. This is why we continually say that real estate is truly a local market. So how about what sellers are really getting? My stats show that sellers are getting between 90 % and 97% of asking price. The only exception I see is Lyme/Hadlyme at 86%. I mentioned last month that it might be that the average asking pricing is well into the 7 figures and there's more movement in price in the upper end than in the lower end. There were 510 new listings added to the inventory last month bringing out total single family home inventory to 1,587. I reported 2,227 in my podcast interview with Joe this month, but that was in error. 2,227 included condos, land, and multi-family listings too. Sorry about that. In closing, the absorption rate jumped from 7.5 to 10.5 months which is on par when looking back at 2006. The absorption rate is the number of months it would take to sell the entire inventory on hand if nothing was added during that time. Another way to look at it is this is the number of months it might take you to sell your home. However, good marketing, preparation, and proper pricing will sell a home way sooner. For example, I was able to bring over 12 prospects to an August listing in E Haddam in the $350K price range, a price point with tons of competitive listings, have put it under contract and will close October 30th. That's just 2 months!

Market Segment Statistics for CT Shoreline and Lower CT River Valley

by Michael Marsden

One of my subscribers asked me to do a market segment analysis which I am happy to do. Below is a grid that shows the number of closing and sales volume deltas from 2006 to 2007.

  No. of Closings Grid    
YTD 2006
YTD 2007
YTD Delta
YTD % Delta
$0-399K 1431 1654 223 15.58%
$400-599K 484 486 2 0.41%
$600-799K 184 205 21 11.41%
$800K-999K 71 87 16 22.54%
>$1M 89 91 2 2.25%



  Sales Volume      
YTD 2006
YTD 2007
YTD Delta
YTD % Delta
$0-399K 363,954,769 422,533,885 58,579,116 16.10%
$400-599K 231,017,659 233,025,700 2,008,041 0.87%
$600-799K 124,176,951 139,959,055 15,782,104 12.71%
$800K-999K 633,06,006 76,725,538 13,419,532 21.20%
>$1M 151,443,809 155,735,596 4,291,787 2.83%

September Statistics for the CT Shoreline and Lower CT River Valley

by Michael Marsden

The lazy vacation month of August surprised me as much as July’s report. The number of closings rose 17% when compared to August 2006 and we had a 37% increase in sales volume too! This trend is promising as when we looked at the first half of the year we were of 11% ahead in number of closings but we had a 5% loss in sales volume when compared to the previous year's first half.


When I keep hearing all the negative financial news regarding wall street, mortgages, and the like, I expect to see it reflected in our local numbers. We are lucky we are in an area of the country that is not as affected as those that seem to be driving the news. Too bad good news doesn't sell papers.


Anyway, good news for us here on the CT shoreline and lower CT river valley. The average sales price and median price of a home actually rose in 12 of the 23 markets we serve. Westbrook, Lyme, Salem, and Chester showed the sharpest rises in average sales price at about 20% on average, largely due to sales of newly constructed homes no doubt.


The absorption rate, the number of months that it would take to sell all existing inventory if nothing else came onto the market, or in other words, the amount of time one can expect to be on the market to sell a home is about 7.5 months. But every listing is its own special case. For instance, re-sale homes in move-in condition in good locations and priced smartly will sell quickly. New construction can expect to take all off that time unless its extremely desirable or unique. Those homes who are price too high and/or have deferred maintenance can expect to languish.


All of our markets but 1 showed that sellers got between 90 to 96% of asking price. Lyme was the only notable difference where sellers got only 85% asking price. As Lyme’s average listing price is over $1M its not surprising…there’s a lot of inventory there as well.


We’re finding that its still pretty easy to get someone into a great mortgage. Carl Bulgini of Fenwich Mortgage in Old Saybrook told me that conforming loans are still at great rates and it seems that jumbos are starting to settle down after the shake up. He has many creative ways to save our buyers and sellers money.


If the Federal Reserves steps up and lowers rates as expected, you can expect to see the market do even better in our area.

Displaying blog entries 1-4 of 4