Sales Statistics of Historic Properties (Connecticut)

statisticsI decided today to look at some statistics.  Not always fun, but what the statistics tell us can be both interesting & useful.  I took a look at real estate sales of historic properties vs. modern properties — I was curious how historic properties do in competition with more modern houses in today’s market.  The following information is based on sales in most of the state of Connecticut, excluding only a few towns, mostly the ones closest to New York City (which would skew the numbers due to much higher price levels).70-polster-front-w-stone

 The samples I looked at were “historic” (anything built before 1900) versus “modern” (anything built after 1975).  The dates I chose were somewhat arbitrary, but they work for our purpose and also allowed me to deal with manageable number sets.  Some of my findings were surprising to me, and may also be to you.  I’d love to hear how these Connecticut stats might compare to other markets, so feel free to comment or e-mail me.  Okay, the numbers:

Number of Connecticut properties closed in 2008:
800  exactly (1899 or older)
6402               (1975 to present)

Average Days on Market(DOM) before they sold:
106 days (1899 or older)
86  days  (1975 to present)

Not surprising that historic houses took an average of 20 days longer to find a buyer.  I think any real estate agent who has marketed a historic property knows that the buyer pool is more limited, and in this down market, buyers often express more concerns about older homes, which may have higher maintenance costs and/or heating costs.

hall-hill-rd-international-4Average Sale Price:
$349,607 (1899 or older)
$390,775 (1975 to present)

Median Sale Price:
$235,000 (1899 or older)
$340,000 (1975 to present)

Wow . . . the Average Sale Price was  $40K lower, which isn’t entirely surprising, but I wasn’t expecting the Median Sale Price to be over $100,000 less!  However, I think a major factor in this particular statistic is that there are FAR more “urban” properties in the “historic” sample, since Connecticut has several cities with lots of pre-1900 stock.  And Connecticut’s cities have generally taken a much harder hit in property values, since the real estate decline has greatly impacted the demand for homes & investment properties in the inner-cities.  So I suspect that the “median” sale price is pulled-down dramatically by a lot of low-priced sales in urban areas such as Hartford, New Haven, Waterbury, Willimantic, etc.

Average Square Footage of the homes sold:
2042 (1899 or older)
2294 (1975 to present)

This surprised me a bit, as well.  I generally associate “historic” homes with lots of space.  Large Queen Anne Victorians, huge New England farmhouses, and the grand mansions of early industrial magnates, and so on.  However, the “McMansions” apparently win the battle of the bulge by about 250 square feet.

Much more after the jump . . .

Average Sale Price per Square Foot:
$159.57 (1899 or older)
$166.47 (1975 to present)

“They just don’t build ’em like this anymore,” but apparently the rarity & fine craftsmanship doesn’t make historic homes a more desirable commodity in buyers’ eyes — even with the smaller square footage helping the ratio with historic homes (see above)

Median Sale Price per Square Foot:
$130.35 (1899 or older)
$162.26 (1975 to present)

Obviously even more pronounced than the “average” Sale Price.

Average Sale Price  -to- List Price ratio:
93% (1899 or older)
96% (1975 to present)

So apparently, historic homeowners have to discount their sale price more than “modern” homeowners.  Or perhaps they ask too much, more often!  But I suspect it also has to do with inspection problems & more $$ concessions to buyers to fix “old house problems.”

While I was at it, I also was curious to see how historic properties are faring so far in 2009:

ctTotal Properties on the Market Today (in my sample of Connecticut):
1116 (1899 or older)
6596 (1975-present)

# of those Properties currently Under Deposit/Contract to Buy:
157 – or 14.1% (1899 or older)
913 – or 13.8% (1975 to present)

WOW.    So . . . at least percentage-wise . . . more historic homes are currently under contract/deposit than their newer counterparts.  Obviously, the difference is miniscule, but I honestly expected there to be noticably less historic houses selling due to the rough marketplace.

Average Days on Market (DOM) of CT properties currently under contract in 2009:     
107 (1899 or older)
97  (1975 to present)

Again, not terribly surprising that historic homes took 10 extra days to sell.  Yet, it is notable that the average Days on Market jumps quite dramatically to 124 for houses built in 1860 or before— the true pre-Civil-War “post & beam” homes).  So are the older, more “rustic” houses even more difficult to sell?  I’d love to hear your thoughts on the historic homes market in your area.

1 Comment

  1. by Laura Mahon, on 02.19.09 @ 9:48 AM


    Hi Michael – I just had to comment -this was a great post. In fact I have an RSS feed to my google homepage and have been enjoying your blog tremendously. You’ve always got great topics! I see that you’ve sold your house. Are you taking on another historic property? This is certainly the time to get a deal on one.

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