HARTFORD, Conn. — To buy or not to buy? That’s the question many people face as they look at the possibility of owning their own home, but in Connecticut, owning a home is easier said than done.
Owning a home is usually seen as a sign of success; for many years, it was even deemed a pinnacle of the American Dream, but some people are now asking if they will ever be able to afford a house, especially in a state with so few homes on the market.
Paul Mizia and Meghan Kelly were living in Boston in March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic broke out. They moved to Connecticut to stay with Kelly's parents for a few weeks. Not surprisingly, those weeks turned into months, which turned into years.
The couple eventually started looking for their own home in the Constitution State, never imagining how long the process would take.
“We have put in offers on five or six; we have toured 20 and driven past probably 100,” the couple said.
A sad story that’s not surprising to local realtor Lisa Bowman. She said over the past five years, the state of real estate can be summed up in two ways: long timetables and lots of disappointment.
“You could call me, and I could show you 30 or 15 homes, and you could find something within a month, now, sometimes it's months or years for finding a house,” Bowman said.
She said this is due to high demand and low inventory of homes in Connecticut, which causes a hypercompetitive market for the few homes that are for sale.
But what does that mean for your dream home?
“It could go five, ten, twenty, forty, fifty thousand dollars over asking price,” Bowman said.
Mizia and Kelly said that’s what’s happening to them. They are getting beat out on multiple offers; so much rejection is taking an emotional toll.
“It’s hard because when you walk through a house, you envision what you will do to it and you spend time thinking, is this where I like to live, how do I see it looking, what plans we have,” she said. “Then you put in an offer, and it’s not accepted, so it’s hard because you don’t want an emotional attachment, but you have to be attached to buy the house.”
But after two years, the couple got their happy ending.
“There is only like three houses a year that go on sale so the fact we got one I feel like we won the lottery in that situation,” Kelly said.
If you have found yourself in their shoes, there may be some relief in the price range coming your way. Experts like mortgage lender Donald Valentas said a market cooldown is coming.
“It’s been a rollercoaster for the past year; from what we are hearing, rates should be trending down over the next six to twelve months,” Valentas said.
Keep in mind the competition will still be elevated; with lower rates comes even more people buying, meaning the house may be more affordable, but the demand to get it will certainly be higher.
Bowman said the best thing a potential home buyer can be is patient.
“People have to expand searches to other towns and look at their wants versus needs,” Bowman said.
Editor's Note: This article is part 2 of a 5-part series looking into Connecticut's housing crisis.
Read part 1, Connecticut's housing crisis: The big picture, here.
Brooke Griffin is a reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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