Bethel Home Values Fall 3.3 Percent in Q2

In the second quarter, the value of a "mid-tier" single-family home in Bethel fell 3.3 percent—still far better than many surrounding towns, analysts say.


According to new data from the School of Business’s Center for Real Estate and Urban Economic Studies, the value of a single-family home in Bethel fell 3.3 percent in the second quarter of 2012.

The year-over-year decline—from $282,334 to $273,100 for a so-called “mid-tier” home—continues , which hasn't seen an increase in home values since the fourth quarter of 2006, according to the UConn center.

The center defines a “mid-tier” home in Bethel as 30 years old and with 1,592 square feet. Each quarter, the center produces “constant quality indices” that track the changing value of homes in Connecticut towns by minimizing variables such as inflation and seasonality, as well as the effect a low-volume sales quarter has on average prices.

Bethel’s decline is not unusual for Fairfield County.

Among 18 towns in the county whose data is tracked by the center, just five municipalities—Bridgeport, Darien, Greenwich, Stamford and Trumbull—saw single-family home values increase


Use the search form above to track the change in estimated values of a mid-range home quarter by quarter since 2000. Interested in all things Bethel? Join us to discuss town matters with your neighbors, rate local businesses, and "like" us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!


year-over-year for Q2. On average, the value of single-family homes in those 18 towns fell 4.8 percent from 2011 to 2012 in the second quarter, according to the center.

Join a local conversation on real estate value: A , and each story includes a narrative summary of second quarter data.

Bill Hillman July 30, 2012 at 11:50 AM
So we completed the high school, got NEASC accreditation, have real measurable improvements in our schools, have invested in the school budget at a rate twice or more than inflation and have been told great schools = better real estate values. Unless the study can prove the rate of decline has been less steep than similar towns not making these investments, then common "wisdom" does not add up. A related article has this quote: "Taxes, particularly in Fairfield County, “make a big impact” on how the market will turn, according to William Raveis, founder, chairman, and CEO of William Raveis Real Estate, Mortgage & Insurance, who operates out of a Raveis office in Southport. “Taxes are killing everybody,” he said. “It’s almost too expensive to live here.”" So where's the balance between "great schools" and no one can afford the taxes? For now the market is saying, "costs too much". It would be interesting if UCONN has a study to relate these housing numbers to per pupil expenditures. This study is a bit hopeful at least; we seem to be dropping less than many other towns. http://bethel.patch.com/articles/fairfield-co-home-values-fall-48
--- July 30, 2012 at 02:01 PM
My House: Built in 1961, 1832 sq. ft, and I fear it will be my family's financial tomb. Yay, Hope and Change 2008.
Crusader Rabbit July 30, 2012 at 04:15 PM
You haven't paid off the mortgage in 50 years?
--- July 30, 2012 at 04:24 PM
@Crusader, Of course not. I'm a liberal. You can pay for my mortgage. And if you try to foreclose on me, I'll scream racism/homophobia.Islamaphobia or some other convenient victim-status.
Bill Hillman July 30, 2012 at 09:29 PM
was actually hoping for a real discussion on increased school expenditures helping property values vs high taxes depressing property values and the balance we seem to have missed.
Crusader Rabbit July 30, 2012 at 11:25 PM
I think the lower than average drop is due to: - the improved school system - Bethel was already relatively low priced compared to area towns. Two of the four towns that had an increase in price are at the top of the market and immune to a certain degree to fluctuations in the economy. (Even in the great depression Millionaires lived in mansions, Tiffany sold diamonds and Rolls-Royce sold cars.) I can't explain the drop in Westport. Bridgeport was already the bottom. I think Stamford (the parts that already were not) undergoing some gentrification and is viewed as a bargain compared to Darien, Greenwich and New Canaan for NYC commuters.
Bill Hillman July 30, 2012 at 11:48 PM
I do know that the White Plains area (similar priced homes when I moved here in some neighborhoods 250k or so) are now typically around 450k+, whereas my area is in the low 300's. We haven't fared so well. Last year I asked for the budget to increase no more than inflation. That argument failed. So again, where's the balance? Can we maintain a decent school system and not exceed inflation on budget increases? I'm certain this over inflation budget increase is hurting more than the net benefit in the schools for the money... but don't have empirical data to back that up (yet)
Meredith B July 31, 2012 at 05:10 PM
@Bill Hillman, there's lots of data about improved school systems leading to improved real estate. I think our investments in school are smart for the long-term. However, even with our education improvements our HS ranks #41 in the state on schooldigger and our district doesn't even have a ranking. We show up "unranked" on US News & World Report. These are tools buyers use when evaluating districts to move into. Until we are in a position to market our achievements outside our community, I wouldn't expect we see a huge change in home prices. I do think that the improvements in our school system have contributed to our prices dropping less than other towns.
Barbara Benzinger July 31, 2012 at 08:06 PM
When you can purchase a home in neighboring Towns (i.e. Brookfield) for the same or lesser amounts than Bethel and pay less taxes what is the draw for Bethel? I purchased my home four years ago; have seen a dramatic decrease in its value and a increase of over $300 per month in my taxes. In this economy people certainly take that into consideration. A couple hundred dollars a month difference is huge. Keep raising the taxes in Bethel. Build huge Police Departments and Libraries and see where it gets us. We will soon look like Detroit.
Bill Hillman July 31, 2012 at 08:11 PM
@Meridith, good observations. What I'm really getting at may be more like an optimization problem, correlating investment vs returns. We do need to improve marketing, and I agree there have been real improvements. But, we have schools that I think rank better than Danbury, and Danbury values dropped less than Bethel. So I'm still not getting a great feel for the correlations
Jimmy Pursey July 31, 2012 at 08:53 PM
But "victimization" is all you people have, Donny.
Sue Polaski July 31, 2012 at 09:05 PM
So you are advocating increasing school spending more twice the rate of inflation? What we have done isn't enough? That's lunacy! I'd say our achievements are marketable. But there is a segment of our town that whatever restraint is asked for in spending is seen as an attack "on the kids". I bet our taxes are having a huge affect on marketing!
--- July 31, 2012 at 09:15 PM
Oh, Jimmy....victimization is a Democrat talking point and campaign platform. As a Conservative Constitutionalist, I am not capable of being a victim, although I do like to play one now and again, as evidenced by the above "liberal" comment! LOL! Thanks for stalking me here, Jimmy!
Bill Hillman July 31, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Sue, for my part, I want to start cutting back with the budget increases no more than inflation, as I think the tax increases are hurting now more than the improvements in the school are helping. Also, with many of us getting raises far less than inflation (if at all or even keeping a job), I don't think the public employees should get more than the public, even if its deserved.
Sue Polaski July 31, 2012 at 10:28 PM
Oops Bill, I was asking Meredith. Sorry I forgot to address her in my response. I didn't mean for it to sound like I was questioning you.
Bill Hillman July 31, 2012 at 10:55 PM
@Sue, question all you want, I put my thoughts out there. Some agree, some disagree.
Jimmy Pursey August 01, 2012 at 05:48 PM
"Conservatives are still mad about the New Deal, even though it worked to pull the country out of the Great Depression. They're still miffed about women suffrage, the Civil Rights Act and Roe v. Wade. In fact any movement forward giving more people more rights and greater acceptance is a point of contention with conservatives. Gay rights is framed as Christians losing their rights to vilify whomever they want. Women not being forced to pay for birth control out-of-pocket is the government restricting the freedom of religion institutions to dictate policy to the government. Conservatives in the current incarnation of the Republican Party think rights are a zero sum game. If one group gains acceptance, it means another falls out of favor. The cornerstone of trickle down economics is that a rising tide raises all boats — but not when it comes to social change in the right-wing mindset." Health care and the Republican victim mentality http://www.dailyworld.com/article/20120710/OPINION/207100302/Health-care-Republican-victim-mentality
Jimmy Pursey August 01, 2012 at 05:55 PM
"But if conservatives hate victimhood so much, why then does the Republican Party encourage its base to feel so aggrieved, especially at the hands of those snotty "elites"? Whether it's complaining about lipstick on a pig or bashing Washington insiders, the media and those oh-so-condescending Hollywood celebrities, Republicans have turned their own kind of victimhood into a political art form." "In fairness, Republicans didn't invent victim politics, nor do they have the franchise on it. But the form they engage in is particularly troublesome, not least because so many conservatives seem not to even realize they're up to their eyebrows in a game they claim to despise." The GOP as victim http://articles.latimes.com/2008/sep/15/news/OE-RODRIGUEZ15
Sue Polaski August 01, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Thanks Bill. I'm still waiting on Meredith's answer though.Oh well.
Meredith B August 03, 2012 at 01:34 AM
Sorry Sue! I wasn't advocating a specific level of school spending vs. inflation. I was suggesting there is a correlation between school investment and real estate prices, but I believe there also has to be recognition of the education district (outside of the community) for it to have an impact on home values. While I don't love high taxes and would agree we need to exercise restraint, given where I am in my personal life with two children in the school system, I would be in favor of continued investment in our schools. That said, my comments don't address Bill's goal of a analysis re: the correlation -- apologies for taking that discussion off track!


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