Connecticut home sales surged in September, with Hartford County leading the way, a report released Monday showed.
Also, in a sign of further recovery in the state's housing market, prices paid statewide continued to climb, according to the monthly report from The Warren Group, which tracks housing trends in New England.
Single-family house sales across the state rose more than 21 percent in September, the fifth consecutive month of year-over-year gains, the report said. Sales were the highest for September since 2007, when the state was sliding into a housing recession.
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In Hartford County, house sales jumped nearly 34 percent, to 655, from 489 in September 2012. The median sale price — where half the sales are above, half below — climbed more than 8 percent, to $214,400 from $198,000 in September 2012.
Statewide, the median sale price rose 8.7 percent to $250,000 from $230,000 for the same month a year ago. Median prices have been rising on a year-over-year basis every month since October 2012, The Warren Group reported.
The increases are encouraging, and the market is bouncing back, said Ronald F. Van Winkle, an economist and town manager of West Hartford. However, he said, despite a string of monthly increases in sales and median prices, the market has not reached levels that would be considered healthy.
"We need a more robust general economy before we see significant improvement in the housing market," Van Winkle said. "We need more jobs."
In September, 2,326 single-family houses sold in Connecticut. Van Winkle said 4,000 generally would be considered a healthy level for Connecticut, with some variation for traditionally slower months at the end of the year.
In recovery, the underlying health of local housing markets can vary significantly, not only from town to town, but from neighborhood to neighborhood. Even though prices are rising overall, some properties may be sitting on the market and owners deciding to reduce asking prices.
"Spotty, I would call it," John Zubretsky Jr., president of Weichert, Realtors-The Zubretsky Group in Wethersfield. "But a heck of a lot better than it was a year ago at this time."
For the most part, buyers are moving "slowly and cautiously," Zubretsky said. But he added, "We haven't had a serious setback, and I don't think we're going to have one."
In the Hartford area suburbs, homes selling at $300,000 to $400,000 are the most sought-after right now, and those above $500,000 are selling more slowly, Zubretsky said.
Nonetheless, home sales have kept an encouraging pace, even with rising interest rates, said Timothy Warren Jr., Warren Group's chief executive.
Consistent gains in the median sale price indicates "strong demand and shortage of supply," Warren said.
In September, single-family house sales rose in all counties but Middlesex, where sales were flat. The median price rose in six counties on a year-over-year basis, with Fairfield seeing the largest gain, at 17.5 percent.
Through the first nine months of the year, single-family house sales are up 6 percent and the median sale price has gained 10 percent, both compared with the same period last year.