Smaller towns are not helping solve CT’s housing crisis

The acuity of the state’s housing shortage bears repetition. We need 89,000 affordable homes immediately.

The inventory of active real estate listings has declined 79% –from 18,610 in June of 2018 to 10,228 in 2020, to 3,932 in 2023 while the state’s population has increased 1.4%.

The story of this oft-told paradox is usually presented in the context of interest rates, restrictive zoning, and even as part of a larger supply and demand cycle. These explanations each hold merit. However, when we take a closer look at the towns, especially by population size, we observe a distinction, indeed, a bifurcation, in the allocations of their grand lists over time.

This data alerts us to the likelihood of robust internal municipal machinations that work to preserve what many voters in smaller municipalities like to refer to as the “character” of their towns while, in effect, abrogating responsibility for housing resources to the larger towns.


The rapid run up in single family home prices over the last couple years has escaped no one’s attention. I’ve measured the listing price of homes built in Connecticut during the period 2018 through June of 2023 to consider just how much more expensive, and, for that matter, more expansive, newly constructed single-family residences are compared to the existing inventory of homes. This figure, in turn, gives us a good handle on the property tax income development of those properties represents to the towns choosing them over other uses, such as apartments.

As shown in this chart, during the last five years, newly built single family homes in Connecticut have been listed for sale at a mean price of $2,015,007 with a median of $797,000. Compare this to a median listed price of $318,000 in the overall listed market.


Smaller towns are not helping solve CT’s housing crisis, Dan Smolnik, CT Mirror, July 10, 2023, available here

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