Danbury’s boom started in the 1970s when corporate headquarters fleeing Manhattan headed for western Connecticut, bringing with them scores of employees who needed homes.
The housing market responded with subdivisions of custom homes, condos, mixed used developments and, more recently, revitalization efforts aimed at attracting residents to the city’s historic center.
In the foothills of the Berkshires, Danbury is located right on the New York State line in prosperous Fairfield County. Fabulous, multi-million dollar estates can be had on Candlewood Lake, Westlake Reservoir and other wealthy neighborhoods, but on average, Danbury real estate is far more affordable than the rest of Fairfield County, which contains what is known as Connecticut’s “Gold Coast.”
The median sales price in Fairfield County, using 2006 data, was $535,000. Danbury’s median came in at $365,000, nearly a third less expensive.
Residential developments dot the city’s western hills: Westville Estates has four-bedroom homes; Ridgebury Hills has 90 homes; Sterling Woods has a mix of single family homes, townhouses and a pool, fitness center and clubhouse. Many of the area’s neighborhoods were built in the 1990s.
Danbury’s condo market attracts many first-time homebuyers – one-bedroom units go for less than $200,000.
With two pools and a playground, Westwood Village is a large and popular condo development, also on the city’s west side. For residents commuting into Westchester County, N.Y., or Manhattan, this part of Danbury provides great interstate access.
Lake Place on Kenosia Lake is a sweet, resort-like spot, a 160-unit condo development with a strong sense of community.
Older subdivisions can be found in the Mill Plain, Hayestown, Germantown and Shelter Rock areas, many of them dating to the housing boom that followed World War II.
Danbury’s more recent boom is reflected in the age of its housing stock – even in 2000, less than 30 percent of the homes were built before 1950.
Still, old houses and historic neighborhoods exist. Rural pockets have winding roads, wooded hills, lakes, ponds, antique homes and former farms.
Though Danbury’s growth has slowed, it isn’t going to stop. Projects call for the city to gain just under 1 percent annually through 2012.
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