WALLINGFORD — The mild winter of 2011-12 contributed to a warming trend in Connecticut’s residential real estate market this spring.


According to Prudential Connecticut Realty’s first quarter market report, prices of single family homes and condominium homes dropped from the first quarter of last year. These lower prices provide opportunity for buyers to take advantage of continued low mortgage rates.


Pending contracts jumped 25.9 percent for single-family homes. According to PCR, pending sales haven’t been this strong since the first quarter of 2010. Single-family closed sales are also up 8.4 percent (11.4 percent in New Haven County) while condominium closed sales increased 3.6 percent, reversing the downward trend of the last few quarters.


A major driver of surging sales is the continuing decline in median selling prices. Statewide, single-family homes prices fell 7.3 percent, to $222,500, year over year, with every county posting a decline.


Price pressure on sellers has not positively impacted average days on market, which rose during the first quarter 6.4 percent, to 165 days for single-family homes  (157 days for condominiums).


The old saw about real estate (“They’re not making any more of it”) is certainly true for Connecticut’s residential market. Statewide just 2,837 housing permits were issued for all of the 2011 — the fewest, the PCR report observed, “in a very long time.”


Among New Haven County municipalities, the largest number of single-family homes sales by far occurred in Waterbury, where 145 homes changed hands in the first quarter — nearly three times the number sold in New Haven. It is probably not a coincidence that the average selling price in the Brass City — $98,000 — was likewise the lowest of any community in the county.


“We are seeing positive signs for the Connecticut real estate market,” said Peter Helie, PCR’s chairman and CEO. “It is clear that Connecticut is on the road to a housing recovery in 2012.”


A key indicator of market stabilization in Connecticut is the recovery of a third of the jobs that were lost during the great recession. Combined with other market signs such as historically low interest rates and well priced inventory, buyers are finally re-entering the market with confidence, according to PCR.