Last winter may have been cold and stormy, but it's already hot in Connecticut this spring — at least if you're talking about real estate. The New York Times reports that the well-heeled Connecticut suburbs are seeing a boom in home construction — especially near the water, and mostly in the upper-end market, where buyers with money are paying to tear down existing houses and put up their multi-million-dollar dream homes (see: "In Fairfield, the Builders are Back," by Lisa Prevost).

"Builders' expectations for the spring market here are clearly high," the Times reports. "After a recession-induced lull, new construction catering to wealthy buyers is back in a big way in Westport and a few other select areas of Fairfield County, particularly New Canaan and the neighborhoods around the beach. And the voracious demand for teardown properties where that new construction can be built is raising the already-high bar for first-time buyers, pitting them against builders looking for older homes on decent-size lots."

"The beach is a big selling point in the town of Fairfield," the Times reports. "Since Hurricane Sandy, in 2012, builders have been buying up lots near the adjoining Jennings and Penfield public beaches from homeowners unwilling or unable to make the necessary repairs. New custom and speculative homes — Nantucket-style and more modern — are now rising rapidly, some of them very large. However, as Thomas Conley, the town's chief building official, noted, while there are some 'monsters,' many of the houses look bigger than they are because they have to be elevated to meet flood-zone regulations."