GREENWICH, CT 2013 REAL ESTATE MARKET REVIEW & STATISTICS – Part 1

THE GREAT RECESSION IS OVER  – Market has changed

Last year 726 single family homes were sold in all of Greenwich up 29 % from 2012 which was up 15% from 2011.  This is the same level of sales as we were seeing in the boom years of 2006 and 2007. The first quarter was slow partly because so many sales had been pushed into December 2012 to avoid the Obamacare taxes and the expected, and then realized, increase in the capital gains in January 2013.

2006

2007

2008

2009

2010

2011

2012

2013

Avg Avg % 2013 v. Avg Low High
Jan

49

68

44

7

38

34

33

27

39.0

6.7%

69%

7

68

Feb

38

38

31

10

32

19

30

34

28.3

4.9%

120%

10

38

Mar

69

67

41

18

38

46

41

35

45.7

7.9%

77%

18

69

Apr

49

60

52

21

40

59

41

62

46.0

7.9%

135%

21

60

May

83

77

44

19

49

62

64

76

56.9

9.8%

134%

19

83

Jun

93

93

58

36

76

114

82

98

78.9

13.6%

124%

36

114

Jul

80

85

54

56

64

48

80

98

66.7

11.5%

147%

48

85

Aug

75

74

56

36

61

55

70

84

61.0

10.5%

138%

36

75

Sept

45

47

26

42

33

50

57

48

42.9

7.4%

112%

26

57

Oct

54

40

27

43

35

21

38

56

36.9

6.3%

152%

21

54

Nov

47

50

11

33

33

29

38

48

34.4

5.9%

139%

11

50

Dec

47

27

16

49

50

36

86

60

44.4

7.6%

135%

16

86

TOTAL

729

726

460

370

549

573

660

726

581.0

125%

370

729

Vs. Prior Year

115.2%

128.5%

 

Greenwich Home Sales 2006 – 2013

(The other tax driven anomaly was in  June 2011 when 114 houses sold to avoid the increase in the Connecticut conveyance tax.) Starting in April 2013 the market in Greenwich took off and had record months for sales over the last six years in May, July, August and October. June and December 2013 would also have been six year records if not for the aforementioned tax anomalies. The one sore point was September of last year when our Congressmen were talking about shutting down the government.

2013-2013.Avg.SalessbyMo.011914

   Market Mix Change the Lingering Effect of the Great Recession

      The under $2 million market – very busy

While the market had record months most of this was from the under $2 million dollar market. Under that price the market was very busy. Under $1 million dollars properly priced houses got multiple bids and it was combat buying. Good brokers had their clients prepared for combat and you still had a good chance of winning these bidding competitions, because many other buyers were either poorly prepared or not fully committed to buying in Greenwich. Still it required constant monitoring and diligence.

The $3 – 5 million market – very variable

This market was transition zone; some areas like Old Greenwich, Riverside and the new Golden Triangle (Round Hill, Pecksland, Deer Park area) did well. Backcountry and other areas were more of a challenge. Once again being prepared was crucial, but in this price market it was the sellers who needed to do their homework. The house needed to not only be priced right, but it needed good staging, active marketing and had to be easy to show. Owner/occupiers needed to be able to vacate on short notice for a showing and needed to keep the house in showable shape; an onerous task, but crucial.

                The over $5 million – very trying but last quarter improvement

Over $5 million 2013 was not a good year. Only 49 houses sold for over $5 million in 2013 compared to 70 houses in 2012. Waterfront a perennial seller was significantly impacted by Superstorm Sandy. The backcountry was impacted by the “nesting” syndrome; buyers wanted to be closer in to town and wanted to be able see their neighbors. Big houses were built on our major north /south roads, Round Hill, Lake Avenue & North Street, something you didn’t see before the recession.  The change in Wall Street compensation also affected sales in Greenwich as only some of the private hedge funds were paying all cash compensation. This group of buyers is a much smaller group of people than the people working for the publicly traded investment banks.

The good thing is this market turned up in the fourth quarter. Mayor de Blasio’s election has many high net worth people worried about their future in NYC. If they stay out of New York for more than 183 days they aren’t New York residents and don’t have to pay the high state and city income taxes nor the high property taxes. In addition with a more positive feeling people are once again looking at weekend houses a market that was also pretty dead until the fourth quarter. Buyers in this group have been casually looking for awhile and now they are starting to pull the trigger.

     2014  1st quarter likely a record breaker if we get inventory

Starting the day after Christmas the lower end market went from busy to crazy. My listing at 1 Ferris Drive, the least expensive house in Old Greenwich at $598,000, went from 4 showings in December before Christmas to now 27 showings after Christmas. With Congress agreeing to a budget for the first time in years, the stock market setting record highs, and a returning confidence showings at all levels are doing better.

Sellers need to list houses now

If you are seller under $2 million you want to  list your house now. The spring market has already started and there is very little to show. So list your house when it will be unique. Much of what is out there is priced too high for this market or are “story” houses with some issue that has to be explained to buyers. The one thing that can keep this quarter from setting a record is not enough inventory in the very active part of the market.

    Buyers need to be prepared

For buyers at any level being prepared is crucial. If you can do cash great, if not get pre-approved so your mortgage contingency will be shorter than the other bidder. Check out our open house list each week and go to enough open houses that you have a feel for values so when the right house comes on the market you are ready to move. In Greenwich there is no deal until the contracts are signed, but the numbers of showings go way down once there is an accepted offer on a house. Speed kills other deals and let you get the house you want.

Here’s to a good 2014 for everyone.

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