Greenwich Neighborhood Sales – Some Up, Some Down
Sales are up in Greenwich, but not in every neighborhood. Overall sales, as of the end of August, are up from 359 sales last year to 461 sales this year an increase of 102 sales or 28%. What’s up even more are contracts which are up from 83 contracts as of the end of August 2019 to 193 contracts this year or an increase of 133%. When you total up all of these sales, we went from a total sales volume of $877,661,399 last year to $1,180,418,928. This is $303 million increase in sales is 34.5%, which means that the town conveyance taxes are up nicely this year. At the same time, our inventory is down 14% and this week we actually dipped below 500 listings. So, it is a tight market overall.
|As of 9/2/2020||Inventory||Solds||Sum of Sold Price||Average of Cumulative DOM||Average of Sold Price||Average of List Price/SqFt||Average of Sold Price/SqFt||Average of SP/ASMT||Average of SP/OLP|
|So. of Post Road||72||34||$142,944,500||270||$4,204,250||$851||$759||1.66||88.1%|
These are the headline numbers, but the market gets much more nuanced when you look neighborhood by neighborhood. We have four neighborhoods that are up and three neighborhoods that are down, but even there some stats are up and some stats are down. The Covid buyers are definitely looking for land and as you might expect backcountry and mid-country are the big beneficiaries of this desire for more space and larger houses.
In backcountry sales are up 52 percent to 50 solds compared to only 33 last year. Our average sold price is actually down 22% from $3.13 million last year to $2.46 million this year. Now for my backcountry neighbors there is no need to worry about what some wag, somewhere, will call a collapse in prices. What we are seeing is just a major pickup in sales below $3 million. Anything that comes on the market in backcountry under $2 million gets snapped up quickly. Our average sales price/sf is down 4.3%, which also is due to the number of sales under the median of $2.46 million. While our inventory is down 14%, this is not a time to be asking for a premium price as discussed below. Priced correctly, houses in backcountry sell and under $3 million they sell pretty quickly.
South of the Parkway
Our second biggest increase in sales is South of the Parkway, an area that covers central Greenwich from the Merritt Parkway to the Post Road. There sales are up 47.4% with total volume up 53% to $451 million. Inventory is down 16%, days on market are down 11% and the average sales price to original list price is up 3.9%. All are signs of a stronger market. Even here though, you can see how the pandemic has shaped the market. Our average sold price is up 3.8% and our average sold price/sf is actually down 4.3%.
The average sales price is up, because we are seeing more high-end sales this year, which is bringing the neighborhood average up. The average sales price/sf and the sales price to assessment ratio are down, showing that we have some motivated sellers. Also, these averages cover the whole year and clearly lots of sellers were looking to sell in April and May at last year’s prices. We are seeing more recent sales prices at higher values and ratios, but not by a huge amount.
|Aug 2020 vs. Aug 2019||Inventory||Solds||Sum of Sold Price||Average of CDOM||Average of Sold Price||Average of List Price/SqFt||Average of Sold Price/SqFt||Average of SP/ASMT||Average of SP/OLP|
|South of Post Road||6||-3||$9,362,200||5||$593,918||$45||$8||-0.16||-0.9%|
Cos Cob & Glenville
Cos Cob has had a good year, sales are up 40% over last year. Now part of that is because last year was not a good year for Cos Cob. In fact, Cos Cob had our biggest percentage drop in sales last year. This year Cos Cob is back; sales are up, the average sold price is up and the average sold price/sf is also up a little. Cos Cob has had 42 sales this year and has another 21 contracts waiting to close, so sales should continue to look good in September.
The past few years Cos Cob and Glenville have moved together, as alternatives to pricey Old Greenwich and Riverside. Like Cos Cob, Glenville also had a poor 2019 and this year it has recovered somewhat with 20 sales compared to last years 17 sales. One of the issues for doing statistics on Glenville is that people like the area so much they move in and stay and it’s a smaller area. So, a couple sales up or down can make a significant percentage change. Right now, we only have 18 listings in Glenville compared to 44 listings for Cos Cob,
Riverside & Old Greenwich
Riverside has returned to being a very preferred neighborhood after not being so favored last year. Sales there are up 35.6% compared to only 21.0% in Old Greenwich. This difference is due to the poor sales last year in Riverside. Between the two neighborhoods we have total sales of 155 houses or a third of all of our sales. When you look at a map, you see a lot of sales and contracts in an area that is a small fraction of Greenwich’s total land area.
Also indicative of Riverside’s rebound this year is the average sales price is up by $471,481 this year in Riverside, while the average sales price in Old Greenwich is actually down despite increased sales. Once again much of this is an adjustment in what prices are selling, rather than an overall change in prices. If you really want to make Riverside look good, we can include the private $42 million sale on Indian Point Lane earlier this year. If we do that, the average sale in Riverside goes up by over $500,000. In fact, that one sale would have brought up the townwide average sale by $91,000.
South of the Post Road, Byram and Pemberwick
Sales are down a little bit in the southwest part of town. Now while South of the Post Road includes Belle Haven, it also includes Chickahominy, which moves much more like Byram and Pemberwick. In these areas we have a lot of R-6 zones. The R-6 zone is a two family zone with a minimum lot size of 0.17 acres. In the Covid era, 2 families on a sixth of an acre is just a little too cozy for some.
The other issue for these neighborhoods where the median R-6 house sold for $655,000 is that they are seeing lots of competition from Westchester County, as well as Stamford, Norwalk and further up the line. The Covid buyer is hoping to only commute a couple of days a week so the longer commute from Norwalk, Wilton or Fairfield is less of a factor in 2020 than when employees had to be at there desks in the City every day.
Covid has turned our market on its feet. I say this because, the Great Recession turned our market on its head and now Covid is putting us back on our feet. Buyers from NYC are looking for more land, more square footage and more in-home amenities, which says 2 and 4 acre zoning in mid-country and backcountry. The second office and the pool are becoming bigger wants. At the same time, mid-size zones in Cos Cob, Riverside, and Old Greenwich are doing better than last year.
Our two family, R-6 zone is not doing as well with buyers even at the lower price ranges. In the Covid era, buyers are willing to pay higher taxes in Westchester or are willing commute further into Fairfield County for more space. We also have a fair number of Greenwich residents who are looking to upsize. Many of these folks were waiting to move and now that the market is so much more competitive and interest rates are at record lows, they are pulling the trigger.
As to where we are going, we have lots of contracts so September and even October should be good months. I’ve also met several buyers who had rented here for the summer and are now going to buy something in the near future. If you have a house to sell, now is a very good time to do it as who knows what will happen next year.
If you do put your house on the market, your Realtor needs to do a thorough analysis of the micro-market for your house. Some areas, styles, recent construction and amenities would support a higher price in this market, but you still need to be competitive. Every week, we see nice houses whose listings are expiring unsold.
On the buyer’s side, it’s also a good time to be in the market. Interest rates are down, and prices are not up significantly, however, we are seeing slightly higher prices in the sales starting in August. While the seller’s need to worry about recession/price drop, there is a better chance than we will see higher prices next year, so there is a good opportunity for buyers. Waiting may not be in your interest.
ERRATA: Last week’s article mentioned that this August was our best August ever with 108 sales reported on the GMLS. As my brother, and long-time Realtor, Russ Pruner pointed out we actually had 109 GMLS sales in August 2001. He is the keeper of stats that go back well into the last century and has a website with lots of good interactive stats in the “Market Data” section of his website at http://www.russellpruner.com. His data also shows that in the last 40 years we have had a couple of years where August was the highest sales month, just not this century. I apologize for slightly over-stating just how good August 2020. As Bum Phillips said about Herschel Walker, “He may not be in a class by himself, but it doesn’t take long to call roll in that class.” That’s what this August was like.