Greenwich School Districts & Real Estate

If you had some spare cash in the year 2000, one of the better places you could have invested it was in a house in the New Lebanon school district. In 2000, you could have bought the median-priced house in this southwest section of town for $395,000.  Your “average” house would have been 2,095 s.f. and would have been on the market for 110 days. In 2021, your average size house sold that year was the same size, but up 120% to $870,000.

Equally remarkable, 2000 wasn’t a bad year in Greenwich sales. That year, we  had 785 sales which was the highest number of sales prior to the Covid years of 2020 and 2021. Demand was high in 2000, but even higher in 2021, In the New Lebanon school district sales barely grew from 2000 to 2021. We went up 2 houses from 23 houses in 2000 to 25 houses in the New Lebanon school district last year. People like this area and tend to stay. Also, most of the properties already had a house, which was close to the FAR.

Townwide, in the last 22 years we have had roughly 14,600 sales of single-family homes. Of those 14,600 sales only 393 were in the New Lebanon school district or 2.7% of all sales. Limited supplies and good prices make for good appreciation over the years.

In total, we have 11 school districts. The school districts tend to be compact with similar sized houses and zones. Analyzing sales by school district is actually a good way to compare houses in the various areas in town.  The best example is comparing the GMLS’ South of the Parkway area to Glenville and North Street school districts. In the GMLS stats, South of the Parkway has a variety of different neighborhoods and zones. The two school districts divide up the South of the Parkway area in to eastern and western halves. The northern portion, the traditional Golden Triangle, is included in the Parkway school district. This groups some of our more expensive 2-acres homes with the four-acre zone north of the Parkway.

No delineation of neighborhoods is perfect. Many of the RTM districts are pretty heterogeneous and the 63 neighborhoods that the Tax Assessor uses for detailed analysis have too few sales in each district for our realtor community to compare houses for our clients that are buying and selling.

When you do look at the school districts you can see why, in many ways, Greenwich is a small city rather than a more homogenous town. In 2021, our median sales price ranged from $3.2 million in the Julian Curtis district which includes downtown, Belle Haven, Mead Point and Indian Harbor to $716,675 in the Hamilton Avenue school district.

While our schools vary in the size of the districts, with Parkway School being by far the largest; they also vary in enrollment. Per the Connecticut state Edsight (https://public-edsight.ct.gov/, which by the way has a lot of useful information) the 2021-2022 enrollments of Greenwich public elementary schools are:

North Mianus is the largest elementary school with 498 students according to the state, while Parkway which has the largest district area wise has the smallest enrollment with 217 students. That 4-acre zone and the northern part of the 2-acre zone really spaces out students. Then again Parkway represents 1 out of 11 elementary schools, but the district paid 1 out of every 4 dollars that the town received in conveyance taxes too. The Parkway district had $8.3 billion of the $34.1 billion dollars of total sales from 2000 to 2022.

Greenwich is also known for its excellent private schools and their enrollment also appears on EdSight. Our largest private school in Greenwich is Country Day, that recently absorbed the Stanwich School. It’s enrollment in all grades totals 1,302. The second largest private school is Brunswick with 1,045 students. In total, EdSite says there are 4,853 private school students. This adds another 50% to our total student population. Many of these schools have good-sized waiting lists, but if you want to send your children to private schools, you’ll find more choice in Greenwich, than just about any place outside of New York City.

Not all students in Greenwich go to Greenwich schools, public or private. Covid has resulted in a nice influx of families with school age kids from New York City. A bunch of these families are continuing to drive their children to the New York City schools where their friends are. I know of three families that carpool to Horace Mann in NYC. We also have a lot of students that attend boarding schools elsewhere in Connecticut and around the U.S. and the world.

When looking at these numbers, you’ll notice some anomalies, such as we only had 8 home sales in the Hamilton Avenue school district last year, while the school has 324 students. A major reason for that is much of Chickahominy is in an R-6, two-family zone, so these duplexes and condo sales, as well as rentals don’t get counted in these single-family home sales numbers.

Overall, the number of home sales is up in every elementary school district with North Street being the big gainer going from 145 sales in 2000 to 208 sales in 2021 or a gain of 43%. That district is one where we saw a lot of new construction in this century.

If you look at total sales dollars, the biggest increase was the International School at Dundee. This increase is a little deceptive in that Dundee is a magnet school and many of the students get in by lottery from all over town. However, when they redistricted, the Old Greenwich elementary school district, more than 20 years ago, the properties on the north side of the old OG school district were redistricted to Dundee. These students got into the very popular international baccalaureate program at ISD by right.

Our excellent schools, both public and private, have been a major draw for home buyers. The number of choices also is very attractive to homebuyers. Greenwich is a good place to be educated.

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