First the good news, in the first week of March, we’ve had 8 sales compared to 15 sales for the whole month of February. Our inventory has risen to 149 single family home listings and our contracts are up to 80 deals signed. All of this is good news. Sales are fighting to get back to normal as we get more inventory and even as we have more sales inventory is going up. This means inventory is coming on faster than deals are being done.
Some people may see that as a sign of a declining market, but inventory increases every spring, particularly in March and April. Contracts traditionally get signed in April and May and our biggest sales months are June and July when we see our most closing. So, let’s look at how the neighborhoods are doing so far in Greenwich.
I’m going use the ten Greenwich elementary school districts as a stand-in for neighborhoods. The good thing about our school districts is they are compact and approximate neighborhoods. I could have used the 12 voting districts, but these often wander around with District 10 and 11 splitting backcountry and mid-country on a north/south line, while the Parkway school district has all of backcountry and most of our 2-acre zone.
Please don’t equate the name of the geographic district with being a comment about the quality of the school. Yes, good schools are a factor in the demand for, and the pricing of, houses, but lot size and location have a lot more to do with house prices. Having said that, Greenwich’s good schools are a big plus for the town. (We do need to do better, however, too many of our school buildings are showing their age.)
Also, let’s not forget the attraction of our 10 private schools that attract families from all to Greenwich and even bring in students who live outside of Greenwich. Lastly, when I talk about say the Glenville school district, it’s really just shorthand for the southwest corner of mid-country with a little bit of southwest backcountry and Chickahominy thrown in, it’s not just the village of Glenville.
One of the amazing things about sales this year is their even distribution throughout the town. That even distribution actually says that we are getting a disproportionate number of sales from our 4-acre and 2-acre zones in backcountry and mid-country, since a lot in our 4-acre zone is 16 times the size of our R-7 zone which is only 0.176 acres or roughly a sixth of an acre. More about why that is when we talk about the Parkway district below.
The Greenwich Real Estate Market by School District
(from north to south and west to east)
Parkway School District
Sales YTD: 12
Sold DOM: 189
The Parkway district is a standout in sales with 12 of our 72 sales so far this year. One of the reasons for this is that it is by far our largest school district spanning all of backcountry and most of the 2-acre zone in mid-country. The other thing pumping up sales is paradoxically because we have a slower market in backcountry. As a result, we actually have listings to sell with 44 listings in backcountry, nearly double any other district.
You can also see the slower market by the average days on market of 189 days, our second highest DOM. That 189 days is for the houses that did sell. If you look at the 44 active listings, they have been on for an average of 298 days. Much of this is due to our slower market over $5 million of which we have a bunch in backcountry.
Glenville School District
Sales YTD: 10
Sold DOM: 96
The market is much tighter in the Glenville school district than in the Parkway district. In the Glenville district we only have 20 listings with 10 sales and 6 contracts; we almost have as many sales and contracts as we have inventory. Our DOM is also down to 96. (NB: These “average” days on market need to be taken with a grain of salt, as one sale of a house that has been on the market for a year or more can bring the average way up. For example, Parkway had a sale that had been on for 398 days and Glenville had a sale that had been on for 265 days.)
North Street School District
Sales YTD: 4
Sold DOM: 16
North Street school district is where today’s action is. We’ve only had 4 sales so far this year but look at those 23 contracts. One of them is my and my brother’s listing that went to a non-contingent contract in 8 days from the date it went active. In fact, of the 23 contracts outstanding only 4 are contingent contracts, i.e., with a mortgage contingency. Cash is more than king, it is the emperor.
The 25 listings also means that buyer’s actually have something to buy. Sixteen days on market is tight so if you want to buy here bring cash or roll the dice and waive the mortgage contingency. (This is a lot easier to do if you are underwritten pre-approved by your mortgage broker. Unless a listing has been on for more than 2 months, your chances of winning a bidding war are slim in a multiple bid situation if you have a 45-day mortgage contingency.)
North Mianus School District
Sales YTD: 2
Sold DOM: 73
North Mianus is another very competitive school district. It actually has more contracts than sales or inventory. You also shouldn’t take much solace in that 73 average days on market. It consists of 1 sale listed for 145 days and one listed for 0 days, i.e., an off-market sale.
New Lebanon School District
Sales YTD: 1
Sold DOM: 14
New Lebanon and Hamilton Avenue districts have lots of condos and multi-family, so when you look at just single-family homes in these two school districts, it doesn’t look like there is much activity. If, however you look at their bread and butter sales, condos and multi-family houses, things are moving quickly.
Hamilton Avenue School District
Sales YTD: 0
Sold DOM: -
If a house does come on in the New Lebanon or Hamilton Avenue school district, be prepared to move quickly. It won’t last long if it is in good shape. If it is not in good shape and you have a relative in the trades, you might even be able to wait for the public open house on the weekend instead of going to see the day it is listed, but still be ready to market an offer while you are there.
Julian Curtiss School District
Sales YTD: 3
Sold DOM: 264
This school district covers three distinct areas; Chickahominy, our high-end waterfront (Belle Haven, Mead Point and Indian Harbor) and downtown Greenwich. Each one has a different market demand. Chickahominy has no inventory. In Chickahominy, parents don’t sell their houses they hand them down to their kids.
The waterfront communities have many of the highest priced listing in town and no sales so far. That not that unusual as high-end houses generally don’t sell when the crocuses are blooming, but rather go with the roses starting in late spring. They use to sell earlier, but most financial people no longer get a big cash bonus at the beginning of the year. Bonuses are spread out over several years and often paid in restricted stock.
Downtown Greenwich has had all of the sales so far this year, since most of our 20 listings in the Julian Curtiss district that are under $5 million are located downtown.
Cos Cob School District
Sales YTD: 3
Sold DOM: 73
In Cos Cob, buyers need to be ready to move quickly as low inventory has meant low sales. Right now you have a choice of 6 listings. Remember though that 4 other people moved quickly and have already beat you to the other listings that came on. Once again, it helps to be good friends with a contractor as those houses that need work still take some time to sell, well at least sometimes they take more time to sell. If you want to live in Cos Cob and you like the house, put in an offer now.
Riverside School District
Sales YTD: 2
Sold DOM: 9
Riverside had only 2 of our 15 sales in February and we matched that number in the first 6 days of March. The average sales price of those 4 sales is over $5 million. You can be reasonably sure that there are other sales that were sold privately and weren’t reported, which is optional. Of the four sales in Riverside, two were off market and the other two went pending in 8 days and 13 days.
There’s a reason half the sales have been off market. If you announce in your office, that you have a possible Riverside listing, not only do people from your firm stop by to see you, but two days later some agent from a firm you haven’t heard in Westport calls you asks when you are going to have the Riverside listing signed.
Dundee School District
Sales YTD: 3
Sold DOM: 158
Dundee school district and Dundee enrollment are different. As an international baccalaureate school, Dundee accepts students from a variety of areas in Greenwich. As you might expect it’s very popular with our international community, most of whom aren’t in the school district.
The Dundee school district is a small area of Old Greenwich on both sides of the Post Road. Students there get into Dundee by right, which was given them when they were redistricted out of the Old Greenwich school district decades ago. A lot of our more affordable houses are in our R-7 zone that like the Dundee school district straddle the Post Road. (If you are looking here, it’s a good time to read my previous articles in the Sentinel on combat buying which are Googleable.)
Old Greenwich School District
Sales YTD: 5
Sold DOM: 32
Five sold, six under contract, seven houses in inventory; bring money if you want to buy in the Old Greenwich school district. None of the 7 listings on the market are under $3 million. (One of the 7 listings actually went to contract while I was writing this article, so we are down to 6 listings.)
So, what is a buyer to do? Go where the crowds aren’t. We have 150 listings, (that also went up one listing while I was writing this article.) Of those 150 listings, 90 of them have been on for more than three months. Those owners are getting antsy, the new spring listings are coming on and many of the owners with holdover listings want to make a deal. If you’ve looked before, look again.
Of course, it helps if you have money. Of those 90 older listings, 77 of them are over $2.5 million. If you see a house that you like, but it’s only a little higher than you want to pay, go see it and make a good offer. You never know what is going to happen.
Stay up to date on the latest real estate trends.
Sales Lower as Inventory Lower
Since the end of April this year, we have sold 186 single family homes, but those sales are not evenly distributed by area of town
The Optimist vs. the Pessimist
June was a remarkable month in sales with 77 sales of which 10 were over $5 million including our highest and third-highest sales for this year.
Buying or selling a home on your own is not recommended. Here’s how to choose the right Realtor to guide you.
We are a dedicated group of Greenwich natives. We have a deep passion for our hometown and enjoy everything the town offers its residents from the beach front to the backcountry. That is why we don’t find you just any home, we find you the right home.