The Greenwich Private Real Estate Market: 2023 to Feb 2024

The Greenwich Private Real Estate Market: 2023 to Feb 2024

The Greenwich Private Real Estate Market: 2023 to Feb 2024

Usually when I write these posts, I ignore 15% of the market. Last year in that 15% I ignored were 3 sales over $10 million, and that was in a year where we only had 12 sales over $10 million on the Greenwich MLS. At the other end other end of the market, we had 7 sales under $600,000 pm on the GMLS in Greenwich, but with the exception of one post, I ignored 5 other sales. 

In total, we had $275 million of sales in 2023 that I ignored which represented 12.2% of our total sales volume. As you might have guessed these other sales that I “ignored” were properties that were never listed on the Greenwich MLS. In total, we had 93 sales that were either truly private sales, which were never listed anywhere, or were listed on other multiple listing services. Of those 93 sales, 80 sales were private sales, 12 were only listed on the SmartMLS (i.e. the all Connecticut MLS) and one was listed exclusively on the Westchester MLS.

Private sales happen for a variety of reasons, but two principal reasons are privacy desired by high-end sellers and avoiding real estate commissions for our lower end sellers. Privacy is getting harder and harder to maintain in this world of online databases and Google searches, but private sales of real estate are still mostly private unless you know where to look. Compass has a proprietary database that gives us the ability to find those private sales that otherwise can’t be found. Now if you already know the address you can go to the Greenwich Town Clerk’s office and find out more, but Compass gives us the ability to look at all sales public and private. If you are wondering what has sold privately in the area and price range you are looking feel free to call me at 203-817-2871 or email me at [email protected]

In 2023, we had 12 private sales in Mid-country, 6 in Backcountry, 4 in Belle Haven, 1 in Conyers Farm,  and 2 in Lucas Point, for a total of 25 sales. Fifteen of those 25 sales were  over $5 million  and totaled $112 million or half of all our private sales volume. The 3 private sales in 2023 that were over $10 million were in Lucas Point, Belle Haven and Backcountry. 

For private r sales in more affordable neighborhoods, we had  7 private sales in Pemberwick, 5 sales in Byram and 3 in Glenville for a total of 15 sales. When you look at just the private sales under $1 million dollars 13 sales totaling $9.1 million. 

This bifurcation of sales into high-end end and low-end sales has continued in 2024. So far, we have had 9 private sales in Greenwich. Of those 9 sales, 4 of them were over $5 million. Russ and I had a private sale for $5.5 million in Old Greenwich, there were 2 sales at $7.5 million, one in mid-country and one in Mead Point and the highest private sale so far this year was in mid-country sale  for just over $10 million. A third of the private sales this year have been at the affordable end, we’ve had 3 sales under $1 million one each in Pemberwick, Byram and Havemeyer Park. 

So far in 2024, we have not had any SmartMLS only sales in Greenwich, while we had 12 sales that only appeared on the SmatMLS last year. The median of our 2023 SmartMLS only sales is $1.36 million, a little more than half of our GMLS 2023 median sales price of $2.52 million. 

This mainly happens, because national banks don’t understand that we don’t have county governments in Connecticut. National banks that foreclose on properties resulting in REO’s (other Real Estate Owned by banks) tend to retain one broker for all of Fairfield County, since that is what they do in most other states. 

These Fairfield County-wide agents can cover all 23 cities and towns with one SmartMLS membership. They don’t tend to list these REO listings on any of the Greenwich MLS, New Canaan MLS or the Darien MLS. Of the SmartMLS only sales, 10 of the 12 sales were under $2.5 million and 4 of the sales were under $1 million. 

It’s not only REOs that get listed in Greenwich, by SmartMLS agents. SmartMLS agents that mainly work outside of Greenwich may only get a Greenwich listing every few years, or it may even be their first Greenwich listing ever. These infrequent listers may not join the Greenwich MLS for just one sale or a couple of Greenwich sales separated by years. 
We do have one sale in Greenwich, by a OneKey MLS agent. OneKey is the MLS for Westchester County. The sale was in Pemberwick, well mostly in Pemberwick. It turns out that this Pemberwick sales actually had the side yard in Westchester County. 

When you  look at a specific neighborhood, like Old Greenwich, you can see how important knowing about the private sales. In OG 17% of the 86 sales in Old Greenwich were private. As with other neighborhoods, Old Greenwich off-market sales are skewed to the high-end. Eight of the 15 off-market sales were over our median price of $2.5 million. 
Also, if you are seeking to sell your home for around $4 million in Old Greenwich  knowledge of the private sales is crucial. In OG between $4 million and $4.6 million there were 4 public sales and 4 private sales in 2023. You need these private sales to accurately price your house. 

So should you list your Greenwich house privately or go directly to the Greenwich MLS. Of the sales in Greenwich 85% went with the Greenwich MLS, but what about the other 15%? As discussed, above 2% of the 15% were publicly listed on the SmartMLS in 2023. These listings all appeared on, Zillow, and hundreds of other brokerage websites and other websites with listing information just as they would if they had been listed on the GMLS. 

What a SmartMLS doesn’t get you for a Greenwich is the immediate attention of all 1,100 members of the Greenwich MLS. I’m a member of both the Greenwich MLS and the SmartMLS, I will occasionally get an email from a buyer about a hot new listing, that I can’t find on the GMLS hot sheet. I checked the SmartMLS hotsheet and there it is. Roughly half of the Greenwich listings are dually listed, and half are only on the Greenwich MLS, so Greenwich agents are evenly split as to which course is better. If I set up a buyer with a Compass alert for new listings, they will get both GMLS and SmartMLS listing.

 Who lists privately?

As to truly  private listings, economics play a role in the decision between private and public listings. Some property owners don’t want to pay a commission and prefer to keep all the sales proceeds for themselves. (Of course, they still have to pay the state and town conveyance taxes and their attorneys’ fees.)

These FSBOs (pronounced fizz bows and an abbreviation for For Sale By Owner)  are seeing very good demand and very limited supply and feel that their savings will be greater than getting a higher price by listing publicly with an agent. Given how tight the market is you’d think that the number of FSBO’s would be increasing, however they are not.  The studies show that owners get the highest price by getting maximum exposure and multiple offers, which is what public listings do. (Of course, several of these studies come from the NAR.)

Privacy is the other big motivation for private sales and the higher the price, the more the motivation is. These private sales are done with brokers, they just aren’t listed on any MLS. What the seller doesn’t know with a private sale is whether they got the highest possible price without the full exposure of a public listing. 

For some buyers, the highest possible price is not the goal. Getting the last few percent in your sales price takes a lot of work and a lot of exposure of your home to your neighbors, your relatives and your friends. For that last few percent, you need your house in perfect shape. 

I’ve worked with clients to have their whole house painted, inside and out, to have large trees removed to open up the property, to have all their furniture put in storage and new furniture brought in by top-of-the-line stagers. You then have to keep the house perfect for all the subsequent showings. It is an effort.

Many sellers are willing to give up the highest sales price possible, if they can reduce the hassle, time and expense. Many of our senior clients have a lot of appreciation in their house and are physically and financially incapable of doing the work to get their older house in tip-top shape. Compass has their Compass Concierge service to help finance fix-ups. 

There are also services and companies that can even do new construction to make the house perfect for today’s market. Rather than pay a fee, some people still would rather do a quick and private sale. A well-priced private sale still gives these sellers all the cash they want with less hassle. 

It's up to the owner what they want to do, but give us a call to make sure you are fully informed on each option, before making a final decision.  

Mark Pruner is a sales executive with Compass Connecticut. He can be reached at 203-817-2871 or [email protected]

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