While inventory and “Days on Market” in the Greenwich Real Estate Marketplace have remained stable year-to-year– Jan.-June 2015 vs. Jan.-June 2014– Unit Sales are up 7%, with 297 single family homes being sold this year versus 277 last year. Sales volume, on the other hand, is down 11% from $831M in the first half of 2014 to $739M in 2015, indicating that the homes that are selling are at lower price points on average than last year.
Not surprisingly, then, the Average Sale Price and the Median Sales Price figures are down as well, 17% and 6% respectively. The Percent of Sale Price to List Price, on the other hand, is up slightly over last year to 94.4%, reflecting that, while buyers are still very discriminating in their choices, the homes that are selling are doing so very respectably close to their list prices.
We have seen more buyers in Greenwich so far this year due to gains in consumer confidence, millennials gravitating more towards the suburbs with their young families and news of forthcoming higher interest rates.
The number of homes going to Contract in the first half of the year this year are also up 2% versus last year. This is always a healthy market indicator since this figure is the predictor of future sales. While we still see the lower end ($2M and under) of the market driving sales as it has been in recent years, homes in the $4-10M range all saw significant increases in the number of homes going to contract so far this year versus last year. Demand for homes in the $0-2M range is still outpacing the available inventory, with the percent of current contracts significantly higher than available inventory. We hope to keep this momentum going into the second half of the year!
A glimpse of the Greenwich Real Estate Market as of the end of the 3rd quarter 2016 (see attached Market Statistics Report) reveals that—in fact– there are distinct pockets of strength.
As has been the case in recent years, the sales of homes under $2M are fueling this market and are a distinct pocket of strength. Inventory ended the 3rd quarter noticeably up 8% in the $$0-1M range, providing more opportunity for entry level buyers than there has been in the recent past in this range. With contracts up 2% Jan.-Sept. 2016 vs. Jan.-Sept. 2015, this price range comprised 8% of the current inventory as of the end of September and an impressive 19% of all 2016 contracts to date.
While inventory in the $1-2M range has been tighter, down 5% Sept. 2016 vs. 2015, contracts are up 9% in this powerhouse price range over last year. This range represents 21% of the current inventory and an astounding 41% of all 2016 contracts! So, it is clear that the demand is greater than the supply and a seller’s market in Greenwich below $2M as of the end of the 3rd Quarter 2016.
The $2-3M price range in Greenwich, meanwhile, has been picking up speed. With inventory in this range ending the 3rd Quarter down 6%, this price segment represents an impressive 19% of current inventory and 19% of all 2016 contracts. Demand in this category is equal to the supply in this range.
High end sales have been soft across the country in 2016 and Greenwich is no different. Despite this, Greenwich’s real estate market ranks near the top as the 12th most expensive in the nation with an average price of about $1.3M for a 4-bedroom, 2 bath home. This represents a price increase of more than 4% from last year, according to an annual Coldwell Banker report.
While contracts and sales are largely down in Greenwich in the $3M+ ranges, Jan.-Sept. 2016 vs. Jan.- Sept. 2015, there are many factors that may contribute to this. As Barry Sternlicht cited as his rationale for departing the state, “Connecticut got too close to Manhattan tax rates”. (Bloomberg.com)
Another contributing factor to the decline in high end contracts and sales is the strength of the dollar. The demand by foreign investors has declined as our dollar has strengthened.
Another factor may be the difference in how Wall Street now receives their bonuses. Instead of getting a lump sum in cash at the beginning of the year, these financial types are being compensated in stock instead of cash and the income is spread out over numerous years.
This has tipped the fulcrum in Greenwich to a traditional spring market where May, June and April (in this order) are the strongest months for contracts now versus the March, May and April format, which was common pre-2008. More high- end purchases are now being made at the end of the year for this reason, with October now being the 6th most popular month for a home to go to contract in Greenwich.
Bottom line: no matter what time of year people purchase their homes, Greenwich remains one of the most sought-after places to live in the US in ALL price ranges due to its sheer proximity to Manhattan, schools, clubs, beaches, parks, transportation and the exceptional lifestyle that is afforded by living here.
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