Column: 3rd Quarter 2016 Report Active Market Moves Up to $3M
By Mark Pruner
Sentinel Dashboard Editor
September was our second consecutive good month for sales of single-family homes. So far we have had 56 sales in September and we’re still waiting for the reporting of probably 3 to 8 private sales. Once those sales come in we will probably match the 63 sales that we had in 2015; we are already well above the 40 sales that we had in September 2014.
The strong market under $2 million has continued all year and into September. This year we had 18 more sales than we did in September 2015. Over $3 million the high-end sales slump continues with seven fewer sales this September compared to last September. On the good news side, the $2 – 3 million portion of the market has strengthened nicely in the last two months. Our inventory for $2 – 3 million is down 15 houses and contracts are up 3 houses. As a result, our months of supply in that category are down by two months from 14 months to 12 months. So while it’s still very much of a buyers’ market the market is getting better.
We are also seeing the same pattern that we’ve seen the last two years with high-end sales coming on later in the year. Compared to earlier in the year September was a good month for high end sales. We had seven sales over $4 million and we have another seven contracts waiting to close at the high-end.
What was most unusual this year was that for once we had a good inventory under $1 million. That’s no longer the case, I’ve been working with a couple of people who really want to live in Greenwich but can’t find anything that works for them. Stamford has some pretty good deals in this price range and good schools and low property taxes only go so far, particularly if their children are going to private school.
Now you would think with all the inventory that we have at the high-end that everyone could find what they want, but there has been a real sea change in what people are looking for in this price range. A classic example of a house that the owners did a great job of redoing for today’s market is 5 Lindsay Drive. It’s beautifully decorated and cool grays, white carpets even down to the master bath. It will be interesting to see what happens to any of the really beautiful houses that we have that don’t fit what many of the US buyers in this category are looking for.
The great thing is that these houses sit on some beautiful pieces of property and the folks that can afford them, can also afford some pretty radical makeovers. These classic houses are also appealing to both European and Asian buyers so if the dollar drops a little this market may well pick up.
After an interesting start with some high inventories at all levels, the year has settled down and is actually doing better than last year all the way up to $3M. Over that amount the market is not dead it’s just slower than last year with somewhat higher inventory and sales down a little. Old Greenwich, Riverside and central Greenwich continue to be very busy, but so is Cos Cob, where we are seeing some nice new construction. Every year evolves different, but what is surprising is how at the end of the year a lot of these ups and downs even out.