Column: April 2019 Neighborhood Report…


… and, a little bit of May info

By Mark Pruner

MAY UPDATE

This week we are going to look at how each neighborhood in Greenwich is doing, but first let’s see how the market is doing so far in May. On the inventory side we are seeing an increase in inventory with 731 single family home listings. This is up 6.4% from last year’s 687 listings on June 2, 2018, the closest 2018 date I have data for. Our inventory is also up 38 listings from the end of last month.

On the sales and contracts side, we continue to be slower than last year. So far in May we have had 36 sales compared to 53 sales last year and our 10-year average of May sales is 57 houses. Let’s hope we finish with a spurt of sales in the rest of May. Unfortunately, this isn’t likely to happen as we have 110 contracts, which is up 9 contracts from the beginning of the month, but down from the 132 contracts we had at the end of May 2018.

The accumulation of slower sales each month starting in February does have a cumulative effect. Through May 21 we have 145 sales. As of June 2nd last year we had 206. If we add in 10 more sales for the remainder of May we will be at 155 which would be down 51 sales or 25% from last year’s sales.

April 2019 Greenwich Neighborhoods Report

So where are the sales differences by neighborhood for the months we have completed so far. First the good news, Old Greenwich seems to be humming along. We are up 4 sales over last year with 23 sales for a total value of $58 million and an average of 160 days on market. Usually, Old Greenwich and Riverside track pretty closely, for much of the post-recession years, Old Greenwich, particularly south of the village was the hottest area, then the last couple of years Riverside’s numbers have been a little better, but not this year.

Inventory in Riverside is up a little from 78 listings last year to 83 listings this year. At the same time sales are down from 24 sales YTD in 2018 to 11 sales this year. The result is that we were looking at 30 months of supply in Riverside, a surprising number for what has been our hottest market the last couple of years.

This is where the law of small numbers kicks in, which says if you have a small number of data items, it doesn’t take many more data points to make your calculations take a big jump. So if you are a Riverside resident who gets this article emailed to him by an Old Greenwich resident enjoying a little schadenfreude at your expense you can reply that Riverside has had 8 more sales so far in May and the month isn’t over yet, while Old Greenwich has only had 5 sales so far in May.

Besides Riverside, most of our increase in inventory so far this year is in the central area of Greenwich. South of the Parkway is up 29 listings to 240 houses. Just south of that, South of the Post Road is up 15 listings to 69 listings. Sandwiched between those two areas and Riverside, Cos Cob is up 11 listings to 53 sales.

Folks in backcountry have actually seen listings drop this year as they have 109 listings down 4 from last year. To make things even a little better for us folks north of the Parkway, we have 11 sales compared to 10 last year. Part of this is that our listings over $6.5 million, half of which are in backcountry, are actually a little down from last year. The result of this is that backcountry is looking at 39.6 months of supply, still the most in Greenwich, but Riverside is second at 30.2 months of supply.

Purely anecdotally, I had two open houses in backcountry last week with 10 groups at one and 7 at the other, while I only had two groups at an open house I did in Riverside. I’m not worried about Riverside, but it’s an interesting turn around from last year for the moment.

Overall, we are also seeing a drop in the sales price/square foot in most areas, which you would expect to see with somewhat more inventory and reduced sales. Our sales price to original list price ratio is also down with Glenville and Cos Cob seeing the biggest drop in this indicator of supply and demand.

These market changes have now been going on for three months, it is not just a curious blip, it’s a matter for concern as it is affecting most areas of the town and most price points. This is at a time where the economy, the stock market and employment are doing well. Some of this change is probably due to the change in the SALT tax deductible at the federal level. However, the SALT deduction benefitted us last year as our sales were up as New Yorkers with high property taxes elected to relocate to Greenwich.

Sales are slow in Westchester, but why are sales slow in Greenwich? This seems to be a Connecticut problem and it needs to be solved by our legislators in Hartford, doing so would strengthen our housing market and would be good for everyone.

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