Column: Our Neighborhoods: Report
By Mark Pruner
The last couple of months have been good for some neighborhoods in Greenwich and no areas have really gotten worse. Having said that, the overall Greenwich market is still weak with over 19 months of supply. A couple of smaller areas, Pemberwick and North Mianus, both with 7 listings each stand out, but it’s not enough to move the whole market. The two areas that are large and are getting better are in north Greenwich.
The area that gets the prize for most improved is North of the Parkway. In backcountry months of supply is down to 29 months of supply from 40 months of supply at the end of April. We have had 26 sales in backcountry YTD and picked up 15 of those 26 sales in just the last two months. Our inventory is also up but should be falling soon as more sales hit the MLS and the number new listings coming on the market slows as sellers and their agents wait for the fall market.
The 26 sales in backcountry total $91 million. This is almost as much as the $96 million of sales in Old Greenwich, where we have seen 41 sales. While backcountry has fewer sales, it has the highest average sales price at $3.5 million dollars, while Old Greenwich’s average sales price is $2.3 million. However, Old Greenwich has the lowest months of supply for any large area of town at 12 months. This is less than half of the 29 months of supply in backcountry. What we are seeing in backcountry are prices that more nearly reflect today’s value and value-oriented buyers stepping in to buy these houses.
Many of these buyers are also younger families who came of buying age after the Great Recession and have never really seen prices go up, and certainly, not in double digits in one year like they did in several pre-recession years. Today’s buyers are going where the values are and they have a lot of good options in backcountry. As a result of this influx of young families Parkway Elementary School had to add a third kindergarten class this year.
Prices in backcountry are down. Based on the sales price to assessment ratio, prices in backcountry are down 5.1% since the last revaluation in October 2015 or about 1.3%/year. Activity started to turn around in the 4th quarter of last year and is continuing to get better.
Now better here is a relative term. For the sellers that bought in the bubble from 2004 – 2008, they are not getting their money back. You have to go back to the 20th Century to find buyers that consistently seeing a profit, but that is much of backcountry as folks that buy there tend to hold for years and decades.
While backcountry is still not a strong market, we are seeing the trends go in the right direction.
Mid-country is also seeing this same trend increase in activity as months of supply dropped from 34 months of supply to 23 months of supply. Once again there are some real bargains to be had, particularly for those people that are willing to do some work. One great way to get a real value is to do what developers do and buy an older house and add today’s buyers’ de rigueur requirements of walk-in closets, spacious bathrooms and quartz-topped, kitchen islands.
The other area where we are seeing significant improvement over the last two months, and to relief of many of its residents, is Riverside. Riverside got off to a very slow start this year, but it is trying to make up for lost time with 23 houses sold in the last two months after only 11 houses were sold in the first 4 months of 2019.
Cos Cob & Glenville are both doing about the same over the last couple of months as they did earlier in the year. The market there can best be described as slow but steady. Cos Cob’s inventory went up by 8 to 61 houses, but at the same time it’s list price to sales price ratio improved to 88.0% from a weak 84.4%.
So Old Greenwich, Riverside, North Mianus, Pemberwick and Byram are the better parts of the market, while north and south of the Parkway are improving.