Greenwich Real Estate Market Sends Mixed Messages In 2nd Quarter

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Activity slowed during the second quarter in Greenwich real estate, but the median sale price rose dramatically.
Activity slowed during the second quarter in Greenwich real estate, but the median sale price rose dramatically. Photo Credit: Daily Voice File Photo

GREENWICH, Conn. – Activity dipped but prices rose as the Greenwich real estate market sent mixed messages during the second quarter of the year.

The number of homes sold fell 14.8 percent during the second quarter in Greenwich, according to the quarterly report from Houlihan Lawrence. The average sale price, however, rose 64.2 percent and the median sale price rose 11.7 percent. (The complete quarterly report from Houlihan Lawrence is attached as a PDF.)

The reason for the huge rise in average price was due to the decline in sales of homes under $2 million and the dramatic increase in the sale of homes over $3 million.

For the year, 82 homes over $3 million have sold in Greenwich. There were only 52 sales in that price range for the same time frame last year.

There were eight closed sales over $10 million in the first half of 2014, compared with just one for the first half of 2013.

Meanwhile, a 13 percent decline in inventory for homes under $2 million has put the brakes on the lower end of the market, experts said. Sales fell 28.6 percent for homes under $1 million for the first half of 2014 compared with the first half of 2013. In the $1 million to $2 million price range, sales fell 31 percent.

“It continues to be a market where buyers are looking for new or completely renovated property,’’ said David Haffenreffer, branch manager for Houlihan Lawrence in Greenwich. “It’s a matter of pricing and A+ condition that will draw buyers in. It’s great to see the high end buyer step forward. I think that will eventually trickle down to other categories.”

The biggest upward tick came north of the  Merritt Parkway, which was also the region hardest high by the economic recession. There were 13 homes sold in that area in the second quarter for an average sale price of $4,568,461. That’s an increase of 130.5 percent from last year.

Home sales dropped by 46.2 percent in Cos Cob and 45.8 percent in Riverside. The median sale price fell 14.4 percent in Cos Cob, but rose 12.6 percent in Riverside.

“The fact that inventory is low in the under $2 million price range hurt those areas,’’ said Russ Pruner, broker/owner of Shore & Country Properties. “People just didn’t have the choices they had in the past. We had a tremendous 2013 where homes went quickly if it was price well. We just didn’t have the number of homes available this quarter.”

The number of homes sold south of the Merritt Parkway fell 1.4 percent, but the median sale price rose 56.3 percent to $2,579,000.

South of Post Road, the median sale price fell 17.3 percent and in Old Greenwich, the median sale price rose 18.4 percent to $1,602,500.

Much of the drop in sale for the homes under $2 million was also due to the harsh winter. More homebuyers emerged later in the spring, which could bode well for the rest of the year, experts said.

“We’ve got a lot of agents who are seeing a lot of activity,’’ Haffenreffer said. “The buyers are beginning to come out and looking for homes. They’re looking to get into position in town before the school year begins.”

Pruner agreed with that assessment. 

“Greenwich real estate will always do great," he said. “It’s known worldwide. The only thing we really need is a re-pricing of the inventory to reflect the sales that have transacted. I think you’ll find more buyers out there interested in wanting to purchase. Over the next year, I think you’ll see it’s a pretty good market to sell a house provided the house is priced right according to the location and the condition.”

Attached: (2q14_houlihan_lawrence_greenwich_market_report.pdf)

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