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Real Estate

Home Sales Remain Brisk In Greenwich Market In First Quarter

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GREENWICH, Conn. -- Greenwich's residential real estate activity stayed brisk in virtually every section of town, price point and housing option during an interesting first quarter.

According to a quarterly report provided by Houlihan Lawrence, sales fell 7.2 percent in Greenwich compared with the first quarter last year. The median sale price fell 18.2 percent compared with the first quarter of 2014. But 90 transactions were still recorded in the quarter, and some homes received multiple bids.

“All of the sectors did pretty well,’’ said Joe Valvano, managing broker for Coldwell Banker Previews International in Greenwich. “The interest rates are relatively low and the financial markets are pretty stable. The Dow Jones average is around 18,000, and consumer confidence is up. Those are all pretty good numbers.”

The report from Houlihan Lawrence also provided some other interesting numbers:

  • North of the Merritt Parkway in Greenwich, homes sold 30 percent faster than a year ago. Homes also sold closer to their asking prices.
  • South of the Parkway, the average home price is up 28 percent in the part of town near schools and Greenwich Avenue. The average price per square foot rose 15 percent, and homes are selling closer to their asking prices.
  • Pending home sales rose 6 percent in Old Greenwich.
  • The condo market is hot. Pending home sales jumped 23 percent as first-time home buyers, downsizers and those seeking relief from heavy tax burdens in Westchester County move into town.

“The weather played a role and caused a lot of buyers to stay in New York City,’’ said David Haffenreffer, branch manager of Houlihan Lawrence’s Greenwich office. “Still there were a number of deals that got done.”

Activity escalated in several price points, especially in the $4 million to $5 million and $5 million to $7.5 million ranges, Valvano said.

“There was a number of new construction homes that were going to highest and best offers,’’ he said. “That’s a good sign for that segment of the market. In most of those cases they were making offers even before the house was finished.”

Low interest rates and the ability to see value sparked interest in homes north of the Merritt Parkway, Haffenreffer said, where the median sale price fell 43.9 percent compared with the first  quarter of 2014.

“The buyer is extremely value-oriented,’’ he said. “This part of town has been slower to recover than the other areas since the downturn. Home buyers are seeing the value and that’s leading to a shorter time on market.”

The average days on market in that section of Greenwich fell 31.1 percent.

The condominium figures in Greenwich showed a strong demand for that lifestyle. Units sold increased by 19.2 percent, and the average sale price shot up 17.4 percent over the same period last year. The average sale price for a Greenwich condo in the first quarter was $1,025,548.

“What we’re seeing is a major message,’’ Haffenreffer said. “The ones that are in town and within walking distance to Greenwich Avenue have that checklist that buyers want.”

Homeowners need to have their homes priced right as they enter the pinnacle of the spring market, Valvano said. 

“Generally, those properties that show well and are priced right, that’s when you get your greatest number of showings and greatest number of bids,’’ he said.

Click here for the first quarter report from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties. The Houlihan Lawrence quarterly report is attached as a PDF.

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