The first quarter of 2017 primed the Greenwich residential real estate market with a Feel Good Feeling, and yet there were still mixed reports on the state of the market. If sales are up, why did it feel slow? I took a look at lockbox showings reports in Greenwich, Cos Cob, Riverside and Old Greenwich provided by the Greenwich MLS as a proxy for traffic and interest.
Lockboxes allow a buyer’s agent to show a listed property with the seller’s advance permission. The lockbox provides increased security and facilitates ease of access among agents for those homes most frequently shown. In Greenwich, lockboxes are more typically used on homes on lower price points, with ultra luxury homes often shown in the presence of the listing agent who provides access.
Based on Greenwich MLS lockbox statistics, current lockbox showings are relatively slow. Each of the prior three years settled in below 2012 -2014. Generally speaking, showings are soft but sales shine, suggesting there is a real shift in traffic patterns.
To be sure, there is absolutely no substitute for exploring a market and seeing a house in person. That said, many families are busier today than they ever have been, and so they seek methods to improve the efficiency of the home buying process. Fortunately, the pubic has access to more efficient tools than ever before and real estate agents no longer have a monopoly on information.
Consumers, particularly Millennials, perform a lot of advance research online. Perhaps it feels slower because with so much information available online, there are relatively fewer showings in order to achieve the same goal. It may also be that it is harder to get a prospective purchaser to tour properties that do not show well online, even if they should. Prospective purchasers may also attend more Open Houses before committing to an agent who will provide private tours and access properties via lockboxes.
Regardless of how they may approach this new market, sellers and purchasers should choose an agent who is comfortable working with informed clients, actively seeks to educate their clients, utilizes efficient tools and adds clear value given the new paradigm. After all, a professional agent will do much more than open lockboxes.
Of note, two homes in excess of $3 million just went under contract this week, one after 9 days and the other after 4 days on the market. Each showed beautifully with magazine ready photos of updated homes. Call me to see how to best prepare your home to sell with the new paradigm.
Feature Photo by Christian Spies