Rules of Thumb, Variance and Agents

Mary Stuart Freydberg of Sotheby's International Realty analyzes Greenwich single family sales

This week I took a look at year to date sales in Townwide Greenwich, which includes Greenwich, Cos Cob, Riverside and Old Greenwich, to see if any patterns are emerging for 2017 with respect to sales price, assessed value and original asking price. So far this year, there have been 213 single family sales reported on the Greenwich MLS ranging from $425,000 to $19,250,000. Eighty percent have traded at less than $3.5 million.

Buyer’s Market Continues – With Exceptions

First I pulled data comparing sales price and original list price. Greenwich is home to valuable inventory and like the rest of the nation, the luxury sales market as been weak. The year to date numbers confirm the buyer’s market. Sellers are indeed more willing to take a discount to asking price at the high end of the market, where supply significantly exceeds demand.

Of note, at all price ranges there are meaningful variances. Walking the properties provides insight to real opportunities and reasons to hold firm at all price points. Ten homes that sold for under $1 million closed at more than the original asking price. Most of the homes were at least 30 – 40 years old and had not been renovated, suggesting they may be targeted for upside potential.

Assessment Ratio Consistent Across Price Spectrum – But With Large Variables

Second, I pulled data comparing sales price and assessed value. In Greenwich, properties are reassessed every five years and upon the issuance of a certificate of occupancy. Assessed value is a lagging indicator and uses a broad brush in valuations (on-site inspections are completed only if a town permit has been required). We would not expect a strict rule of thumb.

There is a wide range in the ratio across all price points, reflecting both the assessor’s framework and substantial differences in opinion of value.* The largest variations are for properties with new construction because assessed values have not caught up with true market value. Homes with significant renovations can also trade at many multiples of assessed value.

As a side note and of Interest, the trendline for assessed value verses sales price is flat showing no meaningful difference along the value spectrum. So even if there are wide gaps on specific properties, there does not appear to be any inherent bias as it relates to assessed value.

Value Agent Insight Over Rules of Thumb

While it may be tempting to use a rules of thumb when valuing Greenwich real estate, you should beware. You could be leaving a significant amount of money on the table or loose a sales opportunity. Do not yield in price in negotiations or forgo a sale in order to honor a rule of thumb. Only a local agent who actively and regularly tours listings can help you anticipate the best value and advise you accordingly.

Open Houses

June 4, 2017 Open House Report (click link)* Come see me at 21 Stanwich Lane.

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Mary Stuart
20 years professional real estate advice.
Mary Stuart G Freydberg, Sotheby's International Realty
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