Stock markets around the globe rallied and real estate markets are improving across the country, but the blizzard roared in New England and along the Eastern Seaboard reminding us that growth and movement is neither guaranteed nor to be taken for granted. Sometimes, despite all the good, value, effort and success we are presented with significant hurdles. So it was for residential real estate in Greenwich, Cos Cob, Riverside and Old Greenwich in 2017.
We did it. We improved. Townwide Greenwich residential sales in 2017 as compared to the prior year:
- Sales were up 3%
- Volume was up 16%
- Average sales price was up 13%
The marginal rise in the number of sales was supported by improving sales in higher price point ranges, which bodes well for the future. Still, the remaining months of inventory benefits the buyers, and it will take a while to restore seller confidence. The decline in the lower price points may have been the result of a stronger 2016 and picked over inventory.
The improvement was not without challenges. It wasn’t easy. There were many struggles along the way. But on the whole, Greenwich succeeded and surpassed last year.
Owners worked hard to sell their homes. They went through considerable effort to bring their homes to a professional level of showmanship in order to capture online attention with beautifully crafted photographs. Sellers made repairs, renovated kitchens and bathrooms, modernized, upgraded features and professionally staged their home for the benefits of buyers. Some sellers agreed to drop prices, even below purchase price or all in cost. Sellers learned to be flexible.
Buyers conducted more research than any prior generation. They systematically hunted online, prepared paperwork, obtained mortgage pre-approvals, built spreadsheets, saved comps and compared value. It’s not just about the kitchen and number of bedrooms anymore. They toured dozens of homes for extended periods of time. Notwithstanding all the fact finding, they were devastated if they didn’t do their homework and couldn’t perform due to high mortgage hurdles and credit requirements. Buyers lamented that the functional obsolescence in older homes was not easier to adjust to fit their preference for an open floor plan. And yes, some were heartbroken at the loss of a home due to a competing bid. Buyers learned to be prepared.
Location mattered.Generally Speaking. It was a Buyer’s Market (buyer’s have the upper hand in negotiating) in the back country. There were limited sales. South of the Merritt Parkway in Mid-Country and closer to town, negotiating power was generally more even. Owners with houses or tear downs in town and near train stations enjoyed a Seller’s Market (seller’s have the upper hand in negotiating) and may have enjoyed multiple bids. Of course, property condition and other elements also played a considerable role. All else being equal, location mattered.
Price discovery continued. Is a house worth more than its cost to construct if it’s not what you want? Is new construction really worth that much more? How much is my commute time worth? Does it make sense to price high if you know buyers just want to negotiate down? Does pricing right really bring in buyers? Well, there was no guaranty of high traffic counts, but we can assure you there were very few if any showings if it was priced too high.
Personal Note: Sotheby’s Reach and Team
Call me with your referrals nationwide. I toured California over Winter Break and stopped at numerous Sotheby’s International Realty offices along the way. Some select photos of me at our offices in Carmel/Pebble Beach, Coronado, Palm Springs, La Quinta, and Malibou:
Mary-Stuart G Freydberg
20 years professional real estate advice.
Feature photo by: Tyler Feague