First and foremost, I want to thank all of my clients for helping make 2011 a great year. I closed on 20 houses (13 sales, 7 rentals) in 2011, which was is my best year so far and owe it all to my wonderful clients. I enjoyed working with everyone and appreciate the business. I also want to thank the many people who referred business to me. The referral business is a huge part of my pipeline and I am grateful for every lead sent to me.
Looking back on 2011, I am pleased to say that the Greenwich Real Estate market held up well. I am not going to sugarcoat it and tell you that it was a banner year and that I only see signs of the market improving from here on out. When viewed from a macro-level, 2011 was still a very slow year. We did not see the level of transactions that we had a couple years ago and we might never again. As I mentioned in a previous blog/email, I think we might be witnessing the beginning of the new "normal" in real estate movement.
In Greenwich, CT, I feel that the baseline level of transactions should be roughly around 625 houses sold per year. This is not the 750+ that we saw in 2007, but also higher than what we have witnessed in the past two years. I am a strong believer that we are bouncing along the floor of our pricing, but also admit that I do not know when we will start to see price increases. I am confident in recommending a purchase (for investment purposes) with a 5+ year horizon, but have a hard time confidently supporting shorter horizons. I see several factors that continue to affect the Greenwich (as well as national) market and keep it from a proper level of equilibrium/harmony.
Obviously the biggest factor keeping the Greenwich CT Real Estate market out of sync is the questionable economy. As discussed in several previous blogs, residential real estate is almost entirely priced upon perception, so if anything were to affect perception and confidence the residential real estate market takes a hit. Certain areas of residential real estate are hit harder than others. For one, the second home market has been hit much harder than the primary home market. This is obviously because those who need money will unload their vacation homes before their primary residence's. Another factor that we are starting to see is that second and third tier markets are taking a harder hit than first tier markets as those who have money are starting to realize they can afford to upgrade to the better location (flight to quality). Greenwich is fortunately on the right side of the trade for both of these factors.
I have worked with a lot of clients recently who have said they want to buy in Greenwich because of the low taxes (about 1/3rd of NY taxes), which is normal, but now I hear more and more clients say that they think they can afford to live in better neighborhoods than they used to look at because the prices have come down. You used to need well north of $1,000,000 to buy a decent first home in Greenwich, but now you can find some great single families in the $700k range, especially in areas of Cos Cob and North Mianus, and you can find apartments in the $200-$300k range all through town.
This doesn't mean that all levels of real estate in Greenwich are lowering dramatically in price, it just means that there are many affordable areas of town. On the high-end we have still seen some major trades and there are some fantastic homes on the market right now in the $10 to $20m range, which once commanded prices starting with a "3" or even "4".
I find myself fortunate to work in a town with such diversity in product. Covering over 65 square miles and housing a population of over 60,000 people, Greenwich has a lot to offer. I really consider it 4 neighboring towns that include Old Greenwich, Riverside, Cos Cob and downtown Greenwich, but within those towns we have several communities including Glenville, Byram, North Mianus and Pemberwick to name a few. I've been able to work $1,500 rentals and $23 million estate sales, which is what I find to be so much fun about the job.
Scott Elwell Real Estate Agent - MBA- GreenwichCT.com Greenwich Fine Properties 191 Mason Street, Greenwich, CT 06830 Mobile: 203.940.0444 : Email: firstname.lastname@example.org