Oh my gosh, it says here Greenwich sales are down

By the time Greenwich Time discovers something it’s old news, but nontheless, they’ve learned that our real estate market sucks, and good for them. You’ve got the obilgatory quotes from agents saying all is good, but I thought Russ Pruner was pretty objective:

“I think our numbers are definitely going to exceed last year’s numbers in the second half of the year, just for the pure fact that we had no market at all from Sept. 15 through the end of the year,” Pruner said.

There may be more buyers next year, too, as more people jump into the market. But, Pruner said, “the prices are anybody’s guess.”

10 Comments

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10 responses to “Oh my gosh, it says here Greenwich sales are down

  1. Front Row Phil

    Chris — Please explain how a realtor can be fully objective and of maximum use to a buyer when he’s getting paid by the seller. It’s a tap dance, isn’t it?

    • christopherfountain

      It’s easy, Front Row. If you’re working with a buyer, you spend days, weeks even months with them showing houses. You want them to get the house they want at the best price and it is very simple to ignore the fact that the seller is “paying” the commission – no loyalty to one of 20 sellers. Besides, the commission is paid from the proceeds of the sale and those proceeds come from the buyer.

      But when the same agent treis to represent both seller and buyer, then you have an impossible conflict of interest.

  2. Helsa Poppin

    Talk about grasping at straws. What kind of a ripple effect can an $8000 credit for first time buyers have on Greenwich in the short term? Or the sale of a $20 million mansion?

    Pruner was more objective than the others in the sense that if you read between the lines of his boosterism, the message is “Things are so bad that they can only get better? Right?” and “Hey, sales might pick up. But maybe, just maybe, we’ll be seeing lower prices as well (and please don’t jump all over me for insinuating this the way I jumped all over Fountain!)”

    Do realtors really think they are protecting the market by refusing to face reality head-on? Are they just embarrassed to admit that everybody they helped into a house in the last 5 years drastically overpaid? Are they in the throes of a massive principle-agent problem as they realize that they themselves overpaid on their houses so they want to prop up prices for as long as possible? Are they afraid of getting sued by disgruntled sellers if prices pick up next year? Have they said “Greenwich real estate never goes down” so much that they are incapable of thinking otherwise?

    Actually, there is no way that many people can fool themselves that thoroughly in the teeth of so much evidence to the contrary. Therefore, they must be trying to fool someone else. This article isn’t reporting, it is propaganda aimed squarely at the few people who have a little money saved up and vague plans to buy a house in the next couple of years, trying to convince them to come out of the woodwork and start bidding up a storm. Unfortunately, sellers read this dreck too and so the market is paralyzed.

    I hate to be so negative but it is discouraging to be house-hunting and about 90% of what we see is not merely insanely overpriced (that’s 100% of what we see), it is junk. You heard me. The house and/or the land and/or the location have serious flaws. Such flaws should result in steep discounts, but this isn’t happening. I’m convinced that this ia in part because there isn’t too much really good property on the market. People with really decent houses on good land are hanging on to them, unwilling to sell. Only the anxious are selling, and since they have probably made some poor decisions along the way, it is not surprising that where they chose to live was one of those decisions. Also, those in dire straits have not been maintaining their properties as they should. Is my perception wrong? Do you think the average quality of what’s out there has paradoxically diminished even as more and more houses crowd the market?

    • christopherfountain

      I have no idea, Hellsa – even in Kansas, I don’t see $8,000 doing anythig except maybe paying for a pool cover.

  3. anon

    “the prices are anybody’s guess.”

    So in other words, this guy has no clue, and he’s getting 5% commish for his expertise.

  4. Accolay

    I’d disagree with Helsa. I have seen some gorgeous homes on gorgeous properties that, too, are overpriced for the times. I would blame that on the fact that those dingy homes that you mentioned are still too high, thus a ripple effect of overpriced homes.

    I wouldn’t generalize like you did. Sure, most homeowners with nice homes are hanging on to them, but not all (no, my house is not on the market… yet).

  5. anonymous

    Agree w/Helga that much self-selection occurs re: quality of houses available for sale, esp in a place like Greenwich, so deeply linked to the “career/life cycle” of NYC financiers

    Many/most with resources (and well-defined tastes) build a new house as a young family leaving Manhattan and are unlikely to ever sell that house until divorce or retirement

    Pool of houses for sale (even new specs) are always deeply compromised and perhaps suitable for rent by a family transferred back to NYC from London, etc, needing immediate shelter, but not particularly useful to those who plan their move out of Manhattan more methodically and are unlikely to ever work outside either Manhattan or Greenwich in their career

  6. BackCountryGal

    …..”But when the same agent tries to represent both seller and buyer, then you have an impossible conflict of interest.”

    I thought Connecticut has a law that prohibits one agent representing both parties. I think NY has it now, just to prevent such conflicts of interest. I’ve had that scenario, the broker WAS a good friend, but the friendship took a hit when I felt he, the broker, was not representing my side (buyer) as much as he was the seller. It’s a lose-lose situation.

  7. Arouet

    I’m from Southeast US. I have a brother (firefighter and second time buyer) who just went to contract on a 1950’s era $87K three bedroom-two bath in Maceo, KY. I have a sister (nurse and first time buyer) who just bought a 1993 $137K three bedroom-two bath in Nashville, TN. Make no mistake, that $8000 tax credit was relevant. The dollar is worth a lot less in these Yankee parts (I live in Manhattan). Almost a completely different currency.

    • christopherfountain

      Well unlike in Kentucky, Arouet, Greenwich folks have to buy and wear shoes, so costs are higher. That’s not true in Cos Cob, of course, which explains why that section of town trades at just about Kentucky levels.