Greenwich Realtors Boosters Association

Greenwich Realtors Boosters Association

The Mickster, as optimistic as only an Irish Guinness salesman can be, writes in to comment on the amazing housing recovery here in town and “New Normal” who is either another agent or a desperate Greenwich homeowner goes even farther than the Mickster in damp-panty enthusiasm:

“Chris Fountain himself will tell you this is probably the busiest Jan and Feb he has had in a while; call it anecdotal or fudging the numbers as much as you want, transactions are happening at a much more rapid pace than normal.”

Well okay, are we seeing the normal spring market or are we really observing a phenomenal recovery? Let’s go to the videotape, and compare  January February contracts and accepted offers:

2013: 120

2012: 119

2011: 120

2010: 115

2009: 84

2008: 123

2007: 145

2006: 157



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33 responses to “Statistics

  1. The New Normal

    looks like highest since 2008 (Feb is not over) – sounds inline with new home sales you tried to debunk earlier

    in reality, weather plays into it as well, and given the unseasonable warmth last winter (warmest on record in 50 years) vs the cold this year (coldest since 2006) to be up only slightly y/y is understated

    • So you’re blaming global warming? (FYI, I used the same february cut off date for all years, to account for our still being in February)

      • The New Normal

        it was cold and there was snow cover a few weeks, which deters buyers and prevents househunting vs last year when there was almost none

        December 2012 was pretty busy too if I recall, as people wanted to unload houses ahead of the capital gains tax increase

        in reality there are two sides to every story – right now the buy side for almost every asset is more compelling given TINA environment due to 0% rates and stable(r) outlook

      • Anon

        Two weeks ago no one could look on the weekend because of the snow storm, and last Saturday was an awful rainy day, so many people stayed in. Only last Sunday was really a day where buyers were likely to be out there. After that depressing Saturday, many buyers were probably so bummed out that they stayed home. You are down to Sunday and Feb 2 and 3 as househunting days for this month.

        I do think people consider the ability to drive safely in deciding whether to look, and you cannot drive safely in Greenwich with the icey rain or snow.

  2. Anon

    A lot of big deals had to close in 2012. There is much lower inventory now than before. I think you need to look at 3 months and not 2 to be sure the change in tax law does not affect CF’s conclusions..

  3. Cos Cobber

    The decks are being cleared…those who have held off buying a house since 2008 recognize the bottom is really in and now they are rushing in before the interest rate and pricing train leave the station. The question is, with 8% unemployment, anemic job growth in the northeast and future income taxes far more likely to raise for high earners than fall, is there really support to push prices higher after the sruge of good credit and long time renters clear?

    • Anonymous

      I agree CC. I am a recent ex-nycer home owner who rented 2 years then bought last spring. I have loads of ex city dweller friends who could very easily afford to buy but choose to keep renting due to uncertainty of economy and lack of “affordable” inventory especially in the Riverside school district.

  4. Chief Scrotum

    Maybe Greenwich and the Upper East Side (meaning low 60s to low 80s, east of Third to Central Park) are hopping, but take a drive north of exit 5 and see whats happening there.

    I recently saw a few houses in Ridgefield, where I was handed a list of the improvements made by the current owner. In two houses the owners rounded up their kitchens’ updates to exactly $100Gs and then worked their way down to $350 for some lighting fixtures. One owner even included a love letter about why they loved the house. These folks expected to be paid (at a 100% payout rate) for improvements they did 10-20+ years ago, which many of us consider normal maintenance, like new roofs and yard work.

    The smell of desperation was so strong that I thought the owners had put out a collection plate somewhere or were having a bake sale later.

  5. Walt

    Dude –
    As you well know, I avoid posting in dirt posts. Firstly, because I find them incredibly boring, and second and penultimately, because it is how you scratch out your meager, miserable existence. Which I think you deserve.

    Anyhows, as you know, I am a numbers guy. Amongst the most sophisticated of sophisticated investors. So I find it quite comical, when sellers of dirt, who can’t find their ass with both hands, try to analyze data and reach logical conclusions. You rely on empirical evidence, and hope it supports what you want to believe. You chase unicorns.

    Get your heads out of your big fat asses and look around. Look at the big picture, you bottom dwelling vermin. Greenwich will never be as desirable as it was 20 years ago. Nay!! Neigh!! TEN YEARS AGO!!
    It has lost its competitive advantage. Lower taxes than NY, and proximity to NY. We are on par in taxes, and technology has eliminated the need to be close to NY. Wall Street can work anywhere. Including outside of the United States.

    So who buys in Greenwich now? The billionaires who could care less. And they are few and far between. Or the bottom dwellers who will pay $1.0 million for a double wide, to say they live in Cos Cob. Like Honey Boo Boo.

    The Greenwich bread and butter – the 30 something snot nosed trader, with a hottie little nympho wife, with a spectacular set of bolt ons, counting on a $3.0 million bonus every year – ARE GONE. Those were the plankton you fed on.

    And they drove the market. They are buggy whips. And so, alas, are you.

    So learn to deal with it, and adapt. I got to use alas Dude!! I have been waiting years for that!!

    Brunch tomorrow?
    Your Pal,

  6. Anon

    Problem is that NY City has gotten to be over the top in expense. I bought here for about $3,500 a month not counting down payment on over an acre. Good school district. People are going to go broke staying in NYC with kids. What can you get for $3,500 a month in NYC? Westchester does have much higher taxes. A house comparable to mine – my taxes are $7,000ish – while the same house in Scarsdale approaches $30,000. The end is near for many families in NYC. They have to move. Many will come here, economy or not. They need a place to live affordably with good schools, and Greenwich has that in abundance.

    • Anon

      For any reader of this blog who is interested, this is the link to Urban Digs, which tracks NY City real estate activity.

    • GreenITCH

      I agree with most of what you said … but according the the following NYT article ( a decent read on middle class and cost of NYC ) ” Only 17 percent of Manhattan households have children, according to census data” .. that to me seems like not as many coming up from NY to burbs given demographics …. that said it does give evidence to the outrageous cost of living in the city

      • The New Normal

        there are almost 800k households on the island of Manhattan

        even 17% of that big number is still more than double the number of total homes in Greenwich

  7. Mickster

    People will ALWAYS want to live in Greenwich, CT. Our town has an international reputation for quality. World-famous retail brand want to have flagship stores on Greenwich Ave.

    No town within commuting distance of Manhattan has the same cache. Period.

    We are not selling dirt as Walt says, we are selling Greenwich lifestyle. We’re selling polo matches, lacross games, debutante balls, junior league, beach volleyball, adult pickup soccer matches..the list is endless….

    And while most of the male shut-ins who frequent this site can’t appreciate that, its’ a fact. People want to be able to say they live in Greenwich, CT.
    Nothing says “you’ve arrived” like Greenwich, CT

    There is no town that has the same combination of well-run facilities, including parks, beaches, etc etc etc etc

    All these buyers who are doing deals between snow storms obviously feel the same way. And this will happen year after year.

    and I wouldn’t live anywhere else…..

    • And are the Irish permitted at those polo matches, debutante balls and Junior League soirees? Other than to pick up the horse shit?
      In Greenwich, the only time an Irishman is permitted to shout “I’ve arrived” is when he shows up at the service entrance with his wheelbarrow.

      • Mickster

        The best horse breeders in the world are Irish. We also produce the best burgers – co-incidence? I think not…giddyup

      • Mickster

        Let’s hope those Irishmen who wear uniforms and guns around our great Town resemble those remarks….GPD Folk where are you when I need you?

  8. Deepak

    CF, your stereotypes, like your political views, are stuck in the 1940’s.

  9. Chief Scrotum

    “…We’re selling polo matches, lacross games, debutante balls, junior league, beach volleyball, adult pickup soccer matches..the list is endless….”, has to be one of the funniest and most ironic comments on CF’s blog. Ever!

    • Mickster

      You’re welcome…

      Let’s face it, we can no longer tout our school system – several of our elementary schools are failing the kids abysmally. It’s also, I suspect, the reason Old Greenwich and Riverside real estate markets do so well. Most of our housing stock is old and inferior – that’s why new construction will always do well here. People coming from out-of-state (not NYCers) can’t believe the condition of many of our houses. Our taxes are getting up there every year. So what’s left?

      The Greenwich lifestyle, baby!!

      I remember sitting in my car a few years ago watching an elderly couple getting out of their car, the husband being given a dressing-down to by his feisty wife for what seemed like 10 mins, only to realize that is was Judges Judy and Jerry!

      Where else can you sit at Mass next to one of best baseball players in the U.S.?

      Many of the most successful people in business, arts, sports and entertainment have chosen and continue to chose Greenwich as the place to raise their families.

      They can’t all be wrong.

  10. Anonymous

    Ive been in town 20 years and i am not sure i have ever seen anyone play beach volleyball .. perhaps that is going on at the CCs ? …anyhow .. this an intereresting article ,somewhat aiding Greenwich ” dirt ” market as appears Jumbo rates spread to conforming has come down and appears more lenders back in that market …FWIW ….

    • Mickster

      “For the four weeks ending February 22, new jumbo activity was up 60 percent from the same period a year ago, according to Mortgage Daily, a trade publication that has been consistently reporting year-over-year increases in jumbo activity. ”
      Considering that less than half of this is refinancing there is definitely a shift going on.
      Thx for the info, Anon
      It confirms what I’m seeing out there.

  11. Anon

    Some of the comments on this blog about condition and age of houses are over the top.

    My very successful grandparents lived on the Upper West Side in an unrenovated prewar apartment. Original kitchen. Original baths. Everything was servicable. It was just about 65 years old when both had passed away and maybe 40 years old when they moved in. Never occurred to them to renovate. They could have afforded it many times over, but renovation was wasteful to them.

    Houses losing their shelf life because they were built in the 1950s? Renovations needed on areas that may not have been used but occasionally since then? Renovations needed on perfect kitchens from the 1980s when the counters, floor, backspashes and appliances are relatively new and the cabinets are in mint condition?

    People who think this way must have been born with a silver spoon in their mouth. Everything in these houses is in move in, usable condition. The houses are often lovely midcountry or backcountry houses in lovely settings with good schools.

    Where are you guys coming from? The economy of waste where everything that is not brand spanking new is disposable.?

  12. Chief Scrotum

    I love all the anon’s and their happiness and life is roses comments! So inspiring!

    I love that someone moved to Greenwich (Greenwich!! for the high life!!) and equates moving to G’wich with a per month payment! Must, must be the junior league,polo playing and parents of deb society!

    Oh and don’t forget that for every 1% increase in mortgage rates, “purchasing power” falls 10%. So for the genius’ who are loading up on real estate, at low interest rates, when they go to unload, unless the 30something trader Walt told us about returns in a big way, who is the buyer? Because the next buyer may face a more normalized 5%+ mortgage rate, which would equate to a 15%+ drop in “purchase power” from today. And in a declining real income economy, those mid 6 and 7 figure jobs have to come roaring back or today’s buyer, may be tomorrow’s short sale or foreclosure.

    Just sayin’

    • Anon

      If you buy now, you have locked in a relatively good deal on a lot of houses. Most of the activity is in the under $1 million market. No one is contending that market is in immiment collapse or is going to collapse even with an increase in interest rates. Stock market says things are getting better, not worse.

    • The New Normal

      the Fed will only let rates rise if the economy is doing much better

      the game is rigged

  13. Anonymous

    On the anecdotal evidence side .. friends just closing on two Bedroom in Park slope brooklyn .. apparnetly houses ( condos , aparts etc ) running at $ 710 a sq foot …and that isnt even NYC …so at very least with housing prices squeezing hire in NYC and Brooklyn , id imagine will be some spill over to those not wanting to deal with bidding wars in the city

    • Anon

      I know of a classic 6 on the UES closing at an all time high for the building. It is not the base apartment unrenovated plus $250 for renovations. It is the base apartment from 2 years ago plus as much as 50% and it is renovated. Likely the renovations were much less than $250 but not sure. A couple of years ago very hard to sell, let alone in that price range. Now something has happened. As Noah points out on Urban Digs, these prices are not reported yet, and won’t be for a while.

  14. Anon

    Last summer there were a few buys on renovated 3+ bedroom coops on the UES. While the city was away, a few people got good deals on family sized apartments. Now it looks like the cheapest decent classic 7 or 8 in coops on the UES is asking $3.75 (some of these unrenovated) and these come in at pretty close to asking these days.

    It may be a different market from the $3 million market in Greenwich because one needs probably an $8 million net worth to get into these buildings and enough liquid assets to pay the maintenance for a long long time assuming everyone in the family loses their job, which coop boards are finding happens to a lot of people today. Most of these apartments are flying off the shelves at these sky high prices.