The Greenwich housing market had been cooling off significantly over the last 12-18 months - that was, until the government tried to keep everybody quarantined in Manhattan.
We had written several articles talking about how the market was imploding as far back as April 2019 and how, at the beginning of 2020, almost no houses in the area were being sold without concessions or price cuts.
The state of the union for Greenwich in January of this year was that sales listings were falling...
...and buyers were demanding discounts.
Now, thanks to the government mandated quarantine of New York City, interest in homes in the area has skyrocketed - no longer for luxury long term housing, but rather as short-term rental escapes from the pandemic's epicenter in the city.
City-dwellers are now bidding up leases in the Connecticut town, which has suddenly become a hot spot for people who have the financial means to make their way out of the city, according to Bloomberg.
Joanne Mancuso, an agent at Houlihan Lawrence, said: “It kind of builds. You got a couple of calls, and then all of sudden, the flurry came in.”
A listing that she had been shopping for $32,000 per month - a 9,261 sq. foot house on North Street with a pool - recently found a tenant who was willing to pay 56% more than the list price. The owners had previously sought a yearlong tenant when they put the house on the market in January. There were no takers, despite 6 people looking at the house.
During the week of March 16, when NYC closed schools, interest in the home suddenly surged. Three offers came in over the course of just 48 hours. The owners went with the tenants who wanted to stay the longest: 10 weeks. The renters are a family, with their grandparents and children, from Manhattan who "wanted to get out [to Greenwich] as soon as possible".
In March, 53 single family homes in Greenwich were leased, which is nearly double the 27 from March 2019. In about 25% of the deals, tenants agreed to pay above the asking rents.
So far in April, 32 lease agreements have been signed compared to 14 last year. Homes are being rented for an average of $15,172, up from $8,817. 5 of the 32 deals this month went off above the asking price. One 3,200 sq. foot home that was being listed for $8,000 per month found a tenant for $8,700.
Broker Blake Delany seems to think the rental interest could help sales later this year. It reduces the amount of homes available to buy and promotes living in the town, Delany said.
“Interest in the Greenwich market will have increased. A lot of tenants are going to see that living in the suburbs is quite nice.”