"Reality Is Officially Here": Nobody Buying Homes In Greenwich Is Paying Top Dollar Anymore

Today in optimistic real estate news...

...almost all housing in Greenwich is now selling for discounts to the sticker price. 90% of single family deals that closed in the fourth quarter were for less than what the seller was asking, according to Bloomberg. This marks the biggest percentage of deals dating back to mid 2017.

The average discount to the asking price was 9.6%, according to appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

But the best news is that the price cuts didn't do much to improve sales, which fell by 12% from a year earlier to 117. However, they did contribute to a decline in Greenwich's listings - the biggest decline since Q1 2017 - as owners refused to discount their properties. 

Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel said: “Reality is officially here. We’re getting to a point where they have to decide: Do they want to ever sell, or do they want to withdraw?”

Homeowners in the area are adjusting to the climate where even wealthy buyers have become sensitive to price. Wall Street bonuses have been on the decline and shoppers are showing less interest in oversized estates far from transit and retail. New tax laws that limit deductions have also acted as a headwind for the area.

Dealmaking hasn't increased in any of the last five quarters, but low mortgage rates still have buyers on the prowl for value. Contracts at the end of the year pricked up slightly, which could suggest a stronger Q1 on its way. As of Dec. 31, there were 74 transactions pending, which is up 54% from the year prior. 

David Haffenreffer, manager of the Greenwich office of Houlihan Lawrence: “At the right price there’s always an audience.” 

“People are recognizing there are deals to be had,” he continued.

One section of town, north of the Merritt Parkway, saw deals jump 54%. The area is replete with sprawling estates set back from "winding two lane roads". It was the largest increase for any neighborhood, but was the area where the buyers also got the largest discounts. 

The neighborhood was also home to the biggest sale of the quarter, after the owners of an estate took a 45% haircut from a price they paid in 2010. The estate sold once belonged to Mel Gibson and sold last month for $13.25 million after being on the market for seven years.