The Greenwich Real Estate Market: What You Need To Know

shops on Soundbeach Avenue in Old GreenwichMore than a few times, we’ve witnessed guests fall in love with Greenwich on their first visit.

 

They immediately plan their next visit to look at homes for sale in the Greenwich, CT, real estate market.

 

This is actually a normal trend in Greenwich’s history.

 

Since the construction of the railroad, the town has a long history of New Yorkers, especially, following a similar trend:

  • They visit on vacation and stay at one of the Greenwich hotels
  • They buy or build a vacation home here
  • That second home becomes their full-time home

 

And it makes sense.

 

Greenwich, and nearby cities and towns like Stamford, Darien, and New Canaan, are the closest Connecticut towns to New York City. This area has long been a draw to city dwellers tired of the hectic lifestyle of downtown living.

 

The commute back is easy, yet the Connecticut shoreline feels far more bucolic.

 

Before the pandemic, local residents could tell when New York City investment banks paid bonuses based on when mansion purchases were trending.

Recent history of the real estate market in Greenwich, CT

Historic home in the fallTo understand the Greenwich real estate market, you need to go way back.

Kidding.

We’ll start with the new millennium.

The Great Recession’s effect on Greenwich real estate

With the start of the Great Recession, the market for real estate in Greenwich, CT, tanked.

 

Houses sat on the market for months, even years, waiting to be sold. Several speculators moved into the homes they’d started building before the recession, just to avoid bankruptcy.

 

There were even a few photos in national magazines of mega-mansions in town; abandoned, with leaves blowing inside.

 

 While no part of America escaped the recession, Greenwich felt a level of paucity much of its citizens didn’t think was possible here.

 

Many restaurants and shops closed on Greenwich Avenue.

 

Most surprising of all, money became a much more frequent overheard topic while out around town.

 

The Greenwich Real Estate Market Comes Roaring Back

But the resurgence of Wall Street brought a new influx of money to the market for real estate in Greenwich CT.

 

In the same regard as the even hotter real estate market in New York, the global elite see Greenwich real estate as a safe investment, as well. Many wealthy people from abroad flood into the market, looking for a safe investment when their home economy starts to head in a negative direction.

 

This was the period when real estate here became famous, or infamous. The now famous Copper Beech Farm, was the most well-known example.

Pandemics and recent updates to the Greenwich, Connecticut, Real Estate Market

boats in the marina in Cos Cob HarborAs the pandemic took hold, people felt trapped in high-rise buildings where they lived in close quarters with their neighbors.

 

This presented further incentive to seek:

  • Wide open spaces
  • A more private lifestyle
  • Fresh air
  • An elevator-free ride to reach home

And Greenwich real estate was a close target to get all of those added amenities.

 

Here’s what you need to know about the current state of the Greenwich real estate market, the busiest market in the entire state of Connecticut.

 

Greenwich Supply and Demand

 

In August 2021, inventory in the housing market took a turn for the worse with an all-time low of 259 single-family homes for sale.

 

As fall is upon us, anxious prospective buyers hoping to find their dream home in Greenwich are chomping at the bit in the hopes more sellers will be putting their highly desirable homes on the market.

 

Demand continues to drive prices higher, and hopefully, for buyers’ sakes, sellers will be enticed to list with the allure of a profitable sale.

 

July this year led the way for the most sales, and despite lower inventories, August 2021 was 43% above the 10-year average.

The WOOFH Trend

 

Helping to drive sales in not just Greenwich but throughout Connecticut is the WOOFH trend. With more people homebound thanks to the Work Often or Occasionally From Home gang, people continue to see the benefits of moving away from their city homes since they no longer need to contend with the dreaded commute. This is a major factor impacting low inventories, as well as growing demand.

 

In fact, compared to pre-Covid numbers, local realtors report a drop of 54% in inventory compared to September 2019. There is also an increase of sold homes from those happy days of over 100% rising from 393 in 2019 to 752. The end result is a supply that went from 13 months pre-covid to just three months turnaround today. There’s also been a significant drop in days on market from 235 to 103.

 

Where to Live in Greenwich, Connecticut

Greenwich offers something for everyone from bucolic estates to smalltown, downtown homes.

 

And all spread into an area geographically larger than metropolitan Paris.

 

Not sure where to start?

 

You can also consider Greenwich, CT, real estate rentals to decide if the lifestyle is right for you.

 

Here are some key areas to consider:

Back Greenwich

gate leading to a mansion in Back GreenwichLocated north of the Merritt Parkway between New York State to the West and North and Stamford to the East, Back Greenwich offers acreage and serenity.

 

Although it might be best known for grander homes of the rich and famous, you are still apt to find smaller homes in a wide variety of styles. The quiet open spaces, and splendor of the estates definitely call for higher price tags.

 

But don’t discount the area as you’ll still find homes for sale that actually sit below the $1 million mark.

 

It’s hard to resist the:

  • old stone walls
  • lush pastures
  • winding roads
  • mature trees
  • dazzling lakes and brooks

That offer a peaceful life in an almost fairy tale setting.

 

It’s also a golfers’ paradise and horse country, offering all the charm of a Connecticut lifestyle. In fact, one of the most unique attractions in all Connecticut is here, the Greenwich Polo Club.

Byram

Bordered by Long Island Sound and the Byram River, this lovely area is located in the southwest corner of Greenwich on the New York border. It is popular with its diverse selection of homes, just a short distance of 30 miles from Manhattan.

 

The closest train station to Byram is either just over the border in Port Chester, NY, or the downtown Greenwich station.

 

You’ll find a fair share of estates, but a good collection of family homes, making it a popular choice for young families who can still find homes in the $700,000’s.

 

It is a cozy suburb, without that typical suburban feel, thanks to its history and location.

Central Greenwich

Civil War Memorial monument in downtown GreenwichAs the name implies, if you want to live in the center of it all, Central Greenwich surrounds the town’s busy Main Street sloping towards Long Island Sound.

 

As the old cliché goes, downtown Greenwich combines small-town charm with big-city amenities with:

  • A gorgeous waterfront
  • Cultural attractions like museums and art galleries
  • And all the shops and restaurants you’ll need on Greenwich Avenue and nearby

 

You have your pick of Central Greenwich’s most popular neighborhoods including:

  • Millbrook
  • Belle Haven
  • Indian Harbor
  • Mead Point
  • Rock Ridge

From spacious mansions to tiny historic homes, you are sure to find somewhere to hang your hat.

 

Homes can still be found for under $600,000 right in the heart of Greenwich.

Cos Cob

This sweet hamlet is located on the western side of the Mianus River bordering Stamford, Riverside and Central Greenwich along the Post Road.

 

This writer can speak from the experience of growing up in Cos Cob that it feels like a town all its own, as a distinct Greenwich neighborhood.

 

A little pricier than other areas considered on the lower end, you’ll find homes start closer to the $800,000’s here. But you’ll also find it offers a diverse selection of homes, both historic and modern, large and small.

 

People often seek desirable homes along the river for exceptional views and easy access to water sports and boating. It also has a long history of being the more avant-garde and artistically-inclined community in town.

 

Be sure to visit the Bush-Holley House for more information.

Glenville

Found in the western part of Greenwich, Glenville is located on the falls of the Byram River. Nature lovers flock to this area where the falls and peaceful countryside provide a tranquil existence.

 

From new spacious homes in Sherwood Farm to farmhouses and condos to family homes in an eclectic neighborhood such as Bailiwick, you are sure to find a home to suit your budget and lifestyle.

 

While the median home price here is about $977,000 you can still find homes just below $800,000 or sometimes less, depending on the type of home you are seeking.

 

Mid-country Greenwich

Home to Greenwich’s “Golden Triangle” Mid-country is located south of the Merritt Parkway. 

 

Homebuyers wait for the opportunity to own a home in the triangle, one of the nation’s wealthiest areas. Situated between:

  • North Street on the East
  • Round Hill Road on the West
  • The Merritt Parkway to the North

This is only a small section of the Mid-Country and the peaceful country life it represents. 

 

Its winding roads, and often set back, private homes boast everything from English manors to colonials and farmhouses to contemporary designs. You’ll see some of the country’s most esteemed Greenwich CT mansions dating back to the early 1900s.

 

That said, be prepared to pay from $1,500,000 and up to live in this elite area.

Old Greenwich

Binney Park in Old GreenwichAs the name implies, Old Greenwich is the oldest part of town.

 

The oldest home in town is here, still standing from the 1600s. It actually has a cannon ball lodged in its timber, a holdover from the Revolutionary War.

 

Located along the border of Stamford and reaching on the southwest end to Tod’s Point, Old Greenwich is the quintessential New England beach town.

 

Its New England heritage gives it a sense of mystique where you can almost hear the ghost stories and seafaring tales on the wind. And that’s especially true on the drive to Greenwich Point Park, without question the best of the beaches near Greenwich, CT.

 

Despite its heritage, it has a young, hip vibe that makes it a popular place to not just live, but also visit. The homes are closer together here, so you get a more neighborly sense of community.

 

Smaller properties, waterfront homes, and even a selection of condos make it easy to find something ideal.

 

Prices are on the higher side, starting at about $900,000.

Pemberwick

This charming neighborhood is located on the Western side of Greenwich, south of Glenville.

 

It is a town filled with pride of ownership, with neatly trimmed hedges and iconic picket fences that meet the standards of the American dream.

 

Homes are closer to the higher price range at about $885,000 mostly because there tends to be low inventory.

 

So if you want something under that price mark, you really need to keep an eye out for new listings.

Riverside

If your dream is to live on or near the water, Riverside sits between:

  • The Mianus River
  • Cos Cob Harbor
  • Long Island Sound

 

It’s an interesting area with pricey gated community homes selling upwards of $4 million. And some newer build colonial-style homes or four bedrooms under 2000 square feet come in under $900,000.

Interesting Numbers in Greenwich’s Top Neighborhoods

 

sunset at Cos Cob ParkSo what are real estate agents seeing in the top neighborhoods of Greenwich when comparing pre- and post-Covid sales numbers?

 

A few examples of sales increases, by neighborhood:

  • Old Greenwich: 89%
  • Cos Cob: 157%
  • Glenville: 129%
  • South of the Parkway: 122%
  • Pemberwick: 120%
  • Riverside: 105%
  • South of the Post Road: 103%
  • North of the Parkway: 100%

 

Greenwich realtors are seeing double or more when comparing numbers between 2019 to 2020. And that is the case for the rest of Fairfield County, as well.

 

For example, South of the Parkway down to the Post Road sales volume rose 184% from $295 million to $836 million.

 

Riverside’s average sold price per square foot rose from $540 to $666 between 2019 and 2021. 

 

And Cos Cob?

 

A 19% increase in the average sales price to assessment ratio from August 2019 to August 2021.

 

And what is happening isn’t just in top areas. When looking at the bigger picture, demand is increasing everywhere in Greenwich.

Over Asking Trend

 

In August, when looking at the 733 sales for the year, 40% were sold either for full list price or over asking. That accounts for 161 homes sold over asking, in a market with a price range averaging between $1 to $1.5 million of which 15% were at or over list price sales. The market is seeing a varied price range from the low of $600,000 to a very high of $6.5 million. In the price range of $1.5 to $2.0 million sales account for 12% of the year-to-date sales, and 16% of the homes sold for list or above.

 

But there’s no need to be discouraged, worrying too much about being priced out. Word on the street is that people are only going above price by about 5% or less. So it is still possible to have a home without being too aggressive with your offers.

Rising Sales Trends

 

In pretty much every price range the housing market is still very hot, both here and throughout Fairfield County.

 

The only time you’ll see a drop is in the ultra-high priced homes in the $6.5 to $10 million range. This group accounts for just 3.4% of all sales.

 

But this doesn’t mean people aren’t willing to pay for homes in that price range.

 

This group is still seeing over listing bids and people are still looking for homes in this very pricey category.

 

These homebuyers understand if they want to live in Greenwich they have to pay for the privilege. Very few come searching without an understanding that sellers expect to see offers that are at least the list price. 

 

Multiple offers for homes for sale in Greenwich

 

Multiple offers can be expected, and shouldn’t necessarily frighten.

 

We’ve found the guests we accommodate often come here with an attitude that they have nothing to lose. They have a home elsewhere, but would prefer to settle down in Greenwich. As such, they don’t have to put all their cards on the table, nor do they have to put their own home on the line.

 

And most importantly, they can take their time with their search.

 

Multiple offers also call for a strategic approach. It is smart to choose a real estate agent who knows the market and will help you put in the best offer.

 

It’s also important to realize the best offer isn’t always about price. Terms come into play as well and can make a difference in whether an offer is accepted or not.

Plan a trip to explore Greenwich

holiday lights on Greenwich AvenueGreenwich is home to smaller neighborhoods with their own unique stories, streets and micro-communities. The combination of unique neighborhoods that make-up the large town is one of the things that makes the town so intriguing.

 

But be sure to check out town before you decide to fork-over the big bucks for a home.

 

Don’t forget to read the guide to the attractions, activities, and things to do in Greenwich, Connecticut to get a preview of what draws so many people here. You can also download a free copy of the Greenwich, CT, Visitor’s Guide.

And before you plan your Greenwich CT real estate house hunt, reserve a spot at our downtown Greenwich bed and breakfast inn. You’ll have the ideal place to rest up before heading out on the search for your dream house.


Updated and re-published on October 28, 2021

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