6 towns saw an increase and 7 saw a decrease in the number of sales. 3 towns saw an increase and 10 saw a decrease in median closing price. Rowayton and Old Greenwich had very good years. Westport and Riverside had not-so-good years experiencing decreases in both price and volume. (Maybe this is a buying opportunity in those towns?) The median closing price ranges from $488,445 in Norwalk to $1,880,000 in Greenwich, in both cases up from a year ago. The total dollar volume of sales in Fairfield ($541 million) and Westport ($481 million) is higher than Connecticut's 3rd largest city, Stamford ($467 million) but it takes the volume of all 3 to surpass the total dollar volume in Greenwich, now a $1.25 billion real estate market. The total dollar volume for lower Fairfield County is $4.6 billion, a decline of 6.4% in a year. Prices are rising at the bottom of the market. Prices are declining at the top of the market. Therefore, the market is experiencing what we call "compression". The result is lower average and median prices in almost all of our markets, a trend that has been several years in the making and which will continue for a few more years. "Wall Street" experienced a drastic contraction (more than 50%) in both the number of jobs and total compensation paid over the last decade. The effects of that contraction will continue to be felt throughout lower Fairfield County. It is estimated that in the wealthier towns as much as 25% of the jobs are dependent on the finance industry in New York. For the housing market in our area to recover fully we believe that wealth and those jobs must be replaced from both Connecticut's cities and from a surging tech sector in New York City. We are making progress on both fronts as office building vacancy levels in Stamford, 30% vacant a year ago, now 26.7% vacant and projected to be 23.5% in a year. Second, we've begun to see significant investment by Facebook, Google and Amazon on the west side of Manhattan in the last 12 months. Facebook leased 1.5 million feet in November of 2019. And, Google is planning a $1 Billion expansion of their Chelsea offices. And, Amazon leased 335,000 feet in Hudson Yards for 1500 employees in December 2019. Plans are being made to connect our current rail service to Penn Station and those jobs. Specifically Metro North wants to begin service at 4 new stations at a cost of $1.5 billion connecting all those new jobs on the west side of Manhattan to homes in Connecticut by December 2022.
- Cos Cob is a neighborhood within Greenwich with a population of 6,770. There are two schools: Cos Cob elementary with 390 students and Central Middle School with 710 students. Cos Cob schools are ranked #10 in the state by Niche. The Bush-Holley House built in 1730 is a museum there. There is a lot of commercial activity on the Post Road, very little waterfront on Cos Cob harbor. 68% own and 32% rent in Cos Cob. The median home is $1.038 million and $1,882 to rent. Commute times as little as 53 minutes.
This is the slowest year in 8 years. House sales is down 37% to 54. The average price is down 20% to $1.25 million. Inventory is up 18%. Condo sales are up 50% while the average condo price fell 20% to $717,000. Cos Cob is a relatively expensive town and an 83% decline in sales over $3mm from 8 sales to only 1 sale is true all over Fairfield County. Bargains at the high end. Darien
- Darien is New Canaan’s twin with a nearly identical population (21,742), median house value ($1.398 million), school population (4200) and median household income ($208,848). 85% own their homes and 15% rent. Average rent is $2790. Key differences are that Darien has two train stations on the main line (Darien and Noroton Heights) and 3 exits on I-95. The Post Road and interstate pass through the middle of the town’s 5 neighborhoods: Tokeneke, Town Center, Noroton Heights, Noroton and North Darien (Hoyt Street/Camp Ave). Darien’s schools are ranked #9 in the state by Niche and Darien is #13 best place to live. The taxes in Darien
are the second lowest in the State behind Greenwich.
Easton - Easton is a suburb of 7,607 people on 28.6 square miles (half of which is owned by the Aquarion Water Company) with a median home value of $602,000 where 94% own and 6% rent ($1,845/mo) Redding is to the North, Trumbull is to the East, Weston is to the West and the Merritt Parkway provides a natural boundary with Fairfield and Bridgeport to the south. Easton gets an overall grade of A- by Niche with highly rated schools, #22 (Joel Barlow High School, Helen Keller Middle School and Samuel Staple Elementary) and is the 29th best place to live in the state. Easton does not have a train station to Manhattan. Commuters rely on Merritt parkway exit 46. Median household income is $136,786. The number of Easton sales have been steadily increasing since 2012, now 119. Easton has only 5.9 months of inventory, down from 7.8 a year ago. Is it any wonder with an average price unchanged at $605,000 in a market that boasts A+ schools? If you don’t commute to New York City you’re probably looking in Easton (and Redding). Prediction: prices will rise amid low inventory levels. Fairfield - Fairfield is the largest coastal town of 59,404 people on 31.3 square miles bordering the city of Bridgeport to the east and the towns of Trumbull, Easton and Weston to the north and Westport to the west. Money Magazine ranked Fairfield the 44th best place to live in America. Two shopping districts in town include the Post Road and the Black Rock Turnpike. Fairfield is home to two universities, Fairfield University (5,000 students) and Sacred Heart University (8,500 students). Commutes to NYC are between 69 and 83 minutes. There are 5 miles of coast on Long Island Sound including 5 town beaches and a town owned marina with 600 boat slips. The number of sales has risen 5% above the 8 year average to 765, and up 5% from last year. This year we saw a 9% decrease in average price to $706,000, and a 7% decrease in inventory. Condo sales are unchanged at 122 and those prices also declined 7%. The schools are ranked A+ by Niche and the commute to NYC is only 11 minutes further than Westport where homes cost twice as much. High end is soft here too, declining 43% in the category over $2 million.
Greenwich - Greenwich matters. Greenwich is the largest and wealthiest town on Connecticut’s Gold Coast, 67.2 square miles with a total population of 61,171 people. Money Magazine ranked Greenwich #12 place to live in America. There are at least 10 distinct neighborhoods within Greenwich, each with its own personality, in order of most expensive to least expensive: Belle Haven, Stanwich/ Banksville, Greenwich (Putnam Ave/Old Church Road), Glenville, North Greenwich, Riverside, Old Greenwich, North Mianus, Town Center, Cos Cob, East Putnam Ave/Overlook Drive, West Putnam/Dayton Ave, Byram, and Pemberwick. We break out Riverside, Cos Cob and Old Greenwich because they have their own zip codes, schools and train stations, although Byram (population 4601) and Pemberwick (population 4,281) schools were just ranked #3 and #4 in the state by Niche Magazine. As a whole Greenwich schools are ranked #8 and it is the #11 best place to live. Median home is $1.217 million with 67% owning and 33% renting. The taxes are the lowest in the state, partly because Greenwich is supported by a large commercial base and many large estates. A wise man once told me Greenwich is the last to go into recession and the first to come out. Today, Greenwich is recovering from a terrible first quarter. Now, with 288 sales, down 8% from a year ago and the lowest total since 2012 we have reason to be cautiously optimistic that momentum is shifting. Average price is up 2% to $2.741 million and rising. Inventory is unchanged. As the most expensive market in Fairfield County, Greenwich is a blue-chip stock, a bellwether for the high end, usually the first in the county to recover. Last year there was 58 sales over $4 million and this year there was 53. New Canaan - New Canaan is a town of 20,357 people located just north of Darien and is serviced by its own train line to Stamford and New York City. The Merritt Parkway passes through New Canaan with exits 36, 37 and 38. Niche rankes the schools #2 in Connecticut and #6 best place to live. One of New Canaan’s greatest assets is a quaint, walkable downtown full of shops and restaurants. Also notable is the midcentury modern architecture of the Harvard Five and 250 acre Waveny Park. Commute times as little as 68 minutes. New Canaan is known for its public school system, which in 2018 was ranked as the top public school system in Connecticut, and in 2008 the 3rd best in the country. Closings are up 13% this year. Average closing price is down 12% to $1.43 million but is rising. Active inventory is down 30% to 167 homes, declining from a peak of 347 in June. Condo sales recovered late in the year, flat at 44, and the average condo declined 6% to $710,000. Despite being one of the more expensive towns in the market New Canaan is showing great resiliency under $2mm (where 81% of sales occur). At levels over $4 million sales declined from 10 to only 1. According to the WSJ millennials are on the move. Expect New Canaan & Darien to be major beneficiaries of the flight to better suburbs from New York City. Norwalk - Norwalk is a coastal city of 88,438 people, the 6th most populous in Connecticut, in an area of 36.3 square miles. The median home costs $421,900 and rent is $1,562. 60% of Norwalk owns their homes and 40% rent. Norwalk gets high marks for diversity (#4) and as the #7 best suburb for a young professional to live in Connecticut by Niche Magazine, and scores an A grade for nightlife. The public schools are above average.
Sales of 638 homes is down 6%. Average closing price was flat at $600,000. as was inventory of 232 houses available. Norwalk
averaged a 4.2 month supply of inventory. Norwalk's 348 condo sales represents a 4% decline, but the average condo price rose 9% to $302,000.
I hate it when people say, "The Engel Team only sells big expensive houses." This list shows a range from $1400 per month up to $4 million. Interested? Click on the linked properties to see.
Here are The Engel Team's Recent Sales and Favorite Listings from around Fairfield County:
$4,000,000 227 Lambert Road, New Canaan
$4,000,000 96 Woods End Rd, New Canaan
$3,475,000 507 Silvermine Rd, New Canaan $2,450,000 8 West Meadow Rd, Wilton $1,795,000 49 Gerrish Lane, New Canaan $1,730,000 72 Conrad Rd, New Canaan $1,600,000 182 Carter Street, New Canaan $1,155,000 1279 Smith Rdg, New Canaan $1,150,000 276 Park Street, New Canaan $1,100,000 474 Main Street, New Canaan $999,000 474 Main St. (B), New Canaan $998,000 289 New Norwalk #7 New Canaan $970,000 29 Morehouse Ln Norwalk $865,000 220 Middle Ridge Rd New Canaan $775,000 88 South Avenue, New Canaan
$8,000 854 North Wilton Road, New Canaan
$699,000 20 Mountain Trail, Stamford $6,000 108 Toby’s Lane, New Canaan $6,000 309 Park Street, New Canaan $4,100 5 Hermit Court, Westport $3,900 113 Locust Ave, New Canaan
$2,950 921 North Wilton Road, New Canaan
$3,500 45 Sunrise Avenue, New Canaan $2,000 83 Locust Avenue, New Canaan $1,725 126 Washington St. Norwalk $1,400 16 Richmond Hill Rd, New Canaan
- Old Greenwich is the easternmost waterfront neighborhood of Greenwich with a population of 6,860. Niche ranks schools #6 in Connecticut and says it is the #1 best place to live in Connecticut. Living in Old Greenwich
offers residents a suburban feel with a small downtown center. The town’s local beach is called Tod’s Point. Commute to NYC is 52 to 64 minutes. Median home is $1.386 million and $2,439 to rent. 86% own a home and 14% rent.
Sales up 13% to 25 house sales from 22. Prices up 7% to $2.32 million. Inventory unchanged at 44 homes available. Condo sales are up 4%, condo prices are up 6% and condo inventory is up 9% versus a year ago. The average home sale price of $2.4 million has been rising consistently since 2013. Sales over $4 million rose from 8 to 11. Sales between
$2.5 and $4 million rose from 16 to 24. Conclusion: Old Greenwich
is the most desired and expensive neighborhood in the most expensive town, coveted by commuters and is the first indication of a recovery in the Fairfield County market and at the high end.
- Redding is more woods and fewer people, the third fewest population density in Fairfield County. The population of 9,158 people live in 3,811 housing units across 32 square miles. Redding
has 4 neighborhoods: Redding Center, Redding Ridge, West Redding and Georgetown. The commute is 96 to 102 minutes. Median home value is $597,000 and rent is $1,586 where 82% own and 18% rent. Niche ranks the schools #30 and the #32 best place to live.
Redding experienced a 6% decrease in sales to 122 while average price decreased 8% to the $540,000 level. Inventory is unchanged at 72. There were only 4 condo sales in Redding this year and there are 2 listed for sale now. Redding is a relative bargain given its A+ ranked school system, 15th best in the state. Ridgefield - Ridgefield is a quaint New England town. Beautiful Victorian era houses and mature trees line the main street in town. Located north of Wilton, south of Danbury, west of Redding and east of Westchester County, NY, Ridgefield has a population of 25,206 ,a median home value of $671,700 and median rent of $1,601. 84% of residents own and 16% rent. Schools are excellent but since there are no Merritt Parkway or Interstate exits and no train station the commute to New York is lengthy. The main state highway serving Ridgefield is Route 7. Ridgefield is ranked by Niche as the #8 best place to raise a family in Connecticut , the #9 best place to live and the #13th best public schools. The median household income is $151,399 and Ridgefield is served by 9 public schools. 330 sales each of the last two years, about average for the last 8 years. Prices are unchanged at $716,000 while inventory is up 7% to 181, a 9.1 month supply. Condo sales, which currently make up 45% of the Ridgefield market, are down 21% and condo prices declined 9% while condo inventory Rose 41% from 17 to 24. Only 5% of all sales occur above $1.5 million, now 18 but up from 9 at the end of 2018. Riverside - Riverside is a waterfront neighborhood of Greenwich with a population of 8,416 located between Old Greenwich to the east and Cos Cob to the West. Note the beautiful steel Riverside Avenue Bridge and stone St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Interstate 95 cuts through the middle of Riverside. Riverside Schools are ranked #7 by Niche. Commute to NYC range from 51 to 61 minutes. Median home is $1.262 million and $1,912 to rent. 82% own a home and 18% rent. Riverside is always compared to her sister community Old Greenwich and this year is not doing quite as well. 86 sales is the worst level in 8 years, down 20% from last year. Average price of $1.945 million is also the low point of an 8 year range of $1.962 to $2.371 million. Sellers are pulling back so inventory is down 15% from last year, 47 houses, an 9.2 month supply. Despite being less expensive with an easier commute, Riverside is suffering worse than the larger Greenwich market which has an average price point of $2.74 million. Rowayton - Rowayton is a seaside neighborhood within the city of Norwalk between the Five Mile River and the bustle of South Norwalk. Houses are close together on small lots. Commerce is limited to a handful of stores and restaurants including the Rowayton Market. They have their own grammar and middle schools and then children go to the two Norwalk high schools. I-95 passes to the north of Rowayton with one exit and divides Rowayton from Darien and Norwalk. Peak trains from the Rowayton train Station reach Grand Central in 59 minutes. Rowayton is back. We see a 22% increase in sales volume to 84 and no change in the average price of $1.276 million. Inventory remains unchanged at 41, a 5.9 month supply and 17% lower than this time last year. Maybe all those commuters missed the stop in Riverside and got off in Rowayton? Stamford - Stamford is a coastal city in Fairfield County of 52 square miles with a population of 131,000 making it the third largest city in the state behind Bridgeport and New Haven. It is home to 3 Fortune 500 Companies and 8 Fortune 1000 Companies. North of the Merritt Parkway is considered North Stamford and south of I-95 is mostly the coastal Shippan Point neighborhood. Stamford has 3 train stations but the main Stamford train station is a 51-minute commute to Manhattan and a station on the Amtrak and high-speed Acela routes to Boston and Washington DC. Niche ranks the public schools a B+ and says it’s the #52 best city for young professionals in the nation and the #25 best cities for outdoor activities in America. The median home value is $516,000 and median rent is $1,704. 54% own a home and 46% rent. Weston - Weston is a quiet, rural suburb with a population of 10,369. There are a lot of parks. The schools are highly rated. The median home value is $878,600 and rent is $2,560 per month but 96% of the population own their home. Niche says Weston is the #12 best place to raise a family in Connecticut. The major roads are Route 57 and Route 53 and both of them run through the town center. 19% of the towns workforce commutes to NYC. In 2011 Weston had the highest median income in the county at $205,173. Connecticut Magazine rated Weston as the #9 best town in the State. Weston does not have a train station but they do have Devil’s Den, a 1,746 acre nature reserve which gets 40,000 visitors per year (all lost in the woods) The number of closings in Weston fell from 167 to 163. The Average price fell from $813,000 to $794,000. and inventory fell 10% to 109 houses. Westport - Westport is a town of 27,777 people on the main train line between Norwalk to the West and Fairfield to the East. The schools are currently ranked #1 in Connecticut and it is the #2 best place to live. The median house is $1.152 million and $1,836 to rent. 83% own their home and 17% rent. Commute times are as little as 70 minutes. Westport has the third lowest tax rate in Connecticut, edging out New Canaan. Westport real estate is having a tough year, down 14%. The average price has declined 7% to $1.36 million. Sellers got the message and pulled their houses off the market for now. Inventory is down 23%. The condo market of 33 units is up 27% and the average price is $584,266.
Wilton - Wilton is a town of 18,062 people on 27 square miles and global corporations such as ASML, Deloitte & Touche, Sun Products, BreitlingSA, Cannondale Bicycle, and Melissa & Doug. Wilton is bordered by Ridgefield to the northwest, Norwalk to the south, New Canaan to the southwest, Westport to the southeast and Weston and Redding to the Northeast. It is also bordered to the west by Lewisboro in Westchester County, NY. Wilton has about 500 antique houses. The town center contains several restaurants boutiques and retail stores and a 4 screen movie theater and along Route 7 there are additional commercial properties. Public elementary schools include Miller-Driscoll and the Cider Mill School. There is one middle school, Middlebrook, and one high school, Wilton High School. The entire school system educates 4,150 students. Niche gives Wilton a grade of A, saying the schools are A+ and that Wilton is the #17 best place to raise a family in the state. The median home sells for $815,500 and median rent is $2,415. 86% own their homes and 14% rent. Wilton had a 23% increase in sales, 233 versus 206 a year ago with a 14% decline in inventory now, 114 houses. The average price is down substantially to $759k from $867k a year ago. Prices steadily climbed from $794,000 8 years ago to a peak of $944,000 in 2016 before returning to 2012 levels. With prices in the 700’s Wilton is an attractive trade-up market for many seeking top schools within a 75 minute commute of the city.