Greenwich Real Estate Report: April 17-24, 2020

We are now seven weeks into the shutdown and the majority of my current clients are interested in securing either summer or one year rentals in Greenwich.

Most say they will likely purchase a home here within the year. The buyers who I had been working with before Covid-19 are all waiting to see what happens before making any major long term commitments.

In the past few weeks, I have met and worked with a new group of people who all have one thing in common. They want to leave New York City because of the Coronavirus. Almost all of them prefer to lease single family homes, especially those who have children. They want to be further apart from their neighbors and they prefer a private yard.

I wanted to know what some NYC residents have to say about the real estate market both in the city and here in Greenwich so I asked four of my NYC clients the following questions:

“You live in NYC and, due to current conditions surrounding Covid-19, you’re now considering a move to either rent or purchase a home in Greenwich, CT. What were the deciding factors that pushed you to move from NYC to the suburbs? Why did you decide to rent vs purchase? Why did you choose Greenwich? What are your thoughts in regards to which direction home prices are headed in both NYC and in Greenwich?”

Below are their responses:

1) “We have a child and live in a small apartment. The idea of not having anywhere to go or anything to do is what lead us to consider moving to the suburbs. We plan to rent because I’m scared I’ll hate suburban living and may regret the purchase. I also have no idea where to live in the suburbs or where I’d fit in. I lived in Greenwich for 2 years while growing up and we later had a country house there. I believe that NYC home prices are going down while Greenwich prices are going up.”

2) “We have lived in our one bedroom co-op for almost ten years. We had planned to sell and upgrade to a 2 bedroom in the city. If it were just my husband and I with our 2 cats, we would have hunkered down in NYC. That’s not possible in a 1 bedroom with a 2 year old while we are both on work calls, especially since I’m a psychotherapist and need privacy. We needed space to work from home and the ability to take walks with a toddler with more social distance. I’m originally from New Haven, CT, so moving to CT makes sense. We want to be in a town within commutable distance to NYC for when we return to our offices. We are renting due to timing so we can move sooner rather than later but we also prefer to do so given the uncertainty with respect to what the new normal will look like. Maybe we’ll be working remotely a large percentage of the time and will need to consider office space more carefully. I assume prices in the suburbs, especially those with good schools like Greenwich, will go up. Supply and demand! I’m not sure what will happen in NYC.”

3) “My children were the deciding factor. We want to give them more space to run around and have more things to do outside. For now, we plan to rent. We want to try out an area before we decide where to buy in the future. We chose Greenwich due to it’s easy access back to the city if we need to get back for work, kids, etc. We want to be in Connecticut, which feels like more a retreat than Westchester. In regards to prices, I would imagine prices are headed down in NYC and up in Greenwich.”

4) “We have been debating moving out of the city to the suburbs of NY since before the Covid-19 pandemic and this experience provided us with the kick in the butt we needed. We came to the realization that the city will not be back to pre-Covid norms for at least a year, which has made it easier to leave.”

The reality is, Greenwich may very well run out of rental inventory before the NYC influx is over and many who had planned to rent could turn into buyers sooner rather than later. The number of sales and new listings have not decreased. It will be interesting to see what happens in a few weeks when the majority of contracts that were signed before the pandemic have closed.

Proximity to NYC, low taxes and highly rated schools often lure NYC residents to Greenwich. Once renters experience Greenwich for a short time, they usually want to stay. The current mortgage rates along with our low taxes make purchasing more favorable than renting long term.

This week’s highlights in Greenwich real estate:

  • 32 new to market listings
  • 14 sold properties
  • 11 price reductions
  • 13 accepted offers
  • 12 signed contracts

Stefanie Lacoff is a licensed real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services New England Properties in Greenwich, CT. Text/call: 203-536-9403 email: [email protected]