Greenwich Home Prices Decline in Buyer Shift From Mansions

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  • Median single-family house costs $1.72 million, down 7.5%
  • It would take 32 months to sell the highest-tier homes listed

The sprawling country estates of Greenwich, Connecticut, are falling further out of favor as homebuyers seek less costly residences closer to the center of town.

The median price of a Greenwich single-family home dropped 7.5 percent in the third quarter to $1.72 million, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. It was the fourth straight year-over-year decline, even as the number of sales climbed 4.4 percent to 190.

“It’s softer at the top,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. “You’re just having less higher-end sales in the mix.”

Greenwich, a town of 60,000 that’s home to Wall Street executives and some of the country’s largest hedge funds, is seeing buyer preferences shift away from the mansions for which it’s known and toward smaller houses and condominiums. Luxury homes are piling up on the market -- spurring billionaire Barry Sternlicht to joke last month that “you can’t give away a house’’ in the area -- while cheaper properties are selling faster.

Homes priced at less than $2 million were the only category where sales increased in the first nine months of the year from the same period in 2015, according to a separate report from brokerage Houlihan Lawrence. They frequently are the target of bidding wars, the company said.

“Sellers of our most affordable properties are in the driver’s seat this season,” Houlihan Lawrence said.

Sales of homes priced at less than $1 million climbed 13 percent in the nine months through September, while those from $1 million to $1.99 million remained the same, with 187 deals, Houlihan Lawrence said. Transactions tumbled in every higher category, with declines of more than 30 percent for homes of $5 million to $9.99 million.

Luxury Inventory

Third-quarter sales at the top 10 percent of the market -- defined as anything above $3.87 million -- were flat, with 24 homes trading hands, Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman said. The inventory of such homes surged 32 percent, with a total of 259 listings.

With that level of supply, it would take 32.4 months to sell all the luxury homes on the market at the current sales pace, up from 24.5 months a year earlier.

“Buyers are patient because of the robust inventory,” Houlihan Lawrence said in its report. “They will buy, but without a sense of urgency, and on their own schedule.”

Faring Better

The closer homes were to Greenwich’s commercial district or waterfront, the better they fared. The median price of homes south of the Post Road -- an area that includes the train station and tony shops of Greenwich Avenue -- climbed 4.6 percent to $1.7 million in the quarter, according to Houlihan Lawrence. Properties there also spent less time on the market -- 111 days in the third quarter, compared with 164 days a year earlier.

Condominiums, which tend to be smaller and clustered closer to the commercial district, also are doing better than the rest of the market. The median price of condos jumped 11 percent to $755,000, according to Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman.