Real Estate

Greenwich’s Luxury Homes Are Selling. It Just Takes a Year

  • Luxury owners getting more in sync with buyers, appraiser says
  • High-end inventory plunges 45%, helping to clear the backlog

The entryway of a luxury home in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg

Greenwich luxury homes that sold in the first quarter sat on the market for almost a year. And that’s a good thing.

The 13 high-end properties that found buyers in the period had been listed for 355 days on average, the most in data going back to 2011, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. Their sales after such a long stretch suggest that owners of the Connecticut town’s most lavish properties are finally pricing them to move.

“That is a sign of healing, not a sign of weakening,” said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. “Older product is being snapped up because sellers are pricing it closer to market conditions.”

Greenwich is working through a backlog of high-end homes that owners had been piling onto the market since the financial crisis with hopes of selling at a premium. Now, they’re either discounting or withdrawing them, clearing the thicket for motivated buyers to come in and make a deal for what’s left.

Clearing the Luxury Backlog

Homes that sold in the first quarter had been listed for the longest stretch on record

Source: Miller Samuel Inc. and Douglas Elliman Real Estate

At the end of March, 138 luxury homes were on the market, a 45 percent plunge from a year earlier and the biggest decline in more than three years of tracking, Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman said. Properties in the category -- the top 10 percent of sales, which in the quarter meant $5.08 million or more -- traded for a median of $6.38 million, up 14 percent from a year earlier. Sellers offered discounts of 6.7 percent on average.

“We’ve had sales at higher price points than we’ve seen in a while, ” said Scott Elwell, Douglas Elliman’s regional manager in charge of Connecticut and Westchester County in New York. “I see that as buyers getting more comfortable.”

Lavish properties still aren’t flying off the shelf. The number of luxury purchases fell 24 percent, mirroring a decline in transactions in the overall Greenwich market, as buyers paused to process changes in the federal tax law. But while contracts are up for non-luxury homes, signifying a strong second quarter to come, they’re unchanged for the priciest inventory, Miller said.

The most expensive deal in the quarter was the $14.5 million purchase of an 8,916-square-foot waterfront estate at 51 Glen Avon Drive. The property had been for sale intermittently since 2009, when its owners priced it at $18.6 million, according to listing records. It returned to the market last year at $15.9 million.

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