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Greenwich Real Estate with Scott Elwell - March 2011

I don't understand why some realtors always sell the same story.  "This is a great time to sell." "This is a great time to buy." It makes no sense to me how someone could be pushing the same line for the past 5 years, as if the market hasn't changed at all.  Mary Meeker (during the internet bubble) comes to mind... as does a broken record.   If we were selling an item that we, or our company, possessed (like a car, clothing, computer, whatever) I might be able understand how the message could always stay the same.  The intrinsic difference here is that we aren't really selling anything.  We are advising our clients on HOW to best buy or sell something.  We are paid on the transaction, not the increase or decrease in value.  If values go up in a town, but transactions decrease then guess what, the realtors in that town (on an aggregate) will make less money - vice versa.For this reason, I am a strong believer that my true job is to provide my insight on a market and NOT to push my clients to do anything.  If it is a good time for them to buy or sell then great, but it does my clients a complete disservice to be yelling the same thing ("Great time to buy/sell") over and over again.  If it were a great time to buy, then wouldn't it be a bad time to sell?  The story is much more complex than any one-line sales pitch and requires some serious research catered to each individual client.  I'm in this game for the long haul and, just like the market I want my message to adjust as the market does.  As far as I see it, my job is to provide information and insight, and that is what I'm trying to do with these emails. If you would like to talk in more detail (or know a referral that might) please feel free to contact me at any point.Now back to my insight on the Greenwich real estate market.If you have read the press (Greenwich Time, Post, etc..) or have spoken to nearly any realtor in town, you have no doubt heard news that the Greenwich market is "heating" up.   For once, I'm going to agree with what everyone is saying.  Sales and inventory numbers are both growing.  This activity is real, but has snuck up on me.  Every morning I look at the daily hot sheet to see what has traded, dropped in price and is newly listed.  Over the past month this sheet has steadily become more active, but never really screamed "hot market" to me.  When the monthly numbers came out I was shocked.  I knew our sales numbers would be high, but I hadn't realized how much the inventory had grown over the past month.Last month I wrote about a single family market that had 628 homes listed and now were are looking at a market that has 712 homes listed.   This is a huge jump and got me thinking.   Why did the inventory number rise so much and why had I not noticed?  Spring markets always bring more listings (chart makes this pretty obvious), but this movement up seemed to be more than anticipated.  After a lot of digging I think I figured it out.You see, in addition to the natural cyclical behavior of the spring market, there are many new (for sale) listings, which were rented over the past year.  I believe that we are witnessing an additional influx of properties for sale that were rented out last year because they couldn't sell.  Those leases all expire in the summer (b/c of the school calendar) and now allow for the sellers to start listing/showing the property.Normally I would take the position that any non-cyclical influx of properties could cause problems, but I think this jump in inventory is healthy.  I don't know of a town (I have sold properties from Rye, NY to Westport, CT) in Fairchester (Fairfield & Westchester) that has a true excess of inventory right now.  There are tons of buyers our there that have been searching for ages and are waiting for the right listing.When you look at the year to date numbers compared with 2010, the inventory and sales numbers aren't that exciting.  This helps to show how cyclical our business is.  What is interesting to me is the drop in Market Time for Inventory.  If I'm right, after April this spread (currently at 35.5%) will only increase.  It's too early to tell if this new bump in behavior in Greenwich is cyclical or a real shift in the market, or most likely a mix.  Add in the fact that interest rates are only going up and we should see even more activity over the next couple months as those buyers who have been waiting don't want to miss the market (real estate and rate) and those owners who have been waiting to sell don't want to miss the buyers.I apologize for making this into a long message, but I have lots to say.   I could go on and on. One day I'll figure out the perfect harmony between blogging and putting everything into my monthly email.  In the coming months I hope to start talking more about the differences and similarities I see between Rye, NY and Greenwich, CT.  As an agent that covers both towns, I've been having a lot of fun helping clients weigh the pluses and minuses of each town.PLEASE feel free to email me if you want to talk more and please feel free to send this to anyone who might be interested. I make a living off of referrals, so I obviously appreciate them.Regards,ScottScott P. ElwellFounder/Real Estate CEO - GreenwichCT.comAl Filippone Associates @ William Raveis45 Field Point Road, Greenwich, CT 06830Cell:  203.940.0444scott@elwell.comMy Real Estate @ ScottElwell.comWant to search Greenwich, CT?     Go to elwellsc.grw.mlxchange.comWant to search Fairfield County?   Go to

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  1. Andy on

    Very well done. Thank you.