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Greenwich Real Estate with Scott Elwell - April 2011

Once again, the press are making my life more and more interesting.  Articles over the pass few weeks have flourished, warning that we are not out of the woods yet (WSJ) and that new regulations in the mortgage industry (NYTimes) lowering the cap on US-backed mortgages will hurt the high-end market.  I'm not going to say that these articles are not well written, researched and thought out, but what I am going to say is that they are (for the most part) looking at the national real estate market, not specific locations.  For example, those regulations lowering the cap on US-backed mortgages adjust the cap depending on the local sales price.  This means if you live in an area (like Greenwich or Rye) with very high average sales prices the cap may not be lowered at all.As you all are aware, I focus on real estate in Greenwich, CT and Rye, NY.  My emails (including this one) have been catered to specifically the Greenwich market. I hope to change this in the coming months, as I work on including a proper analysis between the two towns. I'm looking forward to building a full comparison.  These two towns have very similar resident bases (from a socioeconomic perspective), with vastly different real estate (property size, location, etc..) and finances (taxes - state and real estate).  It will be very interesting to see if they can be compared.Now back to the picture of Greenwich.Through the past 4 months we have seen a fairly similar number of transactions relative to 2010.   I could even argue that the average sales price is similar.  When looking at transaction numbers ranging in the 140 range a difference of 10% really isn't that much.  This year we have had 144 sales while in 2010 we had 131 meaning that only 13 houses more have traded. Due to the small sample size I would argue that is nominal.The number that I want you to look at though is the difference between the median sales price in 2011 ($1.96M) vs the median sales price in 2010 ($1.41M).  I read this as a fairly large change.  I put much more weight on the median sales price vs. the average sales price.  I never pay too close of attention to the average sales prices as one or two large or very small sales can affect the number significantly (especially when looking at small samples sizes).  The median sales price (price point where half the sales are above and half below) doesn't place as much weight on the outliers.When looking at a comparison of April 2011 vs April 2010 you can see how the median sales prices have converged, yet this year we are having significantly more sales. With a growing inventory this is a great sign.  In addition, over the past few weeks there have been several extremely quick (time from listing to contract) contracts that won't show up as sales until they close.  We will see those sales come through this summer as many sellers and buyers don't want to move until the school year is over.I can, without a doubt, say that the market has picked up in the past month and this will show in the sales reports over the coming months.  That being said, I am going to stay cautiously optimistic as to why the market has picked up and if this will last.  Much of this activity is due to the natural stage of the real estate spring market.  In addition, many houses that were put up for rent a year ago because they couldn't sell are now being listed for sale. This is because those leases all start/end in the summer (due to the school year) and have clauses that allow the owner/landlord to show the house for sell within the last two months of the lease.I consider this recent up-tick in the market as being "supply driven" since this new inventory has sparked a ton of interest from buyers who may have been tired with what was on the market.  In order for this market to maintain healthy growth we now need to see more "demand driven" purchases.  It's impossible to tell exactly what is driving the market, but if we start to see more turn-over in older inventory then that should be a good sign.  Hopefully an end to this ridiculous week of weather will help!On my website I will continue to talk about transactions and new listings that interest me.  I don't have the time to talk about everything that occurs in Greenwich, though if you have any questions/comments concerning specific homes or anything else related to Greenwich Real Estate feel free to speak up.  Feel free to email me at, post your questions on my website, or chat on my Facebook page.  Please feel free to speak up!Sincerely,Scott       Scott P. ElwellFounder/Real Estate Agent - GreenwichCT.comAl Filippone Associates @ William Raveis45 Field Point Road, Greenwich, CT 06830Cell:  203.940.0444scott@elwell.comMY LISTINGS

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