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Real Estate

It’s one of the richest towns in America. Now some say you can’t give away a house there.

Sellers in this luxury market are slashing prices by half

It’s one of the richest towns in America, a regular stomping ground for Wall Street elite. But now, few people are shopping for homes in this tony East Coast community, and its sprawling mansions are hitting the auction block.

Welcome to Greenwich, Connecticut, home to some of the nation’s most beautiful estates owned by some of the biggest names in banking. But, according to a recent article in The Wall Street Journal, the luxury real estate market of this wealthy community has taken a hit.

Now, home sellers in the area are accepting significantly less than their original asking just to get the deal done.

“Owners who paid top dollar for their homes in the Fairfield County town in the mid- to late-2000s are routinely selling for less than they paid,” the WSJ said. “Dramatic price cuts are the order of the day. There were 45 properties in Greenwich priced at more than $5 million that had their price reduced by 10% or more in the 12-month period between April, 2018, and March, 2019, according to Realtor.com.”

In some cases, owners are opting to rent out their properties until the market turns, while others have seen their mansions hit the auction block – something that most think happens only to distressed properties.

Part of the problem, according to the WSJ: Wealthy New Yorkers are eschewing suburban life for city living, and the banking executives who once flocked to this area have seen their bonuses take a hit in recent years.

Former Greenwich resident Barry Sternlicht, CEO of Starwood, caused a fuss in 2016 when he called it the worst housing market in the country.

“You can’t give away a house in Greenwich,” he told a crowd at an investment conference, which reportedly sent the Greenwich real estate community into a tizzy.

The median price for a home in Greenwich dropped 16.7% to $1.5 million at the end of last year, the WSJ said, quoting stats from Douglas Elliman. For luxury sales, the decline was even steeper at 18.8%.

And, as one source told the WSJ, the trend isn’t reversing itself anytime soon, estimating that data will show the median price dropped by more than a quarter in the first part of 2019.

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