Fairfield County sees mixed results for 3Q luxury home sales

Multimillion-dollar home sales increased in Greenwich and Darien in the past quarter, while those transactions decreased in New Canaan and Norwalk’s Rowayton section, according to a report released Thursday by real estate brokerage Houlihan Lawrence.

In Greenwich, 43 homes sold for more than $3 million in the third quarter, compared with 40 in the same period a year ago. Darien recorded 22 home sales worth more than $2 million, compared with 16 in the same time frame last year.

Twelve New Canaan homes sold for more than $2 million, compared with 22 a year ago. One Rowayton home changed hands for more than $2 million, compared with five in 2018’s third quarter.

The increases in Greenwich and Darien helped counter declining area sales in the past few quarters, although a large number of homes remain on the market. Houlihan Lawrence officials attributed the gains in large part to falling prices that have attracted buyers, while they said lower interest rates have also helped to boost activity.

“When sales slowed down the past several quarters, new listings came to market at a steady pace and inventory accumulated,” Anthony Cutugno, senior vice president and director of private brokerage at Houlihan Lawrence, said in the report. “The imbalance of supply and demand continues to put pressure on pricing. Pending sales north of New York City are holding steady compared to the same period last year — a positive indicator that sellers are listening to the market and pricing realistically.”

In the past quarter, Darien and Rowayton saw their luxury homes’ median prices decline year over year, while Greenwich and New Canaan posted pricing increases.

“Sellers have often, in hindsight, over-invested in their homes,” the report added. “If they purchased in the peak years or made costly improvements to their home — coupled with declining values in the recent past — they may take a loss when they sell. They have accepted that buyers’ assessment of value is not equal to their total investment. The financial loss is offset by the intangible gain of being able to move forward with future plans.”

In Greenwich, the average number of days that luxury homes spent on the market more than doubled, year over year, to 398. The average nearly tripled, to 291, in Rowayton. Darien’s average ran at 178, and New Canaan’s mean totaled 231 — accounting for relatively small year-over-year increases in the latter two towns.

As the “strongest performer” in the past quarter, Darien ranked as the only market in the section of Fairfield County tracked by Houlihan Lawrence to post a gain in year-to-date luxury sales. Its 48 so far this year compare with 47 last year.

Greenwich’s 102 $3 million-plus sales lags the 121 recorded in the first nine months of 2018. New Canaan and Rowayton have also recorded fewer year-to-date luxury sales.

Throughout Fairfield County and the rest of the state, Connecticut’s single-family housing market is still recovering from the Great Recession.

Statewide, there were 3,474 single-family sales in August, down 6.4 percent year over year, according to real estate data and analytics firm The Warren Group. The decrease marked the state’s fewest sales in the month since August 2015.

At the same time, the median single-family home price increased nearly 3 percent year over year to $280,000 — a six-year high for August.

Year-to-date, there have been 22,147 single-family home sales in Connecticut — down nearly 5 percent from the first eight months of 2018, according to The Warren Group. The median sale price for that period is running at $265,000 — up nearly 2 percent from 2018.

pschott@stamfordadvocate.com; 203-964-2236; twitter: @paulschott