Comparing New Canaan to Darien in three ways one indicates that a) the residential real estate markets have experienced similar changes, b) both towns have over 1,200 people waiting for commuter parking permits, and c) the property tax rate is almost the same.

During the candidate debates prior to the July 18 Republican Caucus there were many comments from candidates — particularly Christa Kenin, Cristina Aguirre-Ross and Kevin Moynihan — that New Canaan was losing its competitive edge to other area towns and possibly home sales too, because of things like New Canaan’s lengthy waiting list for commuter parking permits and gaps in cellular communications service.

One debate moderator took a quick look at three comparable factors in New Canaan and Darien — two towns that are very often compared. [See charts with the article.]

Unit sales of homes in 2016 compared to 2015 dropped more steeply in New Canaan than in Darien, but prices dropped more steeply in Darien. This year, year to date, New Canaan unit sales are up more than in Darien, though New Canaan’s prices are down again, while Darien’s are flat. Everything considered, prices and unit sales in both towns have been soft, and the upper end of the market is the softest segment in both towns.

Commuter parking

Based on current reports, New Canaan had 1,203 persons waiting for commuter parking permits, and the most popular lot — Lumberyard on Elm Street — had a wait time of seven years. Darien has 1,560 persons waiting for a commuter parking permit, and its most popular lot has a wait time of about 7.5 years, according to a parking official at Darien Town Hall.

Darien limits permits to residents only in its Leroy - West lot, but because their Noroton Heights lot is on state property they are required to allow non-residents to obtain a parking permit there.


Looking at property taxes on a home with a market value of $1.4 million and an assessed value of $1 million, in Darien the tax bill would be $16,160. In New Canaan it would be $16,669.

This is not a comprehensive study, but these factors indicate more similarities than differences between the two municipalities.