Cos Cob is a neighborhood of Greenwich with a population of 6,770. There are two schools: Cos Cob elementary with 390 students and Central Middle School with 710 students. Cos Cob schools are ranked #10 in the state by Niche. The Bush-Holley House built in 1730 is a museum. There is a lot of commercial activity on the Post Road, very little waterfront on Cos Cob harbor. 68% own and 32% rent in Cos Cob. The median home is $1.038 million and $1,882 to rent. Commute times as little as 53 minutes.
This is the worst year in 5 years by any metric. The number of sales is down 53% to 20. The average price is down 15% to $1.42mm. Inventory is up 20%. Condo sales are steady while the average price is down 28% to $818k. Cos Cob is among the most expensive towns and the 83% decline in sales over $3mm to only 1 sale shows no sign of reversing.
Darien is New Canaan’s twin with a nearly identical population (21,742), median house value ($1.398 million), school population (4200) and median household income ($208,848). 85% own their homes and 15% rent. Average rent is $2790. Key differences are that Darien has two train stations on the main line (Darien and Noroton Heights) and 3 exits on I-95. The Post Road and interstate pass through the middle of the town’s 5 distince neighborhoods: Tokeneke, Town Center, Noroton Heights, Noroton and North Dariuen (Hoyt Street/Camp Ave). Darien’s schools are ranked #9 in the state and Darien is #13 best place to live. The taxes in Darien are the second lowest in the State behind Greenwich.
Inventory is down 12%, sales are up 8%, and average price has declined 14% to a very affordable $1.45mm. With the second best tax rates in Connecticut, excellent schools, beaches and easy commute, Darien will remain one of the brighter points of light in Fairfield County.
Easton is a suburb of 7,607 people on 28.6 square miles (half of which is owned by the Aquarion Water Company) with a median home value of $602,000 where 94% own and 6% rent ($1,845/mo) Redding is to the North, Trumbull is to the East, Weston is to the West and the Merritt Parkway provides a natural boundary with Fairfield and Bridgeport to the south. Easton gets an overall grade of A- by Niche with highly rated schools, #22 (Joel Barlow High School, Helen Keller Middle School and Samuel Staple Elementary) and is the 29th best place to live in the state. Easton does not have a train station to Manhattan. Commuters rely on Merritt parkway exit 46. Median household income is $136,786.
The number of Easton sales have been steadily increasing since 2012, now 62 with another 12 pending as the absorption rate drops to only 10.2 months. Is it any wonder with an average price of $622k in a market that boasts A+ schools? If you don’t commute to New York City you’re probably looking in Easton (and Redding).
Fairfield is the largest coastal town of 59,404 people on 31.3 square miles bordering the city of Bridgeport to the east and the towns of Trumbull, Easton and Weston to the north and Westport to the west. Money Magazine ranked Fairfield the 44th best place to live in America. Two shopping districts in town include the Post Road and the Black Rock Turnpike. Fairfield is home to two universities, Fairfield University (5,000 students) and Sacred Heart University (8,500 students). Commutes to NYC are between 69 and 83 minutes. There are 5 miles of coast on Long Island Sound including 5 town beaches and a town owned marina with 600 boat slips.
The number of sales has steadily risen in Fairfield for 8 years in a row to 364, up 1% from last year. This year we saw a 7% decrease in average price to $709k, and no change in inventory. Condo sales are up 13% to 61. The schools are ranked A+ by Niche and the commute to NYC is only 11 minutes further than Westport where homes cost twice as much. High end is soft here too.
Greenwich is the largest and wealthiest town on Connecticut’s Gold Coast, 67.2 square miles with a total population of 61,171 people. Money Magazine ranked Greenwich #12 place to live in America. There are at least 10 distinct neighborhoods within Greenwich, each with its own personality, in order of most expensive to least expensive: Belle Haven, Stanwich/Banksville, Greenwich (Putnam Ave/Old Church Road), Glenville, North Greenwich, Riverside, Old Greenwich, North Mianus, Town Center, Cos Cob, East Putnam Ave/Overlook Drive, West Putnam/Dayton Ave, Byram, and Pemberwick. We break out Riverside, Cos Cob and Old Greenwich because they have their own zip codes, schools and train stations, although Byram (population 4601) and Pemberwick (population 4,281) schools were just ranked #3 and #4 in the state by Niche Magazine. As a whole Greenwich schools are ranked #8 and it is the #11 best place to live. Median home is $1.217 million with 67% owning and 33% renting. The taxes are the lowest in the state, partly because Greenwich is supported by a large commercial base and many large estates.
Greenwich is recovering from a terrible first quarter. Now, with 128 sales, down 10% from a year ago and the lowest total since 126 in 2012 we have reason to be cautiously optimistic that momentum is shifting. Average price is $2.78 million and rising. As the most expensive market in Fairfield County, Greenwich is a blue-chip stock, a bellwether for the high end, usually the first in the county to recover.
New Canaan is a town of 20,357 people located just north of Darien and is serviced by its own train line to Stamford and New York City. The Merritt Parkway passes through New Canaan with exits 36, 37 and 38. Niche rankes the schools #2 in Connecticut and #6 best place to live. One of New Canaan’s greatest assets is a quaint, walkable downtown full of shops and restaurants. Also notable is the midcentury modern architecture of the Harvard Five and 250 acre Waveny Park. Commute times as little as 68 minutes. New Canaan is known for its public school system, which in 2018 was ranked as the top public school system in Connecticut, and in 2008 the 3rd best in the country.
Closings are up 11% year to date. Average closing price is down 16% to $1.40 million. Active inventory is down 9% to 330 homes, declining from a peak of 347. 81% of the sales are under $2mm. Condo sales are down 24% and average condo price remains $734k. Inventory is down 9% from last year, 330 houses, and down from the peak of 347. Despite being one of the more expensive towns in the market New Canaan is showing great resiliency under $2mm (where 81% of sales occur). According to this week’s WSJ millennials are on the move. Expect New Canaan & Darien to be major beneficiaries of the flight to better suburbs from New York City.
Norwalk is a coastal city of 88,438 people, the 6th most populous in Connecticut, in an area of 36.3 square miles. The median home costs $421,900 and rent is $1,562. 60% of Norwalk owns their homes and 40% rent. Norwalk gets high marks for diversity (#4) and as the #7 best suburb for a young professional to live in Connecticut by Niche Magazine, and scores an A grade for nightlife. The public schools are above average.
Strong sales in May and June were not enough to for full recovery, as year to date sales of 290 remains down 6% but fairly typical of the last eight years. Average closing price fell 3% to $585k. while inventory rose 3% to 413 houses available. The strongest sector of the Norwalk market were in the categories under $600k where 190 listings represents only a 4.5 month supply of inventory.
Old Greenwich is the easternmost waterfront neighborhood of Greenwich with a population of 6,860. Niche ranks Schools #6 in Connecticut and says it is the #1 best places to live in Connecticut. Living in Old Greenwich offers residents a suburban feel with a small downtown center. The town’s local beach is called Tod’s Point. Commute to NYC is 52 to 64 minutes. Median home is $1.386 million and $2,439 to rent. 86% own a home and 14% rent.
Sales unchanged at 41. Prices unchanged at $2.4 million. Inventory up 4% at 92 homes available. Condo prices and inventory also similar to a year ago. The 41 closings are in the middle of an 8 year range of 34 to 56 sales. The average sale price of $2.4 million has been rising consistently since 2013. Old Greenwich is one of the few towns seeing steadily increasing inventory peaks over the last 3 years, enough to stimulate sales but not enough to disrupt pricing confidence. There are only 22 houses under $1.5mm, a 7.8 month supply of houses. Old Greenwich is coveted by commuters and will continue to outperform the market.
Redding is more woods and fewer people, the third fewest population density in the County. The population of 9,158 people live in 3,811 housing units across 32 square miles. Redding has 4 neighborhoods: Redding Center, Redding Ridge, West Redding and Georgetown. The commute is 96 to 102 minutes. Median home value is $597,000 and rent is $1,586 where 82% own and 18% rent. Niche ranks the schools #30 and the #32 best place to live.
Redding is experiencing a 24% increase in sales to 62 while average price remains at the $538k level. Inventory is down 6% from 133 to 125. 48 of the 62 sales occurred between $400k and $800k, making Redding a relative bargain given its A+ ranked school system, 15th best in the state. With a decrease of 28% in inventory, expect prices to rise and the pace of sales to slow as buyers respond to a lack of inventory.
Ridgefield is a quaint New England town and beautiful Victorian era houses and mature trees line the main street in town. Located north of Wilton, south of Danbury, west of Redding and east of Westchester County, NY, Ridgefield has a population of 25,206 ,a median home value of $671,700 and median rent of $1,601. 84% of residents own and 16% rent. Schools are excellent but since there are no Merritt Parkway or Interstate exits and no train station the commute to New York is lengthy. The main state highway serving Ridgefield is Route 7. Ridgefield is ranked by Niche as the #8 best place to raise a family in Connecticut , the #9 best place to live and the #13th best public schools. The median household income is $151,399 and Ridgefield is served by 9 public schools.
149 sales each of the last two years, and about average for the last 8 years. Prices are up 4% to $698,000 while inventory is up 9% to 327, a 11.9 month supply. Condo sales, which currently make up 45% of the Ridgefield market, are down 12% and condo prices declined 14% while condo inventory remained unchanged. Only 10% of all sales occur above $1mm.
Riverside is a waterfront neighborhood of Greenwich with a population of 8,416 located between Old Greenwich to the east and Cos Cob to the West. Note the beautiful steel Riverside Avenue Bridge and stone St. Paul’s Episcopal Church. Interstate 95 cuts through the middle of Riverside. Riverside Schools are ranked #7 by Niche. Commute to NYC range from 51 to 61 minutes.
Median home is $1.262 million and $1,912 to rent. 82% own a home and 18% rent.
Riverside is not doing well in comparison to Old Greenwich and 37 sales is the worst start in 8 years, down 25% from last year. Average price of $1.86 million is the low point of an 8 year range of $1.9 to $2.7 million. Sellers are pulling back and Inventory is down 15% from last year, 92 houses, an 11.6 month supply. Despite being less expensive with an easier commute, Riverside is suffering worse than the larger Greenwich market which is down to an average price point of $2.78 million.
Rowayton is a seaside neighborhood within the city of Norwalk between the Five Mile River and the bustle of South Norwalk. Houses are close together on small lots. Commerce is limited to a handful of stores and restaurants including the Rowayton Market. They have their own grammar and middle schools and then children go to the two Norwalk high schools. I-95 passes to the north of Rowayton with one exit and divides Rowayton from Darien and Norwalk. Peak trains from the Rowayton train Station reach Grand Central in 59 minutes.
We see a 10% increase in sales volume to 35 over last year’s 8-year low of 32 and a 7% increase in average price to $1.22mm and a 16% increase in inventory to 92, a whopping 15.3 month supply and 25% higher than this time last year. For most of the last year Rowayton has had a 10.7 month supply of inventory. 14 Westmere Avenue in Rowayton is a beautiful waterfront house for only $2.4mm.
Stamford is a coastal city in Fairfield County of 52 square miles with a population of 131,000 making it the third largest city in the state behind Bridgeport and New Haven. It is home to 3 Fortune 500 Companies and 8 Fortune 1000 Companies. North of the Merritt Parkway is considered North Stamford and south of I-95 is mostly the coastal Shippan Point neighborhood. Stamford has 3 train stations but the main Stamford train station is a 51-minute commute to Manhattan and a station on the Amtrak and high-speed Acela routes to Boston and Washington DC. Niche ranks the public schools a B+ and says it’s the #52 best city for young professionals in the nation and the #25 best cities for outdoor activities in America. The median home value is $516,000 and median rent is $1,704. 54% own a home and 46% rent.
The only category in Stamford that has more sales than last year is in the $600,000 to $700,000 band. Inventory rose in almost every category. The average closing price has fallen 3% to $632k. House sales are down 14% and condo sales are down 15%. Surprisingly to me, the Stamford house volume is only $201 million which is only 40% of Greenwich ($551mm ), trails Fairfield ($258mm) and Westport ($220mm), and is only slightly higher than Darien ($193mm). This month we take a granular look at Stamford’s 12 neighborhoods showing the price per foot averages for homes and condos.
Weston is a quiet, rural suburb with a population of 10,369. There are a lot of parks. The schools are highly rated. The median home value is $878,600 and rent is $2,560 per month but 96% of the population own their home. Niche says Weston is the #12 best place to raise a family in Connecticut. The major roads are Route 57 and Route 53 and both of them run through the town center. 19% of the towns workforce commutes to NYC. In 2011 Weston had the highest median income in the county at $205,173. Connecticut Magazine rated Weston as the #9 best town in the State. Weston does not have a train station but they do have Devil’s Den, a 1,746 acre nature reserve which gets 40,000 visitors per year.
The average price rose this year 4% to $768k after 4 straight years of declines. Perhaps Weston has seen the bottom and prices could rise? Not as long as Weston averages 150k to 250k more expensive than its two immediate small town neighbors, Eason and Redding, As long as averages prices are roughly the same price as larger neighbor Wilton, Weston will continue to struggle to find its footing. Currently, there is a 13.5 month supply of inventory, down from 14.4 months a year ago.
Westport is a town of 27,777 people on the main train line between Norwalk to the West and Fairfield to the East. The schools are currently ranked #1 in Connecticut and it is the #2 best place to live. The median house is $1.152 million and $1,836 to rent. 83% own their home and 17% rent. Commute times are as little as 70 minutes.
Westport is having a tough year, down 25% in the number of sales for most of the period and ending down 21% The average price has declined 7% to $1.38mm and the total dollar volume has declined 27% year over year. The good news in Westport is the third lowest mill rate in Connecticut. The bad news is one of their schools remains closed for repair and renovations.
Wilton is a town of 18,062 people on 27 square miles and global corporations such as ASML, Deloitte & Touche, Sun Products, BreitlingSA, Cannondale Bicycle, and Melissa & Doug. Wilton is bordered by Ridgefield to the northwest, Norwalk to the south, New Canaan to the southwest, Westport to the southeast and Weston and Redding to the Northeast. It is also bordered to the west by Lewisboro in Westchester County, NY. Wilton has about 500 antique houses. The town center contains several restaurants boutiques and retail stores and a 4 screen movie theater and along Route 7 there are additional commercial properties. Public elementary schools include Miller-Driscoll and the Cider Mill School. There is one middle school, Middlebrook, and one high school, Wilton High School. The entire school system educates 4,150 students. Niche gives Wilton a grade of A, saying the schools are A+ and that Wilton is the #17 best place to raise a family in the state. The median home sells for $815,500 and median rent is $2,415. 86% own their homes and 14% rent.
Is looking good with a 11% increase in sales, 101 versus 91 a year ago with no change in inventory, 259 houses. The average price is down substantially to $768k from $909k a year ago. Prices steadily climbed from $794,000 8 years ago to a peak of $944,000 in 2016 before returning to 2012 levels. With prices in the 700’s Wilton is an attractive trade-up market for many seeking top schools within a 75 minute commute of the city.