Fairfield County’s booming residential real estate market is showing few signs of slowing — and may end up being one for the record books.
“It’s still hot,” Ryan Raveis, co-president of William Raveis Real Estate and president of William Raveis Mortgage, marvels to WAG. “It’s the first time Fairfield County has been like this for a long time.”
While comparing calendar year 2021 to 2020 is difficult due to the ravages Covid-19 inflicted last year, Raveis says that on a summer-to-summer basis, both average and median home sales prices are up by nearly 20%. The average sales price from June to August 2020 was $918,000, and the median price for the same period was $585,000 — compared with $1.1 million and $695,000, respectively, during this year’s summer months.
“Listing inventory is down, so the narrative is that there’s nothing for sale,” Raveis adds. “But there is stuff for sale. It’s just that it leaves the market very quickly.”
Homes that once took seven to nine months to sell are now often off the market in 10 weeks or less, he says. Cash is preferred, and offers of over the asking price are, if not routine, on the rise.
Stamford and Greenwich remain some of the county’s strongest markets, but Raveis says that Rowayton is actually the strongest at the moment, as are Wilton, Weston and Darien.
Not that Greenwich is slumping, he adds: Its Riverside section has seen sales increase by 34% over last summer.
The much-reported-upon migration to Fairfield County and its environs from New York City is still very much in effect, Raveis says — though it is no longer the only factor.
“The Delta variant and the generally deteriorating environment in New York City over the last year or two are obviously part of it,” he said. “The health of the city — not just with Delta, but in terms of its crime rate, the close proximity people are in — also plays a part.
“But there are other factors as well,” he continues. “Interest rates are still low, which has an impact on the real estate market, and then you have the economy and the different stimulus packages. Plus, there’s a very large generation of millennials in New York City who are now starting families and looking at the suburbs.
“It’s going to be interesting to see how employers address that, if they’re going to create places for their teams that aren’t necessarily in New York,” Raveis says.
Meanwhile, many homeowners are hoping to benefit from the sky-high demand. The dilemma for some, he says, is that “Even when they want to sell, where and how are they going to buy next?”
The family-owned real estate company — which spans the Northeast and Florida and is continuing to expand — has an answer in its CashBid programs. When a buyer is certified and pre-approved for a mortgage with William Raveis Mortgage, the firm can show proof of funds and position the client as an all-cash buyer. Its lenders will even reach out to the seller’s agent for verification, Raveis says.
Its CashBid Plus program goes even further. The firm buys the house on behalf of its client, using its own cash. It then helps the buyer secure a competitive mortgage and transfers the title to him or her once the lending is processed. The company describes it as “the silver bullet needed to win a bidding war.”
There is also the Raveis Purchase program, wherein the company acquires a property for an initial payment of up to 80% of the current value of the home, unlocking the majority of the homeowner’s equity and enabling him or her to settle any mortgages. Once the property is vacated, the firm prepares it for sale. When the transaction is completed, the now former homeowner can make a noncontingent offer on the next home.
Both the Raveis Purchase and CashBid programs were launched this year. Raveis allows that others may be in the works, but says that “Our focus is on what the existing market needs right now, and what we can do to help our agents provide the right benefits to their customers.”
For more, visit raveis.com.