The benefits of affordability

Realtors in Greenwich are experiencing increased showings in certain price points and locations as this year comes to a close.

If the price is right, homes are going under contract. In some cases there are reportedly multiple bids. Listing agents in sought-after areas are counseling clients not to price properties above the competition; otherwise the homes will languish on the market.

If the home has sold previously in recent years, buyers ask what renovations have been done warranting a price increase.

The single-family inventory has increased 5% this year when compared to inventory between January and October of 2013. The number of homes sold for this year decreased 8% while the sales volume increased 17% when compared to the same time period last year. Meanwhile, the average sales price increased 27% while the median sales price increased 12% when comparing 2014 to last year.

In Greenwich, homes sold that were priced between $1 million and $1,999,999 constituted 31% of this year’s market. Homes priced under $1 million accounted for 21% of sales through October. Homes priced between $2 million and $2,999,999 comprised 19% of the market. Homes priced between $3 million and $3,999,999 accounted for 12% of sales. The other market segments above these price points were between 1% and 5%.

The months having the most sales contracts this year in Greenwich were April through July, with the most sales occurring between June and August. There was a 60% increase in sales January of this year as compared to 2013, showing how the fourth quarter can be active.

The number of days on the market decreased from 169 days in January of this year to 152 days for the January to October time period.

RealtyTrac recently conducted an analysis of 500 U.S. counties and discovered debt is the largest obstacle for home ownership. Student loans and car payments made mortgage payments less affordable in more than half (52%) of U.S. housing markets and this even assumed a 3% down payment. Understandably, prospective buyers with debt who could come up with more of a down payment had an easier time securing a mortgage.

For example, a down payment of 20% with college and car payments enabled about 78% of the country’s housing markets to become affordable for buyers. If a buyer did not have additional debt and could put 3% down, 90% of U.S. real estate markets became affordable.

First-time and repeat buyers should try to minimize or eliminate debt to qualify for a mortgage with a more attractive interest rate.

Buyers should, typically, expect to pay prior to or at closing the following: structural, pest and radon inspections; points or loan origination fee; title insurance; attorney’s fee; recording fee; interest adjustment from the date of closing; credit check and appraisal fees; survey fee if necessary; homeowner’s insurance; adjustment to seller at closing for pro-rated taxes; oil (if applicable); city water/sewer charge and association and/or common charges for condominiums (if applicable).

Mary Ann Clark is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker at 189-191 Mason Street in Greenwich. Questions or comments may be emailed to [email protected]

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