Local and global insights

Here are some recent Greenwich statistics that caught my eye.

Single-family inventory increased 11% when comparing the January-through-August 2013 level to the first eight months of this year. Single-family sales volume increased 23% whereas unit sales decreased 8%. The average days on the market decreased slightly, by 3%, and the percentage of sales price to list price also dipped, 0.3%. The median sale price increased 12% to $1,875,000 while the average sales price spiked 34% to become $2,803,105.

The spike in sales price is skewed by the 14 properties that sold over $10 million, including 555 Lake Avenue, which closed for a reported $25 million and 499 Indian Field Road for a reported $120 million.

Average single-family inventory (when comparing the level of inventory in 2014 to the average inventory level for 2005-2013) was down in January by 12% but increased by August of this year to by 4%. The market segment of homes that had the most inventory when compared to last year were those priced between $1 million and $1,999,999, which was at 33%. This market segment also had the highest percentage (22%) of homes under contract from January through August of this year. The market segment that had the highest percentage of sales was homes under $1 million and they remain in highest demand.

The number of days on the market (153) for homes remained relatively unchanged from the 2007 to 2013 average. Homes being priced well remains vital for their successful marketing. Buyers often use the Internet to initially compare characteristics of competing properties to assess whether a property’s price is appropriate and formulate a list for Realtors to show them, according to GMLS.

Interest rates

The last time the Federal Reserve met, in late September, there was concern about disappointing growth in Europe and the possibility of Japan and China reducing U.S. exports. This, coupled with the costs of imported goods and services being reduced by the strengthening of the dollar, may mean U.S. inflation will be below the Fed’s 2% target.

Recently, the Fed has been trying to push inflation up, not down. These concerns could cause the Fed to delay raising short-term interest rates.

An improved job market is also a factor in determining when and how much to raise interest rates. The Labor Department recently reported the number of available jobs across the nation increased from 4.61 million jobs to 4.84 jobs — the highest level in 13 years.

Consistent increases in job creation has reduced unemployment. According to the Labor Department there are just under two unemployed workers per job opportunity. An improved job market could lead to higher wages in the United States. Other labor statistics, however, indicate that employers are having trouble finding adequately skilled people to fill jobs.

Employers added almost 250,000 jobs in September and the unemployment rate has fallen to 5.9%. A stronger job market would support a higher interest rate by the Fed. The Fed continues to navigate the complexities of the global and national economy in making its decision.

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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