It’s official. The real estate market is red hot in New Canaan.
What started as a promising first quarter to 2020, has turned into the first seller’s market that some local realtors have ever experienced.
That would include Melissa Rwambuya, president of the New Canaan Board of Realtors. She’s been selling real estate in New Canaan and the surrounding communities for the last 12 years.
“I’ve never seen a seller’s market,” Rwambuya said frankly. “The market has just exploded since March. Many of our houses are going at list price or above, with multiple offers. And if there’s anything with a pool, it's going quickly."
Rwambuya says the sudden surge in New Canaan real estate is largely attributable to New Yorkers fleeing the city amidst a threat of COVID-19, searching for the safety and security of a permanent home in a wonderful community with great schools. In an interview with CNBC earlier this year, Governor Ned Lamont also discussed the impact of COVID-19 on the real estate market in Connecticut's suburbs.
“Our phones don’t stop ringing,” Rwambuya said. “It’s such a fast-paced market right now. If a home becomes available, we’ll have offers the first day. Buyers are paying cash. We’re seeing bidding wars for some properties. There are just a lot of people looking to move to the community right now.”
The turnaround has been dramatic. A year ago, home sales in New Canaan had been seemingly stagnant. Changes to the federal tax code had made it less desirable to own a home in Fairfield County, empty-nesters were moving to states where they would be taxed less, and millennials and young executives were choosing to live in New York City rather than commuting daily from Connecticut suburbs.
A recent Wall Street Journal story chronicled the uptick in real estate interest in New Canaan as well.
There are other reasons people are now looking to buy homes outside New York City. One is that employers discovered their businesses could survive with employees working remotely. The result has been two-fold: people don’t feel like they have to live in the city to be close to an office, or living in the suburbs won’t necessarily subject them to the daily grind of commuting to and from the city. Another reason is the record-low interest rates being charged for borrowing money.
"When buyers do come to look at homes in New Canaan, the community often sells itself", Rwambuya says.
Who wouldn’t want to live in a town with great parks and open spaces, excellent public and private schools, a walkable downtown area with great restaurants, shops and salons, and an area where buyers continue to get good value?
“It’s anybody’s guess what could change the market, but right now there’s enough inventory to keep this going,” Rwambuya says. “We could see a change in the fall. That’s traditionally when home sales slow down. We’ll just have to see.”
In the meantime, expect to see more cars with New York or Florida license plates driving around the community, and more “For Sale” signs in front yards.