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Sold: December home sales leave Realtors upbeat about market

January 23, 2018 GMT

Just maybe, the Greenwich housing market is on the upswing.

If December was any indicator, buyers are getting more active, sellers are growing more willing to negotiate with them about pricing and, as a result, home sales seem to be improving, according to several Greenwich Realtors.

Unlike most Decembers, Greenwich broker Kevin Sneddon of Private Client Realty said he was very busy. “This business usually shuts down in the second half of August and second half of December,” he said. “But this December, I’ve never been busier bumping up to Christmas. I was working on Christmas Eve. ... I think the tide has turned and everyone’s bullish on 2018. Beyond 2018, who knows. But I’ve been telling people I expect the market to be very robust in the next six months.”

Much of Sneddon’s optimism for the market ahead is prompted by his view that consumer confidence is rising, he said.

“Things have really turned from what we saw in October,” he said. “There was a long pause, and we had a weak market in September and October, but then it sort of broke between Thanksgiving and December.”

In total, Greenwich recorded north of 50 home sales in December, which was on par with the year before. But the strong December in 2017 followed a strong November of around 45 sales. In contrast, some Realtors believe 2016’s active December was due, in part, to a dismal November, which recorded only 26 sales, according to data provided by Mark Pruner of Berkshire Hathaway N.E.

“December was very positive,” Pruner said, adding he believes some of the sales might have been rushed to closing before the new year heralded in the new tax code. “The year ahead will be crucial for Greenwich real estate, because it will define how it’s perceived under the new tax law,” he said.

Opinions are mixed about how the new tax plan will affect Greenwich’s — and southwestern Connecticut’s — housing market, but Sneddon and Pruner both think it has more to gain than lose.

“The accepted wisdom is that we are a high-tax state that will see property values drop as people move to low tax states and the loss of deductibility of state taxes and local property taxes will discourage buyers,” Pruner said in a market report. “The problem with this scenario is that New York state has higher income taxes and Westchester County towns pay much higher property taxes. Also, the new tax law has lower tax rates and higher brackets. ... Stay tuned, 2018 is going to be an interesting year.”

Contact the writer at mbennett@greenwichtime.com; Twitter @Macaela_