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Greenwich Home Sales Jump as Buyers See Tax Break, Better Prices

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by OSHRAT CARMIEL

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  • Purchases surge 26%, the most for a third quarter in six years

  •  Sellers in the Connecticut town are scaling back expectations

Greenwich, Connecticut, is having a moment. While home sales are sliding in Manhattan and Westchester County, the market in the tony suburb over the New York state line just had its best summer in six years.

Purchases of single-family houses surged 26 percent from a year earlier, the biggest jump for a third-quarter since 2012, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. The median price of the 183 properties that changed hands rose 0.3 percent to $1.8 million.

Greenwich, home to many Wall Street executives, is benefiting from its relatively low property-tax burden compared with other New York City suburbs after federal law changes sharply curtailed deductions for many homeowners. Sellers there are also more primed to make a deal now, scaling back their lofty price expectations after years of overreaching.

In the third quarter, 77 percent of single-family home purchases were below the seller’s asking price, according to Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. It’s the same share as a year earlier, but this time, the discounts were smaller — a sign that sellers were more in sync with what buyers were willing to pay, Miller said in an interview.

Buyers whose deals closed at less than the asking price got discounts averaging $176,316. That’s down from $261,936 in last year’s third quarter.

“Because sellers are more engaged in the state of the market, that translates into more activity,” Miller said. Greenwich is “favorable to other markets because their taxes relative to the region are already low. But if you didn’t have sellers being more realistic, I don’t think the scale of the surge would be as large.”