The Shore Report: 2014

Are you curious how waterfront properties sold in 2014?  Our company recently released a report detailing market results for high-end Long Island Sound-front sales in Westchester County, N.Y. and Fairfield County, Conn. through the end of the calendar year 2014.

The report analyzes the question of how the waterfront segment has performed in the face of overall market improvements in recent years, which we have detailed in our regular quarterly Market Watch reports. The report states that in Fairfield and Westchester County’s upper end shorefront housing markets, comprising direct Long Island Sound-front single-family homes priced over $1 million, both unit sales and dollar volume experienced year over year increases from 2013 to 2014.

Our company believes that one of the major factors contributing to the surge in waterfront activity is the effect of the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, which was passed in March 2014 and has made flood insurance easier to obtain for most buyers. While a previous bill had removed subsidized insurance rates for older waterfront homes, the new bill restores those earlier discounted rates, while also reinstating the ability for a seller to sign over an insurance policy with its current rate to a buyer. In addition, an amendment in October 2014 has ensured that homes no longer need to meet former mitigation requirements, from storm shutters and pre-drilled holes for shutters to impact-resistant glass, in order to qualify for insurance.

 In Fairfield County’s shoreline markets of Greenwich, Stamford, Darien, Norwalk, Westport and Fairfield, a 57.4% overall year-over-year increase in sales volume occurred, while unit sales jumped ahead by 48.7%. Greenwich saw the most dramatic improvement, with dollar volume 268.5% and units 180% higher than the prior year. In Westchester County’s shoreline markets of Rye, Larchmont, Mamaroneck and New Rochelle, unit sales increased by 36.8% from 2013 to 2014, while sales dollar volume grew by a substantial 46%, largely driven by sales activity in Rye and Mamaroneck.

“We know that our housing markets overall have performed exceedingly well in 2014 and 2013, yet the question of how the waterfront segment in particular is doing, especially in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, is equally important,” said President and CEO Paul Breunich. “We are excited to find that shorefront sales in the towns we serve made a strong comeback in 2014, particularly in the high end.”

The Shore Report is available to view online here.

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