Michael and Maureen Judge of Wilton, Conn. were thrilled to receive a full price offer within a week of listing their home for sale. They planned to rent but were amazed at how few rental properties were available in Fairfield County.
Danielle Claroni, a Realtor with New England Land Co. in Greenwich, is not surprised. "The rental market is very, very hot right now," she says, confirming what the Judges discovered. According to Claroni, there are two main reasons rentals are hard to come by. The first is that the New York selling market is on fire. Young families are selling their city apartments and moving out to the suburbs. "Many of them want to rent before they buy to see if they like the neighborhood," she says.
The second reason concerns the banking industry. "Qualified people are still struggling to get a mortgage, even with a 20 or 30 percent deposit," she says. These families also turn to rentals.
Houses available for rent often belong to people who have moved away. "Some homeowners were unable to sell when they moved so they are renting until the market improves," Claroni says. Other homeowners who have moved simply chose not to sell.
Renters in Greenwich also might find themselves living in brand new houses. These are often homes that builders have been unable to sell.
Claroni says the high-end rental market is busy in Greenwich and properties such as 173 Stanwich Road, a four-bedroom home with a pool that rents for $12,000 per month, are in demand. The house comes fully furnished and the rental includes pool and landscaping maintenance. The house, which has many luxury features, such as radiant heated floors, a gourmet kitchen, wine cellar and high-tech amenities, is centrally located with easy access to the train and schools.
The Judges eventually found a condo to rent but it took some legwork.
"There are a lot of people moving right now," Maureen says. "We were surprised."