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Connecticut Seaside Town Sees Bidding Wars as New Yorkers Flee

Connecticut Seaside Town Sees Bidding Wars as New Yorkers Flee

Beautiful view of Mystic in Connecticut (Ritu Jethani | Dreamstime.com)

Friday, 07 August 2020 11:38 AM

Most beach-loving New Yorkers know Mystic, Connecticut, as just another road sign on the way to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard. It’s getting a lot more second looks now.

City-dwellers are clamoring to find getaway homes in the seaside village, best known as the humble, working-class town in the 1988 Julia Roberts movie “Mystic Pizza.” It may not have the prestige of those other New England resorts, or the party scene of New York’s Hamptons, but that’s the attraction.

“It has amazing charm and personality,” said Jerry Upright, a 33-year-old talent consultant who rents in Manhattan and is looking to buy a place in Mystic for $800,000 to $1 million. “It gives you a much more country, laid-back feel.”

He has plenty of competition. The pandemic has sent New Yorkers in search of space, for working from home or just breaking away from the crowds. That’s spurred bidding wars in spots like Mystic, which offers an escape while being relatively affordable for a Northeast waterfront community.

The trouble is there aren’t enough properties to go around, said Judi Caracausa, owner of a local real estate brokerage.

Homes in Mystic spent a median of 38 days on the market before finding buyers in June, the fastest pace since 2016, and inventory fell 36% from a year earlier, data from Redfin Corp. show. The median sale price jumped 7.9% to $340,000.

With owners reluctant to list their homes at such a chaotic time, the race to buy up what is on the market is fierce.

The more-attractive houses, with views of Long Island Sound or the Mystic River, are regularly drawing three to five bids by New Yorkers and Bostonians, said Larry Burns, an agent at brokerage Lila Delman.

“It’s one of the busiest markets I’ve ever seen,” rivaling the boom years of 2006 and ’07, said Burns.

For Upright, who can do his job from anywhere, there’s a sense of urgency that’s just partly because of rising prices. He finds Manhattan depressing nowadays, and the 700-square-foot Upper East Side apartment where he lives with his girlfriend and their French bulldog felt like a prison during the lockdown, he said.

Mystic was an easy choice: His family has spent summers there, and last year, he bought a commercial building with a lively restaurant, Chapter One, at the base and two apartments above that he plans to rent out.

“If I had my druthers, I would ideally live in Mystic full time,” said Upright, but his girlfriend’s job as an emergency room nurse keeps them anchored to New York.

The once-sleepy village has attracted wealthy second-home buyers over the decades. But with a big influx of New Yorkers, it may start feeling more like the Hamptons, where homes sold for a median of $1.08 million in the second quarter.

Already, the boats are getting bigger and the cars are getting flashier, said Caracausa, owner of Market Realty LLC.

“We’re seeing more Rolls-Royces and Bentleys,” she said. “We’ve always really been undervalued.”

© Copyright 2020 Bloomberg News. All rights reserved.

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Most beach-loving New Yorkers know Mystic, Connecticut, as just another road sign on the way to Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard. It's getting a lot more second looks now.
new yorkers, flee, seaside, town, bidding, wars
Friday, 07 August 2020 11:38 AM
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