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New Canaan Real Estate

NEW CANAAN, the swank little bedroom community that had a major fling with SUVs and McMansions in the go-go years, looks to be downsizing.

“Priuses have become the new car to have,” said Jeb Walker, the town’s first selectman. And the market for supersize homes has all but evaporated.

“McMansions? The market for $4 million to $6 million houses is very quiet,” said Jill K. Wippern, a broker at Brotherhood and Higley Real Estate. “We have a number of them sitting empty, and as far as I know, there are very few builders that are planning to build big spec homes.”

While expressing optimism going into the fall, Prudence Parris, a veteran agent in New Canaan, said selling prices at the high end had fallen 28 percent over the last year. As for the decade-old trend of shoe-horning giant mansions into small downtown lots, “we are on the verge of another change,” she said. “The nouveaux riches, the young people who are making enough to buy houses, may now want smaller houses” — which here means just four bedrooms and three baths.

Nestled in the crook of Connecticut’s southwest corner 45 miles from Manhattan, New Canaan has never been a bargain hunter’s paradise. Town employees have struggled for decades to find affordable housing, and when Wall Street’s readjustments rippled out last year, it was suddenly all right to express nostalgia for a time when Hummers and $2 million homes weren’t the norm.

“When I found New Canaan, I just couldn’t believe the uniqueness of this place,” said Jack Trifero, 58, who moved here in the mid-1970s. The red-brick storefronts along Main and Elm Streets “reminded me a bit of Europe,” he said. “It was definitely a community.”

Source: The New York Times
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