Olé! New Business in Town: Chipotle Mexican Grill.

Chipotle Mexican Grill has officially opened in Stratford. The chain’s Stratford location is at 100 E. Main St. and includes a drive-thru lane that allows for service with minimal contact, according to Linhart PR, a firm representing the Mexican eatery. Chipotle offers fast-casual dining and is open 10:45 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily. They are also available as a partner for local fundraisers. For more information, visit community.chipotle.com. Chipotle had more than 2,450 restaurants in the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, France and Germany and is the only restaurant company of its size that owns and operates all its restaurants.

The Chipotle in Stratford offers fresh, real ingredients and specializes in custom burrito bowls, burritos, tacos and salads either that you can cater for your next large event or order online and enjoy a meal without the wait.

Stratford’s Town Council approved a tax break for the development in July 2019. The Chipotle location was previously residential property, but was rezoned for commercial use in 2018. Under the tax abatement approved by council members in July, 2019, Chipotle and the storage facility also located in the shopping plaza, will be 100% tax exempt for three years, and will receive a tax exemption between 33% and 72% for the following four years. Starbucks is also scheduled to go into this development, but was not listed as part of the abatement schedule. The site is being developed by Urstadt Biddle Properties Inc.

Should I Stay or Should I Go?

Time to Sell – or – Time to Buy? 

By Osi Rosenberg,
A to Z Realty,
LLC osi@atozct.com/www.atozct.com

It is the middle of the pandemic and lockdowns are looming. Here is how things look in Stratford! At the time this was written, November 18, 2020, there are 83 properties on the market with a price range of $45,000 to $2.3M. An impressive range for our humble little town. While we don’t have a lot of inventory, the real question is, what kind of market are we in? Buyer or Sellers? Good question! It is hard to say how this will play out with so many moving parts such as the pandemic response in CT and surrounding states, the elections finalization, and the much awaited, highly anticipated vaccine. 

Key Conditions:

Let us go back to economics class for a moment. What happens when there is very little inventory (sellers), and a lot of demand (buyers)? If your Virtually Educated Middle Schooler answered prices skyrocket, they would be correct! When we have very few homes on the market and buyers pouring into the state, there is a huge demand that causes buyers to fight tooth and nail to outbid their competition. In some cases, having the winning bid meant bidding on homes $20,000 to $50,000 over asking price in parts of the state. This makes a Sellers’ market that Stratfordites and all of CT seemed to enjoy over the summer months. Summer is usually a busy time in real estate, 2020 did not change that, in fact it was impressive on all accounts. Buyers from NYC flocked to the suburbs to stretch their legs in the new remote work environment. I’ve even heard it described as the “Great Exodus”! 

Market Drivers: 

Now, the initial wave of panic has settled, and the pouring out of NY has slowed. What happens when the supply is increased and the demand decreases? You guessed it, the exact opposite, the infamous Buyers’ market. Where Buyers underbid and Sellers have two choices; wait for the market to turn, or accept lower than asking price. With the winter months approaching, colder weather, darker days and COVID-19 still looming, a Buyers’ market certainly seems very possible. 


Opportunities Amidst Challenges:

So where are we here in Stratford? Like the rest of CT, Stratford had its fair share of the benefits of the Great Exodus. I would attribute this to the position on the Metro North and Forest to Shore small town feel. During the pandemic, Stratfordites, supported each other through its religious and civic organizations as well as its municipal initiatives. Stratford has so much to offer and just a hop, skip, and train ride to the city. But as they say, what goes up, must come down. Homes are not flying off the market like they were, Sellers are seeing higher numbers of showings to contract, and Buyers are being braver with their low ball offers. The good news is that buyers are still looking, and homes are still going on the market, but like the ebb and flow of the tide, there is a familiar feeling in the current of Stratford Real Estate Market. What will happen going into the holiday season and beyond? Time will tell, but Buyers’ Market warnings are around us.

Fair Market values always drop a little in the winter months and it will be interesting to see how the market fairs the next few months. I’ll be watching. 

Sneak Peek at the next edition: 

Short Sales and REO’s are Reading their Ugly Heads Again. 

Now that courts are back in session, the pause on evictions, stalled foreclosures, and extended law days are coming to an end, February and March will likely see a huge uptick in foreclosure proceedings. Next edition, I will discuss the issues involved in Distressed Homes, Short Sales and how they affect the market. If you want to discuss your distressed property sooner than later, contact A to Z Realty, LLC 203.738.5999. We are always available to assist. 

Real Estate Question Corner: 

I was asked the other day about refinancing opportunities and if it is worthwhile in this market. 


Here are the factors to consider: 

  1. What is your current mortgage rate? 
  2. What is your current Loan to Value ratio?
  3. What is your current mortgage payment versus what you may pay with a new loan? 
  4. Do you have enough equity to do a no-money-down refinance? 
  5. Are you interested in cash out refinance? 
  6. How’s that credit score? 

Your best first step is to contact a Mortgage Professional and discuss your options. There are several mortgage professional businesses based right here in Stratford. 

*Note that the figures in this article are taken from InfoSparks statistics with the restriction of Stratford, CT/All Price Ranges/All Property Types/All Bedrooms/All Bathrooms/All Sizes.

Mellow Monkey Gifts and Home Décor

11th Annual Small Business Saturday® Begins on November 28th

Mellow Monkey Gifts and Home Decor has announced that as a member of the American Express® Neighborhood Champion Program, it is encouraging consumers to shop with local, independently owned small businesses as part of the 11th Annual Small Business Saturday, which begins on Nov 28 and continues all holiday season long. Created by American Express in 2010, Small Business Saturday celebrates the impact small businesses have on communities across the country, and is a celebration of the positive impact they have on communities across the country. American Express works with organizations and independent businesses to provide solutions that support communities and uplift local economies. Learn more and connect with us on ShopSmall.com, Instagram.com/ShopSmall, and Facebook.com/SmallBusinessSaturday.

For the fourth year in a row, Mellow Monkey has led the Shop Small effort in cooperation with the Town of Stratford Department of Economic Development by promoting “Shop Small Stratford.” a town-wide effort that highlights small businesses in the town of Stratford and what they have to offer. This year’s Shop Small event is particularly challenging given the fluid nature of the pandemic and its impact on small businesses.

According to Howard Aspinwall, “Historically, Shop Small Saturday has put a focus on getting consumers in the doors of small businesses. This year, restrictions on occupancy and any potential lockdown measures make this year’s event a challenging one. To address that, we’re encouraging businesses to plan for both scenarios – in particular, to ensure their online and social media presence is ready and up-to-date, and their alternative fulfillment processes (local delivery, curbside pickup and shipping) are clearly communicated to consumers.”

“At Mellow Monkey, we are actively encouraging our customer base to get out NOW and shop with small businesses in advance of the event by incentivizing them to do so. The store will reward customers with shopping discounts on Shop Small Saturday when customers present receipts for purchases made with other Stratford Small Businesses from November 13th through November 28th (Shop Small Saturday).”

“Mellow Monkey is also cross-promoting other independently owned “retail stores” regionally and in its same vertical market. While technically we all sell gifts and home décor, our primary competition is not with each other, but with national and online brands. Working together, we are stronger as a collective by reminding and encouraging consumers to do their holiday shopping with small business retailers.

Specifically in retail, it’s important to remember small businesses needed to tap into a financial reserve during the Spring lock down – a cushion that came from holiday sales in the previous year. Without the benefit of holiday sales this year, most retailers would find it difficult if not impossible to survive into 2021. The impact of shuttered small businesses in 2021 would be extensive and noticeable because they have given back to the community many times over and also make up the fabric and color of the communities they operate in.” Howard Aspinwall, Owner, Mellow Monkey Gifts and Home Decor

In order to drive shoppers to Shop Small® this Nov 28, Mellow Monkey Gifts and Home Decor is participating in the American Express® Neighborhood Champion Program to spotlight small businesses and the impact they have on communities. According to the 2019 Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, 97% of consumers who
shopped on Small Business Saturday agree that small businesses are essential to their community and 95% reported the day makes them want to shop or eat at small, independently-owned businesses all year long, not just during the holiday season.

Since it started in 2010, consumers have reported spending an estimated $120 billion across all Small Business Saturdays combined. Merchants and consumers can learn more about Shop Small, Small Business Saturday and how to get involved by visiting ShopSmall.com.

Stratford Real Estate Market Leaps during Pandemic

By Osi Rosenberg, A to Z Realty, LLC

Location! Location! Location! Stratford is my dream hometown. Situated on the Metro North Train Line with a Forest at one end, and the Shore on the other, Stratford truly is the town for all seasons. The housing market has certainly proven that the time to be in Stratford is now!

Since the pandemic began in March 2020, homes on the market have been flying off the streets of Stratford at record prices. In July 2019, Stratford’s average price range was approximately $243,000, but spiked drastically between March and July 2020 to $258,000. This increased the price average per square feet values from $150 in July 2019 to $160 per square foot in July.

Many homeowners chose not to move out during the uncertain times of the pandemic, dropping the supply of new homes to a bare minimum. As a result of the low supply of homes, the Stratford market has been in a heat wave throughout the summer months. May 2019 Stratford had 1,218 new listings on the market compared to May 2020 only 963 new listings were available. There has been a slight uptick in July 2020 which saw 1,023 new listings.

It is no wonder it’s a seller’s market with the low inventory and high demand for suburban living that Stratford offers in abundance. Even a pandemic could not quash the American suburban dream in Stratford. I, for one, felt insulated and safe while still being able to take the kids for a stroll in the woods, or head to the beach to go kayaking or fishing. Friendly neighbors, active civic organizations, strong sense of community, proximity to major metropolises, and well-maintained beaches and parks. Many New York residents look to Stratford as an affordable option to escape while still staying tethered to the big city.

The average amount of time a home stays on the market is only 69 days, which from my experience, is slowed mostly by lenders that are overwhelmed by a backlog of loan applications and closings.

What does this mean for your property? Simple! Right now, most homes are selling at a premium. Your home may see an increase market value. Which is great news if you want to sell, refinance, or obtain a line of equity while interest rates are historically low.

*Note that the figures in this article are taken from InfoSparks statistics with the restriction of Stratford, CT/All Price Ranges/All Property Types/All Bedrooms/All Bathrooms/All Sizes.

A to Z Realty, LLC is Stratford based Real Estate Brokerage.