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Madison, Connecticut: A cozy town with long beaches

About a year ago, Margaret Muir, an agent at William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty in Madison, Connecticut, lamented the state’s housing market slump and population decline. “More people were away from my beautiful Connecticut than I was moving,” she said.

Later, with the advent of Covid-19, Madison and its neighboring towns on the southern coastline, like many other parts of Connecticut, were newly liberated buyers to work from their homes away from the city center. Suddenly flocked. The frenzy didn’t stop.

“I’ve never seen inventory so thin,” Muir said. “Sadly, it was the pandemic that turned the market around.”

Mike and Natalie Concannon, both 32, moved to Madison from the New Jersey Summit last July, shortly after learning they were expecting a third child. Concannon, who operates in the consumer goods industry, grew up in Madison and remembered the fascinating downtown, surf club waterfront parks, and how the community gathered around the school’s sports team.

The pandemic hastened their move, and the couple were lucky to find the house they wanted, just as it was on the market: a four-bedroom colony of about 1.5 acres at the northern end of the town. .. They paid $ 605,000.

“There are nearly 100 homes in the neighborhood and lots of kids,” Concannon said. “It would be a lot of fun if we could get out of this Covid.”

Amy Thomas, 48, and Andrew Longstress, 45, began looking for homes in Madison last May, but almost every home they asked for was already under contract. At the time, they lived with their little daughter in a co-operative in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn, and slid the search a bit before finding a home in early July.

They bought an acre four-bedroom cape overlooking the neck river for $ 764,000. Freelance writer Thomas said he chose Madison for a location along the coast of Long Island Sound, about 100 miles east of Midtown in Manhattan. Fascinating downtown shops and a small town atmosphere.

“It’s neither too hip nor boring,” she said. “Leaving the city was an emotional decision. We loved co-operatives, neighbors, and diversity. That was the only reservation for moving here. It’s a very white town. “

Their new neighbors have welcomed them by unloading baked goods after the couple moved in, assuring them that the neighborhood would be crowded with barbecues and dinners without a pandemic.

Covering 36 square miles at the easternmost tip of New Haven County, Madison is a quiet suburb of about 18,000 people. Its coastline neighbors are Gilford to the west and Clinton to the east.

The town is probably best known for Hamona Set Beach State Park, the state’s largest coastline park with two miles of beaches, campgrounds and a nature center. There are also beaches in three towns, including one of the surf clubs, a valuable 45-acre park where football games on Friday night take place on the waterfront fields.

Unlike some towns with rocky coastlines, Madison “is blessed with long, sandy beaches. Nature has given us at random,” Muir said.

Also, the business district is close to the coastline and is one of the few towns that allows people to live near both the town and the beach, says Lisa P. Rollins, owner of the Rollins Group at Page Taft Christie’s International. ..

House types range from antique colonies around historic greenery to rubble cottages and palace-like waterfront homes in the coveted beach districts east and west of downtown, to the northern end of the town’s forest. It’s very different, even to the new colonies that gathered in the dead end in.

The agent said he was seeing many buyers from New York City and Boston. However, Madison is also seeing an influx of buyers from Fairfield County, about 50 miles west, as remote work allows them to live in relatively affordable areas of the state, says William Pitt Sotheby’s. Agent Susan Woods said.

According to William Pitt data, the average selling price of Madison’s single-family homes last year was $ 479,000, up 20% from 2019. According to Woods, about an acre of old colonies or capes will be purchased with some updates in that price range.

The median selling price of condos was $ 330,000, up 16% from 2019.

As of late January, about 80 properties are for sale. The cheapest $ 324,900 was a 568 sq ft two-bedroom cottage just a short walk from the beach. The most expensive was $ 2,725,000, a historic colonial era with five bedrooms, a pool, a carriage shed, and a separate building.

According to Woods, inventory declines mean that bidding wars are now commonplace. Buyers also often submit offers with escalation clauses. This promises to match higher bids up to the specified limit.

According to Rollins, it’s an ideal time for potential sellers to go public, and the market is moving so fast that many people are hesitant to go public first, without lining up elsewhere. ..

The green storefront of the RJ Julia Booksellers Forest supports downtown. Woods calls the bustling store that opened in 1990 “the heart and soul of our town.” Every year, the store and its small cafe host about 250 writer events.

Owner Roxarn J. Cody said he is always trying to create a place of conversation, a kind of “indoor town green”. Her staff noticed that customers were recently attracted to the store, as they were in the days immediately after 9/11. “Not everyone hangs out at the bar, but you can hang out at a bookstore and be welcomed, whether you buy it or not,” she said.

The Madison Art Cinema across the street has long been a loyal supporter of independent art and foreign film screenings. (Due to the pandemic, the theater has been closed since March and the owner did not respond to inquiries regarding reopening.)

Adjacent to downtown, the historic greenery is home to farmers’ markets on growing Fridays. There is also an ice cream stand and takeaway restaurant in the area near the entrance to the Hamona Set, which is suitable for day travelers. One of the popular stops is Lenny & Joe’s Fish Tale, a seafood restaurant with dozens of picnic tables around an outdoor carousel.

In Madison School District, about 2,600 students attend two elementary schools: elementary school (3rd grade from kindergarten), junior high school (4th and 5th grade), junior high school (6th to 8th grade), and high school (9th to 12th grade). I am. According to state data, the student population is 86% white, 5% Hispanic, 4% Asian, 4% multi-ethnic, and less than 1% black.

Daniel Hand High School has about 1,000 students. The four-year graduation rate is 98 percent. The average SAT score for 2019 was 579 for reading and writing and 579 for math, compared to the state averages of 529 and 516.

The Virgin Mary Preparation Academy of Mercy is a Catholic-based private school from kindergarten to the second year of middle school. Country School is a private day school with 23 acres of campus that serves preschool to second year students.

Shore Line East trains run regularly from Madison Station to New Haven, and commuters can take the Metro-North Railroad to Grand Central Terminal. It takes a little over two hours to get to the city. One-way tickets range from $ 24 to $ 30 depending on the time of day and purchase method, and monthly passes are $ 500.

It takes about two hours to drive to Midtown Manhattan on Interstate 95.

Daniel Hand, of the same name in high school, was born in Madison in 1801 and left as a teenager in search of his fortune in Georgia. His business venture there was successful, but after the Civil War broke out, Mr. Hand, a parent union and anti-slavery, remained interested in caring for his partner and headed north. In the 1880s, his partner visited Connecticut and provided more than $ 1 million, which is part of Mr. Hand’s business revenue. Mr. Hand used the money to set up a trust fund with the American Missionary Association to educate blacks in the South.

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Madison, Connecticut: A cozy town with long beaches

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