A tale of two markets
Established in 1662, Stonington, Connecticut today is home to 18,335 residents, according to the 2020 U.S. Census. It comprises the charming community of Stonington Borough, as well as the hamlets of Pawcatuck, Lords Point, Wequetequock and eastern neighborhoods in Mystic and Old Mystic.
North Stonington became its own parish in 1724, and today is home to approximately 5,149 residents, who enjoy the more rural and country setting the town affords.
With so many buyers coming to southeast Connecticut from other areas of the state, other states and even other nations, Welcome Home wanted to learn what distinguishes Stonington and North Stonington, particularly in terms of their distinctive real estate markets.
"While close in proximity these are two completely different towns," according to Broker Jon Arruda of the Arruda Property Group at William Pitt Sotheby's, based in Mystic. "Stonington is a shoreline destination, while North Stonington still has great access to the coast, but more emphasis on acreage and horse properties."
"The lots are less expensive, more rural and larger in North Stonington," he added. "There is less emphasis on second-home buying in North Stonington like there is in Stonington, especially the Borough, which is a second-home enclave on the water."
Arruda is currently working as the listing broker for the seller of a remarkable home in Stonington Borough — 40 Grand Street, a home he refers to as an "English country manor estate." The house is sited on a 0.70-acre lot, with English garden-inspired landscaping. The interiors afford 6,247 square feet of living space, with a gourmet kitchen and luxury amenities, including a bar, gym, wine cellar and home theater. The asking price is $3.45 million.
Broker Judi Caracausa is the owner of Market Realty, LLC, a Mystic-based brokerage. One of the things that she appreciates about Stonington and North Stonington are the towns' history and heritage.
"The Main Street of North Stonington is a very special historic place, with the 1814-era Marcia Thompson one-room schoolhouse. This building was lovingly restored and is open to the public," she noted. "Also, Limpert's Grist Mill is a focal point of this area."
"Both towns are extremely desirable, and properties sell quickly," Caracausa said.
Currently listed for sale, 1335 Pequot Trail in Stonington, a 2.97-acre property with a three-bedroom house that dates back to 1800 and which Caracausa describes as "reminiscent of a French country home." The seller is asking $1.695 million for the property, which has been in the same family for a half-century.
Realtor Elizabeth Johnstone of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties is the listing agent for 9 Church Street in Stonington, a six-bedroom Victorian antique dating back to 1870.
"This wonderful property delivers the perfect balance of classic and contemporary aesthetics," Johnstone said, highlighting some of its remarkable features, including a tower with views of Stonington Harbor; a welcoming living room with a cozy fireplace; and a gorgeous bluestone patio surrounded by lush landscaping. The seller is asking $1.55 million for the property.
Johnstone explained how Stonington and North Stonington each have their own special qualities: "North Stonington has remarkable, beautiful farms in a country setting, with larger plots of land for animals, and freshwater lakes. It has the Johnathan Edwards Winery, and is close to the casinos."
By contrast, she said, "Stonington is a colonial-era New England coastal town, with grand sea captains' residences alongside quaint cottages. It includes the quiet harbor-side historic Borough, the vibrant tourist-filled Mystic and quaint Old Mystic, Stonington Vineyards, Salt Water Farm Vineyards, and golf courses south of Route 184 — and the rich and vibrant community of Pawcatuck."
Ann Bergendahl is the broker-owner of Willow Properties in Mystic, and she works with buyers and sellers across Stonington and North Stonington.
"Both towns have distinct differences," she explained. "The two obvious ones are that one borders the shoreline and one is more rural; although, I will say that Stonington certainly has many farms and properties with land, and North Stonington has many lakes and ponds.
"In our area, a big factor in property values can be proximity to the Sound. The closer to the water a property is, or if it has views or actual waterfront, can mean higher property values. But not everyone expects to be able to see a little blue from their front porch," she added. "The beautiful landscape of rolling fields, with cows out to pasture; a multitude of barns in all shapes and sizes and conditions; a large community geographically, but small demographically might be what one desires. This can be found in North Stonington."
Bergendahl's brokerage is the listing agency for 20 Main Street in North Stonington, a two-bedroom 1,608-square-foot colonial and four-stall barn on 3.63 acres. The asking price is $374,000.
The location of this home is noteworthy. It's in the village of North Stonington. "You can walk to the library, churches, the town hall, restaurants, a brewery and the North Stonington fairgrounds. North Stonington Village has a feel of a time long past, but its sense of community has been preserved."
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