Wealthy Connecticut town bans 'for sale' signs on homes on market

Realtors in one upper-crust New England town where celebrities and CEOs live side-by-side on well-kempt estates are so worried about the housing market that they have taken the counter-intuitive step of banning "for sale" signs.

The Board of Realtors in New Canaan, Conn., where Harry Connick Jr., Paul Simon and NBC newsman Brian Williams have homes, voted to take down all such signs by July 1, and the Town Council could make it an ordinance after a six-month trial period.

“I haven't heard of anyone who thinks this is crazy," one local resident told Fox News. "If you drive around this town, it looks like a yard sale. It just looks bad. It starts to look ugly and desperate. And I don’t think it’s helping anyone sell their homes.”

Residents say the signs are not only ugly, but inceasingly unnecessary in an age when potential buyers do much of their searching online, rather than driving around looking for homes marked to move.

Musician Harry Connick Jr. lives in New Canaan, Conn., along with other high profile names.

Musician Harry Connick Jr. lives in New Canaan, Conn., along with other high profile names. (Reuters, File)

"The signs disrupt the charm and quaintness of the town," said another resident of the town. "I have personally sold three homes in New Canaan without any signs on my property."

The median price of homes currently listed in New Canaan is nearly $1.5 million, according to Zillow, making it one of the priciest ZIP codes in the United States. In addition to Connick, Simon, and Williams, former late-night talk show host David Letterman and political pundits Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck have all called the town, 40 miles north of Manhattan, home.

New Canaan is located approximately 40 miles from New York City.

New Canaan is located approximately 40 miles from New York City. (iStock)

The town’s former first selectman, Republican Rob Mallozzi, who served for three terms, said he talked about the no-sign policy “very quietly” during his last year in office.

“The look and the feel of our town, with the clutterness of signs, and the feeling when you drove through, gave the wrong image for our town—that this town may not be as viable as you think,” Mallozzi told Fox News. “I applaud the realtors for doing it.”

Former late night television host David Letterman lived in New Canaan, Conn.

Former late night television host David Letterman lived in New Canaan, Conn. (Reuters, File)

Nearby Greenwich, Conn., also bans any sort of commercial signage in residential areas. In that town, the policy is now an official ordinance for “cosmetic purposes and to avoid drive-bys,” according an official on the Greenwich Board of Realtors.

Current New Canaan First Selectman Kevin Moynihan told Fox News he also supports the idea of banning front-yard marketing.

Downtown New Canaan, Conn., is filled with local boutiques and restaurants. Residents argue 'for sale' signs take away from the town's charm.

Downtown New Canaan, Conn., is filled with local boutiques and restaurants. Residents argue 'for sale' signs take away from the town's charm. (iStock)

“There are a lot of signs on houses that take longer to sell,” Moynihan said. “In New Canaan, people don’t drive around looking for $3 million, $4 million houses.”

High property and income taxes and loss of major corporations pack a powerful one-two punch that experts say is driving an increase in "for sale" signs throughout the state.

Connecticut has the third-worst credit rating in the country, and its deficit has reached nearly $5 billion. According to a 2017 estimate by the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Nutmeg State only has $240 million in its ‘rainy day fund’—only five states have a smaller cushion.

This photo was taken on Forest St. in front of the New Canaan Diner.

This photo was taken on Forest St. in front of the New Canaan Diner. (iStock)

The state has hemorrhaged corporations under two-term Democratic Gov. Dannel Malloy, who announced he would not seek re-election this November. Insurance giant Aetna, which was based in the state’s capital since 1853, moved in January to New York City. And General Electric left its headquarters in Fairfield in 2016 after more than 40 years.

The New Canaan Board of Realtors did not respond to Fox News’ request for comment.