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Are ‘For Sale’ signs obsolete? One Connecticut town is banning them

The new policy will be assessed over a six-month trial period

for sale sign Shutterstock

Believe it or not, there was a time before Zillow and StreetEasy. In that time, many moons ago, people relied on now-seemingly archaic forms of communication to let potential buyers know that their house was on the market—newspaper ads, multi-listing services, and the most ubiquitous among them: the classic “For Sale” sign.

Today, sale signs are still useful, but they’re they’re falling out of vogue in tony towns that would rather not advertise neighborhood turnover. Starting July 1, “For Sale” signs in New Canaan, Connecticut, will be banned from adorning the front yard of houses that are on the market. The city’s board of realtors voted to test the new policy for a six-month trial period, during which they’ll assess its impact on the housing market and decide whether to make the ban permanent.

According to John Engel, a realtor in New Canaan and chairman of the city board, it was a simple decision. “We wanted to declutter our residential neighborhoods with what has become an obsolete and archaic form of advertising,” he told ”Signs have been replaced by more modern forms of communication—particularly search engines and cellphone mapping.”

In a town like New Canaan, where the median house price is above $1.5 million, the signs were seen by some as a gauche form of desperation. It’s perhaps a luxurious mindset that only a town where modernist gems are a way of life could have.