Whether you are shopping for New Homes in Chappaqua, Condos in Rye or Coops in Scarsdale there are two undeniable truths. An informed buyer is a smart buyer. A prudent seller is a successful seller.

To help my clients understand the market, and to assist in advising on both bidding strategy and listing strategy, I will be posting a quarterly summary of the Westchester County housing market.

Overview for the 2nd Quarter of 2017:

  • Prices rose 1.6% compared to the second quarter of 2016.
  • The absorption rate, or the amount of time it would take to sell through existing inventory, dropped by almost two months, a very strong signal of strength in the market
  • A number of sales closed rose by just over 18%
  • Inventory of listed homes dropped by almost 14%
  • The average home took 3 fewer days, from 92 days to 89 days to sell than in the same period last year
  • Negotiability, or the average discount a buyer was able to negotiate versus the asking price, dropped by just under 1%

In summary, the 2nd quarter overall for the housing market in Westchester was extremely strong. Westchester County as a whole had the most recorded sales in 35 years while inventory fell to its lowest level in 14 years. This is even more impressive in my view as these results took place while mortgage rates, a high-level indicator of affordability, rose during the quarter.

Area Specific Summary, by School District:

Northeast School Districts: Bedford, Byram Hills, Chappaqua, Katonah-Lewisboro, North Salem, Pleasantville, Somers Numbers of sales jumped 15% while prices rose just over 2%. However, average time on the market rose very slightly. Lower priced homes showed more strength than the top end.

  • Buyers would be well served to bid fairly, but not aggressively as low-ball bids are likely to be ignored, especially at the low end. Buyers on the high end can afford to bid low and wait for sellers to capitulate.
  • Sellers of lower priced properties have the opportunity if priced aggressively, to see a bidding war. Sellers of higher end properties should price in line with recent comps.

Northwest School Districts: Croton-Harmon, Hendrick-Hudson, Lakeland, Peekskill, Yorktown

  • Prices moved higher by about 5% year over year but a number of sales dropped. The average home also remained on the market for a shorter period. These numbers are typical of a market with low inventory
  • Buyers need to be aggressive and move fast as well priced homes could see multiple bids quickly.
  • Sellers would be advised to price slightly over recent comps, an aggressive stance. However, if the property experiences low traffic, a seller would be advised to reprice quickly to avoid a stale listing

Rivertown School Districts: Ardsley, Briarcliff Manor, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Hastings, Irvington, Mt Pleasant, Ossining, Pocantico Hills, Tarrytown

  • Inline with Westchester County as a whole, prices climbed in the 2nd quarter and days on the market dropped considerably. The listing discount was largely in line as well
  • Buyers would need to bid fairly strong and move quickly since as time on market shrunk and prices increased. Well priced properties should be expected to move fast
  • Sellers are in prime position and can take a measured risk pricing over, but still close to recent comps.White Plains & Surrounding School Districts: Greenburgh, Valhalla, White Plains, Hawthorne
  • White Plains and the surrounding area was a mixed bag and likely the weakest pocket of activity in an otherwise impressively strong quarter for the county. The number of sales rose slightly, median sale rose sharply and negotiability declined slightly all bullish trends. However, price per square foot saw a drop and the average listing sat on the market for about one week longer than in the corresponding quarter last year.
  • Buyers are should take an even keeled approach and avoid the temptation to throw out a low-ball bid, but the urgency to jump significantly higher during a negotiation should also be avoided.
  • Sellers would be well served to price in line with recent comps and resist the urge to list higher. Poorly priced properties would be at risk of languishing and becoming the dreaded “stale listing”

LI Sound Shoreline School Districts: Blind Brook, Harrison, Mamaroneck, Port Chester, Rye City, Rye Neck

  • The shoreline districts performed slightly better but nearly in line with White Plains. Sales Rose and negotiability declined, however, days on the market dropped considerably, signaling a faster moving market. Lower tiered properties are outperforming the top end.
  • Buyers in these districts are advised to move fast but not overreach for the right property.
  • Sellers should price inline with recent comps and resist the urge to price higher. Sensibly priced homes should move within normal timeframes.

Mid/Lower School Districts: Bronxville, Eastchester, Edgemont, Scarsdale, Tuckahoe

  • This section continues to perform strongly in terms of a number of sales, price per square foot and median price. The only bearish signal was a modest lengthening of days on market from 84 days to 93 days. The extreme high end was a bit sluggish while the mid-point and lower tier showed considerable strength.
  • Buyers in the mid-tier and lower end are urged to bid aggressively and somewhat quickly as sellers remain confident on pricing. Buyers on the high-end can employ low, discovery bids in order to gauge motivation of sellers.
  • Sellers of lower and mid tier homes should meet their goals on properties that are priced competitively. Sellers of high-end properties who need to close transactions in a finite period would be urged to list at or marginally lower than comps during the previous 365 days

Southern Districts: Mt Vernon, New Rochelle, Pelham, Yonkers

  • Number of sales, median price and price per square foot all increased nicely during the period but time on market was also higher by about 10 days. Surprisingly, negotiability has dropped by about half of one percent
  • Buyers should avoid low ball bids and employ a bidding strategy that allows for movement but caps out at the proper market value according to comps
  • Sellers should see sufficient interest in properties are priced inline with recent comps.

Overall, the 2nd quarter of 2017 was strong with buyers taking a more aggressive stance. Sellers, with properly priced properties, were rewarded during the quarter, especially on the low end. The data to watch in coming quarters would be “number of sales”. If we see a slowdown in transactions, that could mean that higher mortgage rates are starting to have a negative effect. To date, that has not been the case.
Are you in the market in Westchester County? Whether you are a buyer or a seller, NestEdge Realty offers a unique advantage not offered elsewhere in the County. Buyers can receive Broker Commission Rebate checks between 1% and 2% on the properties they purchase and sellers can enjoy listing commissions as low as 3%.