Whether you are shopping for New Homes in Briarcliff Manor, Condos in White Plains or Land in Scarsdale there are two undeniable truths in Westchester Real Estate. 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 3rd Quarter of 2017:

  • Prices remained about flat compared to the third quarter of 2016.
  • Inventory is at historically low levels, dropping by almost 24%, an incredible figure and the lowest in 22 years, leading to fewer homes trading during the current quarter for a total drop of over 5%
  • Negotiability, or the average discount a buyer was able to negotiate versus the asking price, rose by about half of one percent
  • A sharp separation remains in the market whereas lower and middle-priced homes continue to see demand and quick sales while the higher end of the market is seeing a profound weakness with lower trading prices and far longer times on the market.

In summary, the 3rd quarter overall for the housing market in Westchester was average at best. It seems that low inventory is slowing sales and consumer confidence is not allowing the higher end of the market to perform. Our advice remains the same, whether its homes for sale in Scarsdale or condos for sale in Rye…The lower priced buyer should remain aggressive and ready to pounce while the higher-priced buyer can bargain hunt and still be successful.

Area Specific Summary, by School District:

  • Northeastern School Districts: Bedford, Byram Hills, Chappaqua, Katonah-Lewisboro, North Salem, Pleasantville, Somers

o   Numbers of sales rose almost 12% while prices dropped about 3%. However, average time on the market dropped sharply.

o   Lower priced homes seemed to hold firm while the upper end suffered the bulk of the pain

o   Buyers would be well served to bid fairly and firmly at the low end. Buyers on the high end can low-ball all day long and still have a strong chance of finding a motivated seller.

o   Sellers of lower-priced properties have the opportunity if priced aggressively, to see a bidding war. Sellers of higher-end properties should price inline with recent comps and not ignore bids that come within percentage points of the ask

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

o   Prices moved higher by about 12% year over year and amount of sales increased by the same figure. The average home also remained on the market for about 17 days less, likely the result of low inventory

o   Buyers need to be aggressive and move fast as well priced homes could see multiple bids quickly.

o   Sellers would be advised to price slightly over recent comps, an aggressive stance. However, if the property experiences low traffic, a seller would be encouraged 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

o   Price remained mostly inline, rising about one half of one percent

o  Days on the market shrunk sharply, by an average of about 19 days.

o   Buyers would need to bid relatively strong and move quickly since as time on market shrunk and prices increased, though marginally. Well priced properties should be expected to move fast

o   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

o   White Plains saw a sharp pricing drop of about 7.5%, but days on the market shrunk by about 28 days, an amazing number

o   Buyers of well-priced properties should bid “Fairly” but bid quickly, as the velocity here is quick due to low inventory conditions.

o   Sellers would be well served to price inline with recent comps and resist the urge to list higher. Due to low inventory, such a strategy should result in a very quick sale.

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

o  The shoreline districts performed strongly with prices climbing about 12%.

o   The number of sales rose by over 23 percent and days on the market decreased by about 1.5 weeks, signaling a fast-moving market with low inventory.

o   Buyers in these districts are advised to move fast but not overreach for the right property.

o   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

o   Numbers of sales increased by a strong 32% with prices dropping about 4.5%. The bulk of the sharp drop occurred at the upper end of the market in the “luxury” category

o   Days on market dropped sharply.

o   No change in strategy. 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 to accurately gauge motivation of sellers.

o   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

o   Number of sales, median price and price per square foot all increased nicely during the period but time on market was sharply lower, in line with the county as a whole due to low inventory.

o   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

o   Sellers should see sufficient interest in properties that are priced in line with recent comps.

Broadly, historically low inventory is starting to affect the market. My concern is that with low inventory, we should see two things

1)   Houses remaining on the market for a shorter period of time. We are seeing this…

2)   Prices rise sharply. We are NOT seeing this for the entire market.

The market remains segmented. Lower and average priced properties remain strong and show modest year over year gains. Well priced properties can move very quickly. However, the upper end of the market remains profoundly weak and a buyer’s market. We see repeated and sharp price cuts for properties that have languished on the market.

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