WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Real estate in Westchester settled into a steady state during the third quarter, with a modest rise in the median sale price and a slight dip in activity compared to the third quarter in 2013.
“Even though sales were a tick down, we saw some meaningful price appreciation,’’ said Joe Rand, a managing partner for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. “Sales were down, but we were measuring against an unnaturally high baseline. Last May was a spike in interest rates and that sparked a frenzy. When people realized rates weren’t going over 5 percent, it slowed things down a bit. It set a high baseline. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the market.”
For the second quarter, 1,955 homes were sold in Westchester County, a decline of 2.4 percent from the 2,003 homes sold in the third quarter in 2013, according to figures provided by Houlihan Lawrence. The median sale price climbed 4.6 percent to $680,000, and the average sale price rose 6.6 percent to $916,593.
Homes in the White Plains area had a sluggish second quarter. In White Plains, there were 80 single family home sales, down 2 percent from 2013. Greenburgh saw a 48 percent decline, and Valhalla had an 8 percent increase, from 26 units sold to 28.
The median sale price rose 5 percent in Greenburgh and 1 percent in Valhalla, while the median sale price for a single family home in White Plains fell 5 percent.
Interestingly, some homes in Westchester are selling at or above asking price. Houlihan Lawrence’s report said 19 percent of homes sold in Westchester County went at or above asking in the third quarter. In Hastings-on-Hudson, 61 percent of the homes sold met at least the asking price. Homes in Ardsley (41 percent), Mamaroneck and Scarsdale (36 percent) were also getting buyers’ attention. The average Westchester home sale was at 97.3 of the asking price, the highest percentage to asking since 2005.
“We saw the return of the bidding war and multiple offers last summer for a little bit,’’ Rand said. “It’s coming back, but at a much more selective way. Well-priced homes are generating interest, but it’s not widespread. What we’re seeing now is much more sustainable. A certain market and a certain time, you might get it a bidding war. It’s certainly not 2004, when almost everything was a bidding war.”
Realtors are encouraged heading into the fourth quarter that the market has exited recovery mode and has now reached steady, stable growth.
“The market is fundamentally sound,’’ Rand said. “We’re seeing a nice reasonable rate of appreciation. Things aren’t soaring. I’ll take 4 or 5 percent a year all day long. Inventory is good, demand is strong and mortgage rates are stable. I think the market is in better shape than at any time in the last 10 years.”
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