WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Prices and activity varied in the White Plains area of Westchester County during the second quarter.
However, the best news is that in the big picture, stability seems to be returning to the real estate marketplace.
“Stability is a good word after the wild swings we’ve had over the last 10 years,” said Chris Meyers, managing principal for Houlihan Lawrence.
“We had a market I call the steroids era from 2004 to 2007, kind of like what was happening in baseball, that was juicing our numbers. It was unsustainable and was followed by the sharp correction.
"I look at last year as being the first normal year in 10 years. I’d expect this year it be close to 2013 in that feels like a sustainable market environment. It’s not too hot or too cold. It’s the Goldilocks effect.”
Home sales fell during the second quarter in Westchester compared to last year. Houlihan Lawrence reported a 12.1 percent drop in home sales from the same quarter in 2013, and Douglas Elliman reported a 15.4 percent decline. The HL report is online . The Elliman report is attached as a PDF. The report from William Pitt Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty is also online .
Sales of single family homes fell 24 percent in White Plains, but rose 22 percent in Greenburgh compared to the second quarter in 2013, according to the Houlihan Lawrence report.
Perhaps the more telling number is median sale price. The median sale price for a single family home in White Plains increased 20 percent, compared to the second quarter of 2013, to $635,000. The median price for a single family home in Greenburgh increased 11 percent.
The median sale price in the White Plains area is $537,500, the highest figure since 2009. Average days on market (137) and list to sale price (97.2 percent) are also the best numbers for both of those indicators in the last seven years.
Sales fell throughout Westchester, and most real estate agents attributed that to the harsh winter along with other factors.
“We were working off of a high baseline,’’ said said Joe Rand of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty. “The second quarter of 2013 had the most single family transactions since 2005. Nobody should look at it and say the market is in retreat.
"It’s only in retreat compared to last year. It’s not as good as last year, but it was still best second quarter we’ve had in seven years. It’s not a bad thing.”
One telling indicator of a robust market is a growing inventory. The market saw 17.9 percent more homes in the second quarter compared to the first quarter of 2014, according to the Elliman report.The market also had 3.5 percent more homes for sale compared to 2013.
“I think there was scarce inventory,’’ said Gabe Pasquale, executive vice president for Douglas Elliman. “From a seller’s perspective, they see more of a stable environment and they’re moving ahead with whatever their plans are.
"Homes that are priced within five percent of the market are selling in a 35-60 day period. In a lot of the markets, the asking price versus contract price is almost 90 percent across the county.”
There may be some fluctuations in communities on a quarterly basis, but real estate agents generally like the big picture they are seeing for Westchester real estate.
“I was concerned the market was getting overheated in the first six months of 2013,’’ Rand said. “We were getting bidding wars. I got calls from people who were backing out of contracts because they were getting better offers.
"I didn’t get a lot of those calls in 2008 and 2009. We went from 0-to 60 really fast; it was almost like we flooded the engine. Now I feel like we’re back in 1999. We’re in the second year of what feels like a pretty robust market.”