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Westchester Real Estate Sees Mixed Results In Third Quarter

Photo Credit: Contributed

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Third quarter real estate sales figures released Tuesday showed sales slowing but prices increasing in Westchester County.

The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors’ report showed a 2.7 percent decrease in homes sold in Westchester County compared to the third quarter in  2013. For the third quarter, the median sale price of a single family house in Westchester was $682,500, up by 4.7 percent over 2013.

“The real story is not that we’re down two or three percent from last year,’’ said Phil Faranda, president of the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service. “The real story is sales of single family homes are up 50 percent from 2011. That proves that 2013 was no fluke. We kept steady, but we’re way up from the down cycle of the market. We’re in a flat, stable, environment.”

Faranda said flat and stable is the desired objective in real estate, unlike the huge swings from just a few years ago. “Boring and stable is sexy in real estate,’’ Faranda said. “We don’t need volatility. We don’t need up and down. That’s for traders.”

For the four counties serviced by the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Services, sales fell 1.9 percent for the third quarter compared to 2013. Sales fell in Rockland (2.4 percent) and Orange (.3 percent) and grew in Putnam (3.1 percent).

The report said low interest rates, declining unemployment and a rising stock market contributed to consumer confidence, which helped spur real estate sales.

The report also said for the year, sales fell 3.5 percent in the four counties compared to last year. If fourth quarter activity mirrors the prior three quarters, 2014 sales will amount to about 13,300 units and make 2014 the second best year since 2008.

Rising inventory is also good news for the real estate market. The report said 12,359 units were on the market at the end of the third quarter, an increase of 9.5 percent over last year.

Increased inventory also reflects consumer confidence, as more reticent sellers have finally come to the conclusion the market is stable, Faranda said.

“People are realizing it’s OK to jump into the water after five years of drama,’’ Faranda said. “A lot of retirements were delayed and a lot of empty-nesters were not selling. Now they can get back in the game.”

Faranda expects conditions to stay stable throughout the fourth quarter, and the escalating inventory should lead to a strong first quarter. “In 2015, we’re going to hit the ground running,’’ Faranda predicted.

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