WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Westchester real estate has been recovering from the recession over the past two years. The final statistics for 2013 illustrate the recovery, and industry analysts believe the statistics are a harbinger for a strong 2014.
“The rising tide has all boats moving up at the moment,’’ said Chris Meyers, Managing Principal for Houlihan Lawrence. “We’re about two years into this recovery, and the trend has been that the markets closest to Manhattan recover first and spreads north. We can say with conviction all markets are participating in the upward trend.”
Houlihan Lawrence’s fourth quarter report showed a 21.5 percent surge in single family home sales in Westchester County for 2013. The median sale price rose 3.9 percent to $610,000. For the final quarter in 2013, the median price for single family homes rose 2.8 percent over the same period in 2012. Sales surged 17 percent in the final quarter over 2012.
“No market is healthy unless you’re firing on all cylinders,’’ said Amy Kane, Vice President/Director of Business Development at Douglas Elliman. “People have enough confidence to sell their houses and move within their neighborhoods, and empty nesters who want to downsize within the county. You have people migrating from Manhattan and the outer boroughs to the suburbs. 2013 was a year where that occurred throughout Westchester.” Douglas Elliman's fourth quarter report is also online.
The Houlihan Lawrence report showed some Westchester County regions that had especially strong years. The New York City Gateway – Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, Pelham and Yonkers – saw a 20 percent rise in the sale of single family homes for 2013 and a seven percent increase in median price.
Greater White Plains (Greenburgh, Valhalla and White Plains) saw a 40 percent increase in the sale of single family homes, and a two percent rise in the median price. “There are some markets that are playing catch up, and White Plains is one of those,’’ Meyers said. “The condo side was doing well, but the single family home was a little less dramatic until this past year. The momentum has picked up. White Plains has developed into a community that has its own job market and nightlife. It has become the popular for younger people. It had the most single family homes sold there since 2005.”
Sales of single family homes surged 24 percent for the year in the Sound Shore, which consists of Blind Brook, Harrison, Mamaroneck, Port Chester, Rye and Rye Neck. Prices were up five percent for the year.
Another encouraging region was Northern Westchester, where sales jumped 20 percent for the year and the median price was up seven percent. The region consists of Bedford, Byram Hills, Chappaqua, Katonah-Lewisboro, North Salem and Somers. Sales surged 66 percent in Chappaqua for the year, and median sale prices rose five percent.
For the fourth quarter, five of the six communities saw double digit increases in median sale prices from 2012, led by a 45 percent rise in North Salem.
“We’ve had a busy winter,’’ said Mike Norton, Principal Broker for North Country Sotheby’s International Realty, based in Chappaqua and Croton. “In the last few years, we’ve seen a unique market in that there really wasn’t a winter slowdown once this recovery started. The mortgage rates have stayed pretty low, and that has really helped push this market right through winter.”
Leah Caro, Principal Broker of Bronxville-Ley, said there were 83 sales of single family homes in Bronxville in 2013, just three more than in 2012. “The homes for $2 to $2.5 million were the highest number of sales,’’ she said. “Last year the highest number was under $1 million. People were willing to spend money on a quality home. Homes that didn’t sell probably weren’t priced right. Buyers aren’t willing to overpay.”
All of the Realtors are encouraged by the start to 2014. Many of them had pending deals at the close of December. Most analysts do not expect 2014 to be as robust as last year, but don’t see a regression, either.
“We may see a small tick in the rates, but that might not be a bad thing,’’ Norton said. “We might see some buyers jump in, and sellers may acknowledge that as well. There are buyers out there. We need inventory to keep this push going.”