Second Quarter Home Sales Show Stability In Westchester

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Activity may have slowed for real estate sales in the second quarter in Westchester County, but prices in Northern Westchester showed improvement.

Single family home sales fell in the second quarter in Westchester County, and most realtors attributed it to the unusually harsh winter.
Single family home sales fell in the second quarter in Westchester County, and most realtors attributed it to the unusually harsh winter. Photo Credit: Daily Voice File Photo

In the big picture of Westchester real estate, stability seems to be returning to the 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 will 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 quarterly report from William Pitt Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty is online.

In HL’s report for Northern Westchester, sales fell 13 percent in the communities of Armonk, Bedford, Katonah, Somers, North Salem, South Salem, Lewisboro and Pound Ridge. However, the median sale price rose six percent compared to the second quarter in 2013, including a 30 percent gain in Somers and a 28 percent rise in Bedford.

Single family homes sold increased by nine percent in the Byram Hills school district, and by five percent in Bedford. Chappaqua saw a 45 percent decline in sales, compared to the second quarter in 2013, and sales also fell in Somers (11 percent) and North Salem (six percent).

Gabe Pasquale, the Executive Vice President for Douglas Elliman, said he has seen a shift in some Northern Westchester communities, particularly in Pound Ridge.

“There’s an unbelievable surge of buyers from Brooklyn, and they’re coming into varied markets,’’ Pasquale said. “Many of them are interested in Pound Ridge. They’re still interested in some of the Rivertowns, but they’re also seeing Pound Ridge, and I think it ties into the arts. We’ve seen a tremendous amount of people coming into Pound Ridge. It has been a neat migration change.”

Sales fell throughout Westchester, and most real estate agents attributed that to the harsh winter. However, that was not the only cause for the dip in activity.

“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. Noboby 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 had 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.

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.”

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