WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Sales stayed strong for Westchester County real estate in the second quarter while prices stayed stable, according to reports from the leading brokerages.
Houlihan Lawrence’s second quarter report showed a 5.7 increase in single family homes sold in Westchester County for the second quarter compared to the same time frame last year. The median sale price, however, climbed just eight-tenths of a percent. The median sale price for a single family home in Westchester County stood at $637,000 and increased by more than $50,000 since 2012.
“The trends we have been seeing quite some time are continuing,’’ said Roberto Vannucchi, Executive Vice President for Douglas Elliman. “The numbers are very stable. Low inventory and a lack of quality inventory continues to drive our market. Six or 12 months ago we were seeing the same thing, and I think it’s going to continue throughout the year.”
Westchester’s “Gateway communities” to New York City reflected the overall county trend. Sales were up 1 percent for the communities of Pelham, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle and Yonkers. The median sale price grew 1 percent.
Pelham had the biggest jump, a 47 percent increase in homes sold. Sales fell in Mount Vernon (22 percent), New Rochelle (3 percent) and Yonkers (5 percent). The median sale price for a single family home rose 15 percent in New Rochelle, and 3 percent in Pelham. Prices fell in Mount Vernon (2 percent) and Yonkers (6 percent).
Joe Rand, Managing Partner for Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty, said sales levels in Westchester are the highest the market has seen since 2007. “The trajectory is positive for Westchester County homeowners,’’ Rand said. “The big question is when will we some meaningful price appreciation. I think we’re getting to that point.”
Rand said homeowners anxious who are considering selling would be wise to wait. “It takes time for prices to turn around,’’ he said. “It doesn’t happen in a quarter or a year. It’s like turning a supertanker. It takes time for sustained changes in buyer demand.”
Barry Graziano, the branch manager for Houlihan Lawrence’s Chappaqua office, said consumer confidence and labor stability have provided the impetus for a strong housing market in Westchester.
“Buyers are working within their means and they’re buying what they can afford,’’ he said. “I think that’s a fantastic formula for success.”
Part of the sustained activity in real estate sales is the advance of millennials into the marketplace. The 18-34-year-old demographic sat on the housing sidelines for several years after the economic downturn to wrestle down college debt and find steady employment. Many of them have found a way to purchase their first home.
“They might even suppressing pricing,’’ Rand said. “They are buying into the entry level and might be weighing the average sale price down a little bit.”
Realtors always believe now is the best time to buy. Rand goes even further this year.
“My personal view is it’s about as good a situation you’ll get in the next 10 years,’’ said Rand, who purchased his first home this year after years of living in a condominium. “It doesn’t make sense to wait. I think prices and a rise in mortgage rates will make every home in Westchester more expensive.”
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