HOUSING MARKET HEATS UP

 

It has now become a sellers’ market because demand for single family homes is up and prices have not reached pre-recession levels.  In an article in the Putnam-Northern Westchester Express of the Journal News on May 11, 2017 by Akiko Matsuda, points out that at a recent open house on North Ridge Street, Rye Brook, New York, 26 group of visitors (young families with young children) toured the 1,797 sq. ft. home put on the market for $699,900.  A day later, the listing agent reported that they had received multiple offers.  Bidding wars were already common place for move-in ready homes in river towns and southern Westchester that offer easy commute by Metro North to Grand Central station.  The inventory is not keeping up with the demand.

Joseph Rand of Better Homes & Gardens Rand Realty states “the story of the real estate market is lack of inventory”. The market is hot and buyers’ demands are very strong.  “We need more listings coming on the market”.  The tight inventory has started driving prices up.  The volume of home sales has been rising in both Westchester & Rockland Counties.  The buyers are young couples with families that left New York City looking for more space.  Single family home sales in the first quarter of 2017 was the highest first quarter in a decade according to Jonathan Miller, President of Miller Samuel Real Estate Appraisers and Consultants.  “The single family homes inventory was the lowest first quarter in 13 years”.  The number of single family homes for sale in the first quarter of 2017 was down 17% from 2016 in both Westchester & Rockland Counties.  According to Kenyatta Jones-Arieta of Nyack based R2M Realty “when properties come on the market, especially in our area, if they are priced right they get offers and don’t last.  They go within a first week if not the first few days”.  Rand states the levels of sales activity is back where it was in the pre-recession era.

The median sales prices wildly vary in different communities in the region, but the most desirable prices seem to be between $400,000 and $600,000. A majority of first home buyers that are flocking to the lower Hudson Valley aren’t looking for something fancy.  Dorothy Jensen Realty in White Plains states “a lot of people are just looking for a basic house with three bedrooms and two bathrooms”.  They do not want homes that are basic and dated.  They do want their home to be pretty much move in.  If the buyers are spending $400,000 and it is their first home, they do not have a lot of money saved to do major renovations.

The first quarter single family home sales in Northeast Westchester in the Towns of Bedford, North Castle and Mount Pleasant increased by 10.2% from 2016.  The sales in the Town of Yorktown increased by 9.8%. Until recently, sale prices haven’t budged in the region despite the heavy marked activity, but this changed in the first quarter of 2017.  The median price of a single family home in Westchester was $600,000, up 5.3% from a year earlier.  In Rockland, the figure was $425,000, up by 6.5% from 2016.

According to Rand “the market right now reminds me of 2002 & 2003.  The sales volume is back to where we were.  It’s a sellers’ market but the prices are still 25% below earlier high points so the prices still have the room to rise.  Now the demand is so strong and the inventory is low, I think these things start driving prices up”.

A recent sale handled by Kobota of Shoen Realty may be a good indication.  A $750,000 home with a Scarsdale zip code brought in nearly 60 groups for its open house generating multiple offers.  The house was sold about 10% higher than the asking price.

If you are in the need of a real estate attorney, contact the law firm of Dominick J. Robustelli & Associates, PLLC at (914) 288-0800 or on the web at White-Plains-Injury-Lawyer.com.