When buyers first come to me they have a lot of criteria on their wish list. Very often the hype in the market about homes being available for pennies on the dollar sets them up for disappointment. It is not unusual for me to hear the following…
We love this house! It has all the amenities we want – but that neighborhood! Why can’t we find this in the school district (or insert other criteria) that we want?
This is a question asked by many buyers who are frustrated that they are not able to find exactly what they are looking for at their price point. Lenn Harley wrote a tremendous post on this topic and kind of beat me to the punch on this topic. “I’ll send you my criteria….” In that blog – Lenn aptly describes a situation very familiar to Westchester NY agents. A buyer who is perfectly capable of buying has created criteria that is so tight it prices them out of the market. It happens all the time and the way I answer that question depends on the circumstances.
Unfortunately, housing prices reflect supply and demand. If you love the location and the home, chances are, other buyers like it too. This creates competition and pushes up prices.
Often the buyer has selected an area exclusively based on the school district (as in Lenn’s blog) I recognize and understand everyone’s desire to give their children every advantage, but unfortunately everyone likes that town (zip code) for the same reason. Since pricing is determined by supply and demand, how much you can buy often depends more on where you are looking. Some areas are highly competitive while others have plenty of inventory.
School District – People want only the “best” districts – or their definition of same (which I don’t agree with – but I digress) high scores mean big bucks.
Close to high end shopping and fine dining – The McMansion far from stores, shopping and dining is now passe. People want walkable neighborhoods where they can leave the car. They want to walk to first class restaurants, be able to pop by stores like Anne Taylor, grab a coffee at Starbucks (or a local bistro) and stroll home. Any home with that amenity will be priced higher than those that are tucked further away.
Commute – In Westchester NY – if it is not about the schools it is ALL about the commute! Premium prices can be expected for anyone looking at homes within about 40 minutes of Grand Central Station NYC on any of the three Metro-North train lines. If the municipality lacks a stop on Metro-North the price goes down. If you can walk to the train – the price tag goes up. White Plains has the most peak hour trains of any stop on any of the three train lines. This boosts prices in the downtown.
At the end of the day, creating criteria that can’t be met by the current market is self-defeating. Homes in desirable locations are resistant to major price shocks – so the correction that we had – though significant – has proven to be a disappointment for many buyers. But hoping that affordability will increase is probably self-defeating at this point. The areas where everyone seems to cast their lot are already edging up in price and interest rates are also starting their upward climb. Prices may or may not adjust more, but affordability is not going to get much better.
©2011 – Ruthmarie G. Hicks – https://thewestchesterview.com – All rights reserved.
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