Well, another year has come and gone and it is time for the Westchester View to take a look back at how the Westchester housing market fared over the past year.
First, I know this kind of dry stuff, so try to bear with me. My purpose is to inform, and not to put my readers into a coma of boredom.
In general, I’m not fond of such broad views of housing because housing is probably as local an industry as you can find. So, here is the main caveat of all that is to come: Westchester is a big county and there are major market differences between municipalities and even individual neighborhoods. So think broad generalizations, not specific communities. So with that in mind – here we go…
Overall prices for single family homes in Westchester were down 0.6% from the previous year. This is well within normal margins of error. So, the overall picture for homes in Westchester was that prices remained stable. The final median price for a home sold in Westchester came in at $624,000.
Even though inventories were very tight throughout the year, volume was up. This points to a far stronger market than the flat price point would indicate. Volume increased 8% from the previous year and is up over 85% from its lowest point during the housing crisis.
Looking a little closer, the downward price adjustments were mostly confined to towns in upper Westchester, where the NYC commute is well over an hour. Towns such as Bedford, Cortlandt, Mount Kisco, New Castle, Peekskill, Somers and North Castle. North Castle isn’t that far north however, access to Metro-North is a bit more problematic than parts of Westchester.
Municipalities in lower Westchester experienced an increase in median price with the notable exception of Mamaroneck/Larchmont which did show a significant decrease in median price. The 11% reduction may sound serious, but in light of the extremely big price jump Larchmont saw in between 2014-2015, this price change seems more in line with a market that got a bit ahead of itself. Sales volume was still up 19% from the previous year, which is not a sign of a faltering or weak market.
The take away lessons for this market are:
Commutability is key and overall distance to NYC is a factor in pricing.
Areas that have been on a tear may be taking a pause while other neighborhoods and towns catch up.
Cooperatives continued their price climb, up 3% from the previous year. Once again, even though inventories were terribly tight, sales volume was up over 3.5% from the previous year.
Like New York City, Westchester cooperatives provide a vital entry point into the housing market. Although tight inventories have been causing many buyers to wait for more options, waiting is not likely to improve the inventory issue. No one is building entry level co-ops. this inventory is set in stone and with rents rising, people are looking for a way to stabilize their outlay. So demand is going to remain strong particularly in areas where the commute is easy.
Condos have been in very high demand since the housing crisis ended. Overall sales volume was up over 6% from 2015 in spite of drum-tight inventory.
Like cooperatives, I don’t see any levers around that will moderate prices. Precious few condos are being built. 90% of the new multifamily construction is for rentals and builders are completely disinterested in putting up affordable condos that would make downsizing or a first-time purchase easier.
People can get a better price on a condo if they are willing to bypass the sexy buildings constructed over the past few years. Older buildings have fewer amenities and often have dated interiors. However, their virtues lie in being less expensive and some older buildings tend to offer more generous square footage. Renovations can be a hassle, but for those looking to purchase for the first time or downsizer’s who are finding they can’t afford the space they want in a modern building, this is probably the best way to go.
Well, I hope you find this summary helpful and informative. If you wish to start looking at listings feel free to use some of the options at the bottom of this page.
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