The White Plains real estate market is alive and well. Deals are being made and the with a few exceptions, the days-on-market indicate that buyers are snapping up properties quickly. This, of course, is a reflection of the general housing market in Westchester and New York tristate area.
As mentioned in previous posts on the White Plains and Westchester markets, this is a reflection of a broader based housing recovery that began in the second half of 2015. With a few exceptions in the high-end condo market, White Plains was not a big player in the “granular” housing boom that started in 2012. Today the White Plains entry level market is booming while the higher end markets for both single family homes and condos is in stable but not bull territory.
The White Plains single family home market hit bottom in 2011. That year, the median price fell to $550k from a high $663k in 2007. As far as median prices go, we are back to where we were in 2007. So far, for 2017, the median price is $648k for all single family homes. This is down from the $660k from the previous year. But that drop of less than 2% is just normal fluctuation. Prices have essentially been stable. This is a good news, particularly for people who have bought into the entry level market which is doing very well.
Prognosticating market trends can be tricky but there are several indications that this will continue to be a strong seller’s market. The median number of days-on-market (DOM) by the end of Q3 is 39 days, which is very short period of time. At the entry level, bidding wars are common reflecting a very tight inventory. There are 87 active listings and 40 in contract as of this writing. This means that there is about 3 to 3.5 months of inventory, which is quite low.
The above was for the entire single family home market. But this market is more like two separate markets and they are not moving in parallel. Dividing the sold listings between homes selling below $750k and above $750k, you find two distinct markets.
Although median prices haven’t gone up, this market is very strong. There are 38 active listings and 26 currently under contract. There have been 96 homes in this market sold in the last six months. The DOM is 30 days and the active inventory is about 2.5 months. This is a seller’s market any way you look at it.
For homes over $750k, the median DOM is 57 days. That’s almost double the market time than lower price points. Given that there are 14 homes in contract and 47 active listings, the amount of inventory on the market is a bit north of 5 months. Still bull market territory, but the industry standard for a stable market (neither bull nor bear) is six months. So although this is a seller’s market, it isn’t that strong a seller’s market.
Granted, it is typical for higher-end homes to be on the market for a longer period of time. But the differences between these two markets is significant. This is in part because other municipalities with comparable school systems and commuting times have an upper end market that is a good deal stronger. Their DOM are around 35 and the price points are moving up at a good clip.
Condos have been selling well for some time in White Plains. During the early part of the recovery, the market for condos was actually stronger than for single family homes. So far for 2017, median prices have increased about 8.6% over the previous year (from $405K to $440k). The DOM for condos has been quite low (36 days) indicating tight inventories. There are 59 active listings as of this writing and 29 in contract. This corresponds to about 3 months of inventory.
Below $750k, the market is very tight with and high demand is moving inventory at a good clip. There are 32 active listings with 25 under contract and 81 total sales over the past 6 months. That comes to about a 2 month inventory which is very, very bullish.
As with single family homes, we do see demand lower at the higher end market in complexes such as Trump Tower and the Ritz Carlton. For higher end units (over $750k) the DOM is at 74 days. There are currently 26 active listings with 3 under contract. 26 units have sold over the past 6 months. If you include closed sales, you are looking at an inventory that is a bit over 6 months which is regarded as a neutral market. Since higher end condos and townhouses led the way in the recovery county-wide, it is not surprising to see that market leveling off. It is important to note that prices of the high-end market are up year over year. This is particularly true when you look at individual complexes. However, if demand stays on the low side and inventories build, prices will not continue to rise.
There has always been a rather large and active cooperative market in White Plains. Median prices are up by 3.4% this year coming in at $181k. Right now there are 78 active listings and 54 units in contract. The inventory is very low with less than 3 months supply currently on market. The DOM are longer than for SF homes and condos, but this is not unusual since cooperatives are different type of transaction. The low levels of inventory are a better indication of demand in this particular market.
All in all this is a very strong market. The possible exception is higher end single family homes and condos. Don’t get me wrong, it is a good market for these properties as well, but these are stable markets, not bull markets.
As previously stated, the high-end condo market needed a break from its upward climb. As for the high-end single family market, this is something that needs to be watched. In other municipalities with similar amenities to White Plains in terms of schools and commutes, the $750k+ market is firmly in bull territory and making tracks. Their median DOM is much lower (about 40% lower in a couple of towns) and prices are increasing at a more rapid clip. In an apples to apples comparison, White Plains is flat, while these markets are in strong bull territory.
The high end of the White Plains single family market has been slow to get its mojo back from the great recession. The city should be looking to see what can be done to attract new families to these neighborhoods. This is something that proper planning can fix. These homes are now just roughly back to their pre-housing recession highs which is a good thing. But other municipalities that are comparable in terms of primary amenities are breaking new ground to higher price points. This is a problem for empty nesters who would like to sell but are not seeing the gains in value they need in order to downsize and bank some funds for retirement. It could also become a problem for markets that are doing well. Bullish conditions at the top end of the market tend to lift all the boats below them.
the co-op market has room to run. It has experienced gradual but consistent gains. The inventory is set in stone. No new co-ops are being converted or built. Further, given soaring rents, the cooperative market should become a welcome refuge for young people looking to get off the rental rollercoaster. The younger generation has been slow to embrace homeownership, but the higher rents continue to go, the more young people will see renting for the losing game it truly is.
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