WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y – Second quarter statistics in several pockets of Westchester indicate real estate prices could be at the front end of sustained growth, according to industry analysts.
Brokerage reports from Douglas Elliman and Houlihan Lawrence reported sales climbed 27.1 percent and 24.0 percent, respectively, over the same quarter in 2012. Where the sales grew was especially encouraging.
“The southern part of Westchester was considerably higher than Northern Westchester for a while,’’ said Amy Kane, the director of business development for Douglas Elliman. “We’re seeing some great growth this year in Northern Westchester. I think we’re seeing increased consumer confidence. Before, there was a lot of scaling down. Now, people are moving up. All the numbers, particularly in Northern Westchester, are moving up.”
The Northeast section of Westchester saw a 20 percent increase in in the average sale price of of single family homes. Only South Central Westchester, which saw a 21.7 increase in the average sales price, had a bigger increase in the seven regions in Westchester. View the Elliman report online.
“The stability is coming into Northern Westchester,’’ Kane said. “To me, it just feels as if the market is healthier. I think with the double-digit gains, it just shows there are more move-up buyers. When a market improves, it always goes from south to north because of commutability. In every quadrant of Northern Westchester, you see a good increase.”
Chris Meyers, the chief operating officer of Houlihan Lawrence, saw signs in other areas of Westchester that point to sustained growth. Towns such as Bronxville, Scarsdale and those in the Sound Shore have seen increases in homes sold and median price for the first six months of this year. In the last quarter, White Plains and the Rivertowns saw robust activity.
“White Plains and the Rivertowns are getting in on the act,’’ Meyers said. “They’re joining in the recovery.”
There was a 110 percent increase in the number of homes sold in Briarcliff Manor, for instance, one of the towns listed in Houlihan Lawrence’s Rivertowns category. Irvington was up 79 percent and Ossining was up 46 percent. The median sale price in HL’s 11 towns that comprises its Rivertowns analysis was up eight percent for the quarter and nine percent for the year. The complete Houlihan Lawrence report is online.
White Plains showed even greater numbers. Three communities in HL’s White Plains category, Greenburgh, Valhalla and White Plains, saw 105 homes sold in the second quarter of 67 percent over the same period in 2012. The median price for the quarter increased three percent over the second quarter of 2012. Home values have risen seven percent in the first six months of 2013 to a median price of $500,000.
“If there’s a surprise in the report, it’s how robust activity has become in the Rivertowns,’’ Meyers said. “It has caught on among buyers. It’s seen as an area attractive for young buyers, people moving up from the city. It has a good combination of the lifestyle of the suburbs but some of the cultural touchstones of the city.”
Meyers also said Scarsdale, which saw a 13 percent increase and an one percent gain in median price, is a “bellwether” in Westchester. “People think of Scarsdale as an expensive town, but it actually has a good mix,’’ he said. “In many respects, as the market goes in Scarsdale, that’s the way it goes throughout the county.”
Meyers and Houlihan Lawrence cautioned that a rise in interest rates – which increased one percent in June – could put the brakes on a sustained recovery.
“We’re encouraged to see the momentum has reached a level where all price segments are in in recovery mode,’’ Meyers said. “Until now we had seen a patchy recovery. This is the first quarter where the market has been firing on all cylinders in a long time. It’s the strongest quarter we’ve had since 2007.”