Spring Fever Hits Westchester Home Sales Market Early
Marcene Hedayati | April 2016
It’s that time of year again…Spring! Traditionally, it is this time of year when sellers revisit their future plans and seriously consider putting their homes on the market. Similarly, buyers, rejuvenated by the warmer weather, crave a new start and itch to move. Having had a very mild winter with only a few snowstorms to speak of, I suspect the spring fever for both sellers and buyers will hit early.
As an owner of a real estate company, it is this time of year that we try to anticipate where the market is going as part of our overall business plan. We use statistics provided to us by our association and the multiple listing service to give us clues. As with any forecasting, we can only look at this as simply an educated guess. Nevertheless, the indicators are there and I will try to give you a brief picture of where the Westchester market is and where it is going.
2015 ended on a very positive note for our housing market in Westchester County. The economy was and remains strong with unemployment under 5%. This, coupled with mortgage interest rates remaining low, fueled a vibrant and lively real estate market, with close to a 10% increase year-over-year in the number of sales, with the greatest growth in the condominium and multi family housing sectors. The median sales price of all property types in Westchester County either stayed flat or declined slightly in 2015 and, although, in the past, this may have elicited caution, we see it as an indication that the market is healthy and not at risk of spiraling out of control as it did during the pre-recession years of 2006 and 2007. In addition, the inventory at the end of 2015 overall was up 2.2%—8.8% for single-family housing alone—adding to the notion that we are in the midst of a solid market.
The statistics for the first quarter of 2016 just released by our association reflect a continued increase in the number of sales, up more than 11% over last year for single-family housing, 14% over all property types for Westchester County. As in 2015, this is a clear indication that the market is strong, and even though the first quarter of 2016 showed a rather insignificant decline of .5% in the median sale price, I remain confident that this will remain and prove to be negligible. Although we have seen a waning of new inventory for condos, co-ops and multi-families during the first quarter of 2016, single-family housing showed a considerable increase in the number of homes entering the marketplace and I anticipate the other sectors to follow as the spring market progresses.
Although the equity markets have been volatile and the current global economy is unpredictable, real estate remains local and we have not yet seen a direct correlation between the two. All in all, the market going forward appears solid and I look forward to robust growth in 2016.
Marcene Hedayati is the 2016 President of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors. She is also the broker/owner of William Raveis Legends Realty Group in Irvington, Tarrytown, Briarcliff and Hastings-on-Hudson.