Westchester’s Housing Market Offers Opportunities for Buyers and Sellers

Dorothy Botsoe | April 2017

Dorothy Botsoe

Westchester County is vibrant and spring always ignites a sense of urgency in the residential sales market. Buyer demand is high and sellers who have priced their homes wisely have seen them sell quickly. However, overvalued homes sit on the market for some time.

The strong buyer demand, combined with low for-sale inventory, have fueled plentiful multiple offer situations and in some cases homes selling at or above asking price. These market conditions truly have transformed Westchester County into a seller’s market.

Overall residential sales in Westchester County rose 4.4% in the first quarter. The sector with the largest percentage increase in sales during the first three months of this year was the singe-family market, which rose by more than 7%, as noted in sales statistics released recently by the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, Inc., a subsidiary of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.

Buyers are dictating to a certain extent what the homes are selling for and smart sellers always price their homes well and rely on their Realtor’s knowledge to guide them in the process to ensure they get the best qualified buyer for their home and close in a timely fashion.

The first quarter’s housing market has been exciting. Westchester County’s residential market posted a 5.3% increase in the first-quarter single-family median sale price, rising from $569,950 in 2016 to $600,000 in 2017. However, that is about where the median price was back in 2014 and 2015.

Inventory levels are dropping precipitously and are limiting buyer options. Inventory in the single-family sector fell 17.3% in the first quarter of this year as compared to the same period in 2016. For-sale inventory in the condominium and cooperative sectors declined by 28.3% and 23.8% respectively during the same time period.

The market is fluid and the lack of inventory is really giving buyers a sense of urgency and prompting some to make their buying decisions quickly. This at times may put undue pressure on both parties. Seller may sell their home and have no place to move to because the property sold so quickly. My advice to both prospective buyers and sellers is to take the time to set a solid plan of action before making the decision to sell or buy.

Housing is open to all and since this is Fair Housing month for us, as Realtors, I would be remiss in not mentioning this very special celebration. This is a great time to reflect on our power as Realtors. We are held to a higher standard based on our Realtor Code of Ethics. Homeownership provides shelter and brings stability to a family and the community. Fair housing and cultural diversity is a celebrated right for all of us. We agree we are different and have different cultures and any time we select a particular group for selective treatment, we ostracize other groups without meaning to, but unfortunately the damage is done. We must always do our job in working with all consumers be it the buyer, seller, or investor. Respect and dignity is the key to our success. Let’s pick up the mantle and make sure that we are shining examples for Fair Housing and Cultural Diversity.

The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors is committed to promoting Fair and Affordable Housing. In fact, last month, HGAR, along with Westchester County, Westchester Residential Opportunities, the Housing Action Council, the Westchester Interfaith Housing Corporation, M&T Bank, Citi, Orange Bank & Trust Co. and PCSB Bank, co-sponsored the 2017 Fair and Affordable Housing Expo at the Westchester County Center. Approximately 650 people attended the free event that offered invaluable assistance to first-time homebuyers, as well as those looking for affordable rental housing in Westchester County.

Westchester County is a fantastic place to live and work. We encourage our communities to do everything to promote their areas and highlight all the various activities in that community. Our market in Westchester is vibrant and there is plenty of excitement in the air. Keep an eye on the market and don’t let it pass you by.

Here’s looking forward to a wonderful marketing season and helping more consumers achieve the American Dream.

Dorothy Botsoe
Dorothy Botsoe is 2017 President of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc.