Category Archives: Westchester County

2016 U.S. Existing-Home Sales Best Since 2006

Existing-home sales closed out 2016 as the best year in a decade, even as sales declined in December as the result of ongoing affordability tensions and historically low supply levels, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, finished 2016 at 5.45 million sales and surpassed 2015 (5.25 million) as the highest since 2006 (6.48 million).

In December, existing sales decreased 2.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million in December from an upwardly revised 5.65 million in November. With last month’s slide, sales are only 0.7% higher than a year ago.

December existing-home sales in the Northeast slid 6.2% to an annual rate of 760,000, but were still 2.7% above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $245,900, which was 3.8% below December 2015.

Earlier this month, the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service Inc. reported that sales activity in the Hudson Valley was the highest since the recovery from the recession began in 2011, the HGMLS stated in its report.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market’s best year since the Great Recession ended on a healthy but somewhat softer note. “Solid job creation throughout 2016 and exceptionally low mortgage rates translated into a good year for the housing market,” he said. “However, higher mortgage rates and home prices combined with record low inventory levels stunted sales in much of the country in December.”

Added Yun, “While a lack of listings and fast rising home prices was a headwind all year, the surge in rates since early November ultimately caught some prospective buyers off guard and dimmed their appetite or ability to buy a home as 2016 came to an end.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $232,200, up 4.0% from December 2015 ($223,200). December’s price increase marks the 58th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of December dropped 10.8% to 1.65 million existing homes available for sale, which is the lowest level since NAR began tracking the supply of all housing types in 1999. Inventory is 6.3% lower than a year ago (1.76 million), has fallen year-over-year for 19 straight months and is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace (3.9 months in December 2015).

“Housing affordability for both buying and renting remains a pressing concern because of another year of insufficient home construction,” said Yun. “Given current population and economic growth trends, housing starts should be in the range of 1.5 million to 1.6 million completions and not stuck at recessionary levels. More needs to be done to address the regulatory and cost burdens preventing builders from ramping up production.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage surged in December to 4.20% from 3.77% in November. December’s average commitment rate was the highest rate since April 2014 (4.32%).

First-time buyers were 32% of sales in December, which is unchanged both from November and a year ago. First-time buyers also represented 32% of sales in all of 2016. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers—released in late 2016 —revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35%.

“Constrained inventory in many areas and climbing rents, home prices and mortgage rates means it’s not getting any easier to be a first-time buyer,” said Yun. “It’ll take more entry-level supply, continued job gains and even stronger wage growth for first-timers to make up a greater share of the market.”

On the topic of first-time- and moderate-income buyers, NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor from Alamo, CA, says Realtors look forward to working with the Federal Housing Administration to express why it is necessary to follow through with the previously announced decision to reduce the cost of mortgage insurance. By cutting annual premiums from 0.85% to 0.60%, an FHA-insured mortgage becomes a more viable and affordable option for these buyers.

“Without the premium reduction, we estimate that roughly 750,000 to 850,000 homebuyers will face higher costs and between 30,000 and 40,000 would-be buyers will be prevented from entering the market,” he said.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 52 days in December, up from 43 days in November but down from a year ago (58 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 97 days in December, while foreclosures sold in 53 days and non-distressed homes took 50 days. Thirty-seven percent of homes sold in December were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory data from Realtor.com reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in December were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA, 49 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA., and Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN, 50 days; and Billings, M., and Hanford-Corcoran, CA, both at 51 days.

All-cash sales were 21% of transactions in December, unchanged from November and down from 24% a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15% of homes in December, up from 12% in November and unchanged from a year ago. Fifty-nine percent of investors paid in cash in December.

Distressed sales—foreclosures and short sales—rose to 7% in December, up from 6% in November but down from 8% a year ago. Five percent of December sales were foreclosures and 2% were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20% below market value in December (17% in November), while short sales were discounted 10% (16% in November).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales declined 1.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in December from 4.97 million in November, but were still 1.5% above the 4.81 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $233,500 in December, up 3.8% from December 2015.

Existing condominium and co-op sales dropped 10.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units in December, and were 4.7% below a year ago. The median existing condo price was $221,600 in December, which was 5.5% above a year ago.

Westchester Top 2017 Suburban Market, Real Estate Pros Predict

Real estate professionals predict Westchester will be a top place for homebuyers looking outside New York City in 2017, according to a new study.

Westchester will be the top choice for homebuyers looking outside New York City in 2017, surpassing New Jersey and Long Island, according to a new survey .

Real estate data provider PropertyShark said its clients, New York City real estate pros, predict that about 49 percent of homebuyers will look beyond the five boroughs, with most mentioning Westchester County as the place to go to. Respondents cited Yonkers as a real estate market “that could answer the needs of priced-out buyers looking for a quiet location and more living space,” according to the study.

David Gerts, a New York real estate broker, confirmed the trend of homebuyers looking beyond the city. “Rising energy costs and low inventory will force home buyers further into rural areas. Transportation and access to NYC will be a major factor in the decision-making process for first-time homebuyers as they are forced further away.”

PropertyShark did not say how many real estate professionals responded to its polling to make up for the basis of the study.

2016 U.S. Existing-Home Sales Best Since 2006

WASHINGTON— Existing-home sales closed out 2016 as the best year in a decade, even as sales declined in December as the result of ongoing affordability tensions and historically low supply levels, according to the National Association of Realtors.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, finished 2016 at 5.45 million sales and surpassed 2015 (5.25 million) as the highest since 2006 (6.48 million).

In December, existing sales decreased 2.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.49 million in December from an upwardly revised 5.65 million in November. With last month’s slide, sales are only 0.7% higher than a year ago.

December existing-home sales in the Northeast slid 6.2% to an annual rate of 760,000, but were still 2.7% above a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $245,900, which was 3.8% below December 2015.

Earlier this month, the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service Inc. reported that sales activity in the Hudson Valley was the highest since the recovery from the recession began in 2011, the HGMLS stated in its report.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says the housing market’s best year since the Great Recession ended on a healthy but somewhat softer note. “Solid job creation throughout 2016 and exceptionally low mortgage rates translated into a good year for the housing market,” he said. “However, higher mortgage rates and home prices combined with record low inventory levels stunted sales in much of the country in December.”

Added Yun, “While a lack of listings and fast rising home prices was a headwind all year, the surge in rates since early November ultimately caught some prospective buyers off guard and dimmed their appetite or ability to buy a home as 2016 came to an end.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in December was $232,200, up 4.0% from December 2015 ($223,200). December’s price increase marks the 58th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of December dropped 10.8% to 1.65 million existing homes available for sale, which is the lowest level since NAR began tracking the supply of all housing types in 1999. Inventory is 6.3% lower than a year ago (1.76 million), has fallen year-over-year for 19 straight months and is at a 3.6-month supply at the current sales pace (3.9 months in December 2015).

“Housing affordability for both buying and renting remains a pressing concern because of another year of insufficient home construction,” said Yun. “Given current population and economic growth trends, housing starts should be in the range of 1.5 million to 1.6 million completions and not stuck at recessionary levels. More needs to be done to address the regulatory and cost burdens preventing builders from ramping up production.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage surged in December to 4.20% from 3.77% in November. December’s average commitment rate was the highest rate since April 2014 (4.32%).

First-time buyers were 32% of sales in December, which is unchanged both from November and a year ago. First-time buyers also represented 32% of sales in all of 2016. NAR’s 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers—released in late 2016 —revealed that the annual share of first-time buyers was 35%.

“Constrained inventory in many areas and climbing rents, home prices and mortgage rates means it’s not getting any easier to be a first-time buyer,” said Yun. “It’ll take more entry-level supply, continued job gains and even stronger wage growth for first-timers to make up a greater share of the market.”

On the topic of first-time- and moderate-income buyers, NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor from Alamo, CA, says Realtors look forward to working with the Federal Housing Administration to express why it is necessary to follow through with the previously announced decision to reduce the cost of mortgage insurance. By cutting annual premiums from 0.85% to 0.60%, an FHA-insured mortgage becomes a more viable and affordable option for these buyers.

“Without the premium reduction, we estimate that roughly 750,000 to 850,000 homebuyers will face higher costs and between 30,000 and 40,000 would-be buyers will be prevented from entering the market,” he said.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 52 days in December, up from 43 days in November but down from a year ago (58 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 97 days in December, while foreclosures sold in 53 days and non-distressed homes took 50 days. Thirty-seven percent of homes sold in December were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory data from Realtor.com reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in December were San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA, 49 days; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, CA., and Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, TN, 50 days; and Billings, M., and Hanford-Corcoran, CA, both at 51 days.

All-cash sales were 21% of transactions in December, unchanged from November and down from 24% a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 15% of homes in December, up from 12% in November and unchanged from a year ago. Fifty-nine percent of investors paid in cash in December.

Distressed sales—foreclosures and short sales—rose to 7% in December, up from 6% in November but down from 8% a year ago. Five percent of December sales were foreclosures and 2% were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 20% below market value in December (17% in November), while short sales were discounted 10% (16% in November).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales declined 1.8% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.88 million in December from 4.97 million in November, but were still 1.5% above the 4.81 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $233,500 in December, up 3.8% from December 2015.

Existing condominium and co-op sales dropped 10.3% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 610,000 units in December, and were 4.7% below a year ago. The median existing condo price was $221,600 in December, which was 5.5% above a year ago.

Sales Boom in New York City’s Suburbs

In the seven years since New York City’s real estate market hit rock bottom in 2009, the surrounding suburbs have experienced a striking increase in the number of homes sold year over year. During the same period, residential sales in the city have grown at a much slower pace. Is an exodus taking place?

Not exactly. The city’s market is hardly sagging; rather, high prices and low inventory may be causing buyers to spill over into surrounding areas.

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For comparison, we looked at the number of homes sold in Brooklyn and Westchester, and their average sales prices during the first three quarters of 2016 and every year since 2009. Average sales prices in Brooklyn rose nearly 67 percent during those seven years, and the number of homes sold increased by nearly 47 percent. In Westchester, prices went up nearly 9 percent during the same period, while the number of sales increased impressively by just over 106 percent.

And these numbers represent a historic high: In the first three quarters of 2016, there were 7,074 home sales in Westchester — the most since at least 1982, the earliest year for which data is available.

NY State’s Best School Districts In New Rankings

Twenty-six Westchester County school districts are among the 100 best in New York, according to brand-new 2017 rankings just released by the education website Niche.

A total of 33 schools from the Hudson Valley, including five from Rockland County, made the Top 100.

Edgemont Union Free School District was the top Westchester school in the rankings, earning the No. 3 ranking .

Edgemont received an A+ for academics, teachers, clubs and activities, college readiness and health and safety and an A in the other category, diversity.

Byram Hills Central School District drew the No. 6 ranking in the state.

It received an A+ for academics, teachers, clubs and activities, college readiness and health and safety and a C- in diversity.

Briarcliff Manor Union Free School District earned the No. 8 rankin g with an A+ for academics, teachers, clubs and activities, college readiness and health and safety and a C in diversity.

Rye City School District was the final Westchester school in the Top 10, checking in at No. 10.

It was awarded an A+ for academics, teachers, college readiness and health and safety, an A for clubs and activities, and a C in diversity.

Other Hudson Valley school districts ranked between No. 11 and 30 were:

Chappaqua Central School District – No. 11

Bronxville Union Free School District – No. 14

Hastings-on-Hudson Union Free School District – No. 15

Pelham Union Free School District – No. 16

Katonah-Lewisboro School District – No. 20

Scarsdale Union Free School District – No. 23

Ramapo Central School District – No. 26

Irvington Union Free School District – No. 29

Beyond the Top 30, the following Hudson Valley school districts were ranked:

Bedford Central School District – No. 33

Blind Brook-Rye Union Free School District – No. 35

Mamaroneck Union Free School District – No. 36

Rye Neck Union Free School District – No. 40

Ardsley Union Free School District – No. 42

Pleasantville Union Free School District – No. 47

Harrison Central School District – No. 49

Yorktown Central School District – No. 51

Croton-Harmon Union Free School District – No. 52

South Orangetown School District – No. 54

Dobbs Ferry Union Free School District – No. 56

North Salem Central School District – No. 57

Haldane Central School District – No. 62

Eastchester Union Free School District – No. 64

Clarkstown Central School District – No. 65

Hendrick Hudson Central School District – No. 66

Nanuet Union Free School District – No. 72

Somers Central School District – No. 74

Spackenkill Union Free School District – No. 75

Nyack Union Free School District – No. 84

White Plains City School District – No. 96

To view niche.com’s New York state rankings, click here.

The Price Tag For Living In New York’s Top-Rated School Districts

Niche.com recently ranked thousands of school districts based on dozens of statistics and 27 million opinions from 300,000 students and parents. Read how this ranking was calculated here.

The Price Tag For Living In New York's Top-Rated School Districts

Several Westchester schools ranked among top 100 school districts in New York, with neighboring communities scoring near the top of the list. The top five local schools that scored well include Rye City School District, Rye; Chappaqua Central School District, New Castle; Scarsdale School District, Scarsdale; Edgemont School District, Greenburgh; Byram Hills Central School District, North Castle.

What does it cost to live in these school districts?
Here are the median home prices, according to realtor.com:

Rye—$1.1 million

Chappaqua—$1.2 million

Scarsdale—$1.5 million

Greenburgh—$690,000

Byram Hills—$769,000

Image via Shutterstock

Have You Met Your New Neighbors?

As buyers evaluate their reasons for purchasing a home and moving to an area, they often don’t think about the people who already lived there. Who we’re the prior occupants of their new home? Where they well liked in the neighborhood? Did they get along well with everyone else? Or did they have loud parties, with tons of cars blocking up the road, making everyone that lives on the street glad that they left?

Recently, I was at a house party for my clients who had purchased their home about a year ago. I saw their beautiful kitchen and dining room renovations and I met many of their neighbors. The neighbors thanked me for bringing such a wonderful people onto their street. I realized that we don’t usually look at the impact on the people already living in a neighborhood. How do they feel about the new owners? How welcoming are they to the new occupants of the home?

The prior home owner had been there for over 30 years, so this was a big change for the block. And while the neighbors clearly missed the prior home owner, they were very welcoming to the new owners and were glad to have been invited into their home.

First Quarter Real Estate Sales Rise 14 Percent In Westchester

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. — Real estate sales in Westchester County jumped 14 percent in the first quarter compared to last year, according to the first quarter report from the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors.

Sales also increased in Putnam (30.1 percent), Rockland (9.4) and Orange (33). The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, which comprises a four-county area, reported an 18.5 percent increase in residential sales across the four counties for the first quarter compared to the same time frame last year.

“I was a little bit surprised,” said Marcene Hedayati, HGAR President and Associate Real Estate Broker with the William Raveis Legends Realty Group in Tarrytown. “I knew what was happening in the Westchester market. Rockland and Putnam are secondary for me, and I didn’t realize they were having such a large uptick. They’ve been slower in coming back. It’s nice to see that it’s finally happening for them.”

Sales of single family homes in Westchester County jumped 11.2 percent in the quarter, while condominium sales rose 15.7 percent.

In Putnam, single family home sales rose 31.5 percent, and condominium sales increased 21.4 percent. Single family home sales increased 16.8 percent in Rockland and condominium sales increased 8.9 percent.

The statistics marked the third straight year in which first quarter sales increased by 10 percent or more.

“I think it’s a little bit of everything,” Hedayati said. “Unemployment is down, interest rates didn’t do what we all thought they’d do and the weather for winter was fairly mild. You add the beginning of the spring market, it fueled the market for a very good quarter.”

While sales increased, the price of a single family home fell 5 percent in Westchester. The median sale price in Westchester County slipped to $569,950. The median sale price rose 10.5 percent in Putnam, to $300,000, and fell three-tenths of a percent in Rockland, to $399,000.

“We don’t see that as a problem at all,” Hedayati said. “The median sale price stayed flat in 2015. The decrease was minimal. We prefer to see markets that stay steady. When we see sharp increases, we get very nervous. As long as they don’t decline severely and stay within a healthy margin, we’re fine with that.”

Interestingly, condominium sales rose nicely in all Westchester, Putnam and Rockland. Condo sales rose 21.4 percent in Putnam and 8.9 percent in Rockland. While sales rose, the median sale price for condos fell in all three counties. White Plains saw a small decline, .2 percent, to $335,700. The median sale price for a Putnam County condo fell 7.8 percent to $235,000. The median sale price for a Rockland condo fell 6.4 percent to $196,500.

Source: Daily Voice

How To Find The Perfect House That Fits All Your Requirements

Many buyers, especially first time home-buyers are looking for a house that meets all their requirements. While we know that “location, location, location” is the most important factor in real estate, the property prices in Westchester are driven by the quality of the school district and the proximity to New York City.

Being specific as to number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage, lot size and if there is fence or not for the dog, makes searching quite difficult. We can change many facets of a house, but not the location. When realtors suggest focusing on the area in which home-buyers want to live first, we are often met with comments that the buyer wants to focus on the house first.

We create our homes, we make them our own! We can install a fence, plant flowers and eventually expand a house. However we can not change the traffic pattern on the neighboring streets, the view across the road and the access to transportation or schools that is of paramount importance.

As a home-buyer, firstly you should determine which town, or specific area of a town, in which you want to live. It will make life for you and your realtor much easier. Remember, you cannot change the location of your home, but you could change anything in and around the house in which you purchase. Contact Barbara Pollack once you have determined the best location to suite your family’s desires.