Real Estate News

Jan. 14, 2018

2017 Year End Summary & 2018 Outlook

Below are some highlights of the real estate market in 2017; it was a great year! Through your referrals, I was able to help more people than ever buy, sell and rent properties. My results put me in the top 2% of Westchester County real estate agents & I did eight times more business than the average agent! 
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Single Family Homes
- Westchester mean and median selling prices were up 8% and 5%, respectively
- the number of sales was flat year-over-year
- the dollar volume of sales was up 3%
Condos
- 2017 saw the highest average selling price, up almost 5%
- median prices were also up 5%
- the number of sales was down 4.5%
- the dollar volume of sales was flat year-over-year
Coops
- 2017 witnessed the highest number of coop sales; the last peak was in 2007
- mean and median prices were up 1%
- the number of sales was was up 8%
- the dollar volume of sales was up 9%
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Interesting points to note:
- Days on market, which is an inventory measure, continues to decline in all market areas that I track (this means that it takes less time to sell a house)
- Pricing was strong in all areas in which I work and there were multiple bidding wars
- Year-over-year, inventory was up in Harrison, Mamaroneck and White Plains
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Heading into 2018, I am optimistic about real estate in this area and here are the reasons:
- Year-end 2017 inventory was down about 12% in all property classes. While that can change quickly, the demand picture is still intact and supply remains relatively low. 
- Many people have been on the fence about buying for a long time; the buying decision is not just economic and at some point, those people get on with their lives.
- Millennials are starting to be a major force in the marketplace. Although they tend to buy at lower average price points, this does bring some stability to the market.
- Interest rates are still historically low and as they start to rise, more people will want to buy (fear of a lost low payment is a powerful motivator).
- I sense a lot of confidence from my buyers & sellers. The stock market & the economy have been strong and people are in a mood to spend.
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I am also watching the market carefully, though, because there are some major concerns:
- Will the lack of deductibility (for state and local taxes) cause price declines? Almost 75% of Westchester homeowners have property taxes greater than the $10,000 limit.
- Will the limits on mortgage and home equity deductions lead to weakness? Given the new $750,000 mortgage limit, 19% of Westchester homeowners had a mortgage greater than that in 2017 (compared with 4% nationally).
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*** I would welcome the opportunity to help you, your colleagues, family and friends with their real estate needs. I provide unbiased advice and will take great care of everybody you send my way ***
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Nov. 13, 2017

October 2017 Real Estate Market Update

The real estate market continues to be very busy! Below is a snapshot of market activity for Westchester through October (single family homes). 

- inventory is down about 6% year-over-year
- pricing is relatively flat
- total number of sales will likely be down a little bit from 2016 levels

 

 

2017.10 Market Update

Jan. 3, 2017

2016 Real Estate Market Take-Aways

2016 proved to be a great year for Westchester County real estate! I helped more than 50 families & investors with their sales/purchases/rentals & ranked in the top 3% of Keller Williams agents worldwide (and Keller Williams is the #1 real estate company in the USA). 

 

Interest rates stole many of the headlines last year. Freddie Mac has been tracking 30-year interest rates since 1971; the average interest rate over that time frame is 8.35%. As we all know, since the peak of the housing market, interest rates have dropped from about 6.4% to around 4% now. Although they increased quite a bit toward the end of the year, the average interest rate for 2016 was the lowest on record. Even as asset prices have risen, the cost to borrow has dropped enough to keep monthly payments in line. As interest rates begin to rise, though, affordability could become a bigger issue for many buyers.

A few highlights regarding the Westchester housing market (reflecting single family homes only):

Number of Sales

  • 2016 saw more sales than any year since since 2004 (6,157 individual sales in 2004, dipped to a low of 3,359 in 2009 and finally reached a new high of 6,207 in 2016)
  • the number of sales per month also reached a new high; it was formerly 513 sales per month in 2004 and was 517 sales per month in 2016
  • the dollar volume of sales crossed the $5 billion mark; it hasn't been above this level since 2005
  • for Westchester County, average and median prices are still 12% and 9% below their peak levels, respectively

 

Inventory & Pricing
  • Westchester: the number of active listings in 2016 were down 7.7% from 2015 and sales were up 9.1% year-over-year; pricing was flat
  • Edgemont: inventory was flat and sales were down 18%; pricing was flat
  • Harrison: the number of sales in 2016 vs. 2015 were up 9.7% and average and median pricing were up 6% and 18%, respectively
  • Mamaroneck: inventory was down 12% and number of sales up 18.7%; average & median selling prices were down about 10%
  • North End of New Rochelle: inventory & sales were both down about 10%; pricing was flat
  • Rivertowns: sales & pricing were flat
  • Scarsdale: inventory was up 11.6% and number of sales was up 1%; average & median prices were up 5.6% and 9.7%, respectively
  • White Plains: inventory was down 17% and number of sales down 11%; pricing was flat

 

As I've discussed with many people, a general trend I notice is that higher priced homes are not selling as well as moderately priced homes. For example, below $1 million, inventory was down almost 17% while the number of sales was up by 8%. In the $3 - $4 million category, inventory increased by 20% and the number of sales dropped by 13%. 

 

There are two factors to getting a home sold in this market:
  1. Being on the market! If you are thinking of selling but don't put your house on the market, it will never sell. I have met with several potential sellers over the past few weeks who aren't sure about the market and are hesitating. I told them that the market hasn't been this good in 10 years and they better not miss the opportunity!
  2. Pricing is still very important. You cannot overprice a property and expect it to sell; buyers have so many tools available and they are very educated. With interest rates rising, purchasing power is eroding for many buyers. While that might cause people to buy (before rates go up so much that they have to buy a less expensive property), it generally won't lead them to may more than market value.

 

I would welcome the opportunity to help you (the reader!), your colleagues, family and friends with their real estate needs. I provide unbiased advice and will take great care of everybody you send my way. 

 

Happy new year!
Dec. 9, 2016

What Happens To Home Prices When Interest Rates Rise?

Posted in Blog, News
Nov. 24, 2016

Love This Article On Real Estate Terminology!

The Wall Street Journal just published this article on commonly mispronounced real estate words. Definitely a good read!

 

Posted in Blog
June 17, 2016

Great New York Times Article on Bidding Wars

Check out this article on the New York Times website!

 

There have been a ton of bidding wars this year (especially at lower price points)! At some (higher) price points, though, the market feels like it is slowing down a bit. More information to follow in my mid-year update....

Posted in Blog
Jan. 4, 2016

2015 Year End Summary + 2016 Outlook

2015 Year End Summary2015 was an interesting year for Westchester real estate. The year got off to a slower than normal start (remember all of the snow?) and it took a bit of time for inventory to hit the market. Once it did, there was a lot of it! April & May had the largest 2 month jump in new listings for single family homes in more than 5 years! For Westchester County as a whole, here are some highlights to recap the year:

  • the dollar volume of sales was up 3% from 2014 (and is up 87% from the 2009 low) the total number of sales hit the highest level since 2005 (but that was still 5.5% below the high)
  • mean selling prices were below 2013 and 2014 levels and about 10.5% below 2007’s peak pricing
  • median selling price was about 8% below 2007’s peak pricing

The interest rate on a 30 year mortgage was at the second lowest level in more than 44 years, averaging 3.85% in 2015 (and far below the 8.36% average of the past 44 years). If you had paid the mean selling price at the average interest rate in 2015, your monthly payment is about $150/month less than it would have been in 2009, when mean selling prices hit their low. Interest rates have a powerful effect on monthly payment!

In terms of inventory:

  • overall, the number of new listings was up 4.7% in 2015
  • the largest increases in inventory were in the $500,000 – $1 million & $3 – $4 million price ranges
  • these price ranges also saw the biggest jump in the number of sales
  • the number of homes priced under $1 million increased 4% but the number of sales rose by 8%

Market specific comments:

  • in southern Westchester County, home sales were particularly strong in White Plains (10605 & 10606) and the Rivertowns (Ardsley, Dobbs Ferry, Hastings, Irvington); Westchester sales were up 6% and these area saw gains of 7.5% and 10%, respectively
  • the median selling price in Edgemont dropped 8.5%
  • average and median selling prices in Harrison were down 7% and 21%, respectively Rye City had median selling prices drop 8.7%
  • Larchmont & Mamaroneck saw average and median selling prices rise 10% and 21%, respectively

Outlook:

Tough to say! If you are looking to buy/invest in this market, on a price basis, I would encourage you to have a long term mindset because it wouldn’t surprise me if the market slows down a bit. However, consider that you would be locking in a mortgage interest rate at a (low) level that will probably not be seen again. I have consulted with several colleagues in Manhattan and southern Connecticut and heard anecdotes of slowing markets. Nobody knows how the spring real estate market will develop but with the recent uncertainty in world financial markets, if Chinese and Middle Eastern capital dries up, that could cause a ripple effect which will definitely be felt in Westchester.

Bottom line:

Pricing remains the key to getting a property sold. For any given area and price point, there are many competing properties. Given the savviness of today’s buyers, the perception of value attracts bids and a seller simply cannot underprice a property but they can easily overprice.

The future:

I helped over 50 families with their real estate needs in 2015. With your referrals, I hope to assist more people this year!

Oct. 12, 2015

Third Quarter 2015 Market Statistics

3rd Quarter Market StatsBelow is a link to the market statistics that were released by the Multiple Listing Service. Definitely an interesting read!

 

3Q2015 Market Stats

 

 

For those interested in a look at their particular area (by school district, ZIP code, etc.), email me (jeremy@jeremyzucker.com) and I will be happy to send you an update.

June 11, 2015

June Market Update

The real estate market in lower Westchester has been incredibly busy. We have seen rising prices, bidding wars, contingencies being waived and emotional letters written (in an effort to sway sellers to chose a specific buyer). It has been exciting and frustrating!
While inventory remains low, we are still below the levels of previous years. Of note, April & May 2015 had the largest 2 month jump in new listings for single family homes in more than 5 years! To keep this in perspective, though, this is how far below inventory levels we are:
- 5.6% below 2014
- 11.8% below 2013
- 30.8% below 2012
- 31.6% below 2011
- 28.3% below 2010
The general lack of inventory has led to an increase in competition and prices; Westchester single family homes are selling at an average of 97% of list price! This is the same level as 2014 but more than 1% more than 2013 and 2% more than 2012. This tells me that buyers are willing to pay more than they did two or three years ago, even as interest rates have remained at the same level (the 30 year mortgage averaged 3.98% in 2013 and 3.66% in 2012, versus a 3.73% average so far this year).
Anecdotally, I have been coming across an increasing number of new real estate agents and/or agents who took a break and are now getting back into the business. I have also witnessed, heard talk of, of been a victim of ethically questionable behavior by other agents. Some of this has been from agents who have been in business for many years.
If you are a consumer reading this article, please make sure you choose to work with a professional who has been actively engaged in this market recently! Whether you are a buyer or a seller, you are about to spend a lot of money (either on a property or on a real estate commission) and you deserve strong, ethical representation. As a recognition of my efforts successfully serving satisfied buyers and sellers, I was just recognized as a FIVE STAR Real Estate Agent by Westchester Magazine. Fewer than 3% of agents were chosen and this is my 5th consecutive year earning the award!
May 7, 2015

Interesting Article on Westchester's Most Inventive Minds

Interesting Minds of WestchesterWestchester Magazine's article on the County's most inventive minds!

Posted in Blog