Real Estate News

Dec. 5, 2019

Market Update

Posted in Blog
Oct. 4, 2019

Where Is Real Estate Headed?

Posted in Blog
July 12, 2019

2Q19 Market Update

 

As you can see below, the Westchester real estate market is all over the place. I would say that Westchester real estate is generally softening a bit, though it definitely varies by area and price point. I've highlighted some contrasts:

  • Westchester saw a 4% drop in the number of sales YTD;  average and median selling prices are down 5% and 2%, respectively
  • Port Chester is having a great year so far: average and median selling prices are up 19% and 12%, respectively
  •  Harrison saw an 11% drop in the number of sales YTD;  average and median selling prices are down 6% and 11%, respectively
  •  Rye City saw a 32% drop in the number of sales YTD;  average and median selling prices are down 10% and 16%, respectively
  • Scarsdale saw a 20% increase in the number of sales YTD;  average and median selling prices are down 19% and 15%, respectively
  • White Plains saw a 22% drop in the number of sales YTD;  average and median selling prices are down about 10% each

The very low interest rate environment has definitely spurred sales a bit, though I think that will be short-lived. From buyers, I sense that there is an issue with affordability, i.e., people don't seem to be making more money even though real estate prices have been appreciating. On the seller side, I sense a general feeling of confidence that is, in my opinion, misguided. Just because interest rates are low doesn't mean that prices should be higher! The smart sellers are taking advantage of this market by pricing their properties correctly; they are getting a lot of interest. All of the others are just sitting on the market or are seeing bids well below asking. 

In terms of where sales are occurring along the price spectrum, there are some interesting things happening:

  • in the $500,000 - $1,000,000 price range (where the majority of sales occur), end of quarter listings jumped 20% from 2Q18 and the number of sales was only up 3%
  • in the $1 million - $2 million range, inventory was up 1.5% and the number of sales was down 10.7%
  • in the $3 million - $4 million range, the number of sales is down 40% year-over-year

For those of you who want more specific data, please contact me! I keep a close eye on the market and am actively closing deals in a dozen different municipalities. 

I am grateful for the support and referrals that you - dear reader - have provided. My business continues to grow and I thank you!!! I have been able to help a record number of buyers and sellers over the past year. In fact, for 2018, I was recently recognized as one of the top 400 individual agents in the United States (across all brands and regions). I also received the FIVE STAR customer service award for the 10th consecutive year (along with 52 of my colleagues out of a pool of nearly 9,000!). 

My business is based upon referrals, so please let me take care of the real estate needs of your friends/family/colleagues! 

 

 

Posted in Blog
April 9, 2019

First Quarter 2019 Market Update

Real estate sales in 2019 are off to a busy start! There are definitely signs of a shifting market, especially at higher price points. Overall, though, the market feels healthy and there is a lot of action. We got a boost from declining mortgage rates; rates for a 30 year mortgage approached 5% at the end of 2018 and are now in the low 4's, which increases affordability and causes buyers on the fence to buy. Like in any market, pricing and condition are key. The most updated homes in the best locations are still selling and attracting lots of interest. I have been in quite a few bidding wars and have seen a surprising number of all cash buyers. There are still a lot of homes sitting on the market, though, and that is usually related to price.

It seems to me like the new tax plan is having a meaningful (negative) impact on the real estate market, especially in higher price ranges. This is not a surprise, though the magnitude of the shift is tremendous (!). For example:

  • in the $3 - $4 million range, there were 5 sales in the first quarter vs. 13 in 1Q2018 and 15 in 1Q2017; end-of-quarter inventory was down 22% from 1Q18
  • in the $5 - $10 million range, there were just 2 sales in the first quarter vs. 4 in 1Q2018; end-of-quarter inventory was down 2% from 1Q18
  • some of the higher taxed areas are hard hit; Rye has seen a 48% drop in the number of sales and the Rivertowns are down 22% 
In addition:
  • under $500,000, the number of homes for sale dropped 10%; this is down 55% from 1Q2016
  • in the $500k - $1 million range, end-of-quarter inventory jumped 24% and the number of sales was up 5%
  • overall we are balanced, though, since the number of active listings at quarter-end 1Q19 vs. 1Q18 was up 6% and the number of sales was down 5.5%
A bunch of people that I've spoken with are concerned that the economy is slowing down and are worried about the USA heading into a recession. Personally, I am not worried about a recession. On a daily basis, I help people buy and sell what is, in most cases, their largest asset. The overwhelming majority of my clients are confident in their job stability & their incomes; the reasons for their moves are varied and are not a view on the economy. 
Below is an interesting graph which shows what has happened over the past 5 recessions. 
I welcome your thoughts and questions & can provide additional information upon request. 

I continue to have big goals for 2019 and my business is referral-based. If you are reading this and have any needs related to real estate, please get in touch with me. I want to help you (and your colleagues, family and friends)! 

 

Posted in Blog
Jan. 8, 2019

2018 Market Overview

 

Westchester County real estate had a very interesting (and busy) year! Overall, there were almost 5,900 single family sales in 2018. In many cases, 2018 marked the year that the real estate market started to shift from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market.

 

Nationwide, much of the focus the past few years has been on a shortage of housing supply (inventory) but began to build in June (see graph). Westchester saw inventory rise starting in April but for the year, inventory was down 2% versus 2017.

In Westchester, inventory declined in every price range except in the $500,000 - $2,000,000 category. There are many explanations but I believe one of the main reasons is the federal tax plan, which limits the tax deductibility of mortgages to $750,000. We live in a very expensive part of the country and migration patterns show that population continues to favor states to the South and West. However, New York is still a magnet for high-paying jobs; United Van Lines recently conducted a study which showed that 60% of inbound moves to NYS were for job-related reasons. Fifty percent of those moves were for people aged 44 and younger with 67% making $100,000 or more.  

 

 

In 2018, the number of sales in Westchester County dropped by 4.7%. The biggest decline in sales happened in the $4 million to $10 million range. I the $500,000 - $1,000,000 range, the number of sales was up almost 2% (to the highest point in at least 3 years). Five homes sold for $10 million or more, as compared to 2 sales in the past 3 years. Almost every area saw their maximum selling price rise in 2018 vs. 2017. Westchester’s highest property sale was the $33 million Rockefeller estate.

 

 

In terms of pricing, average and median prices rose slightly, 1% and 3% respectively. Among the markets that I typically cover, Harrison and White Plains were two bright spots: both saw a drop in inventory & an increase in the number of sales. Harrison average and median selling prices rose by around 10%; White Plains was closer to an 8% increase.

 

It appears that the hardest hit segment of the market is in the $1 - $2 million price range. The number of active listings rose by 8% year-over-year while the number of sales dropped more than 5%. Scarsdale is an example of this; median list and selling prices dropped by 10% (and the number of sales were down 17%).

 

Here is an interesting chart of how far we are from the bottom and top of the market:

 

With the recent tax changes & higher interest rates, affordability is something that increasingly concerns many buyers. At this time, I believe that we are in the middle of a re-pricing as sellers adjust to this new reality. It became more pronounced as 2018 wore on and in the second half of the year, the homes that sold were the ones where the sellers recognized that the market was shifting against them and priced their homes aggressively to appeal to buyers.

 

It will be interesting to see how the market develops as we head into 2019. I expect prices to stabilize in most areas and have already seen a pickup in activity.

 

2018 was an excellent year: I helped more than 40 families directly buy & sell property and hope that your referrals will continue to fuel my business in 2019!

Posted in Blog, News
March 1, 2018

A Favorite Question Among Buyers Right Now....

Almost every buyer that I am working with has asked me if prices are high, too high or about to fall. 

 

Click on this link for a good explanation of where the market is and where we've come from.

 

Posted in Blog, 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