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:
- 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!
- 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!