WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Prices and activity varied widely among towns near the Hudson River in Westchester County during the second quarter.
However, the best news is that in the big picture, stability seems to be returning to the real estate marketplace.
“Stability is a good word after the wild swings we’ve had over the last 10 years,” said Chris Meyers, managing principal for Houlihan Lawrence.
“We had a market I call the steroids era from 2004 to 2007, kind of like what was happening in baseball, that was juicing our numbers. It was unsustainable and was followed by the sharp correction. I look at last year as being the first normal year in 10 years.
"I’d expect this year it be close to 2013 in that feels like a sustainable market environment. It’s not too hot or too cold. It’s the Goldilocks effect.”
Home sales fell during the second quarter in Westchester compared to last year. Houlihan Lawrence reported a 12.1 percent drop in home sales from the same quarter in 2013, and Douglas Elliman reported a 15.4 percent decline. The HL report is online . The Elliman report is attached as a PDF. The report from William Pitt Julia B. Fee Sotheby's International Realty is also online .
In the 11 communities that Houlihan Lawrence designates as Rivertowns in its report, the median sale price for single family homes climbed to $580,000. That is the highest figure since 2009, and more than $11,000 higher than the same time period last year. Homes are receiving 98.1 percent in the listing to sale price.
HL designates Ardsley, Briarcliff Manor, Dobbs Ferry, Elmsford, Hastings, Irvington, Mount Pleasant, Ossining, Pleasantville, Pocantico Hills and Tarrytown in its Rivertowns report.
The median sale price for a single family home in Pleasantville rose 41 percent in the second quarter over the same period last year, according to the HL report. Single family home prices increased 12 percent in Hastings and six percent in Ossining. Prices fell sharply in Elmsford (41 percent) and Briarcliff Manor home prices fell nine percent. Other communities had small increases or decreases.
Sales fell throughout Westchester, and most real estate agents attributed that to the harsh winter as well as other factors.
“We were working off of a high baseline,’’ said said Joe Rand of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand Realty. “The second quarter of 2013 had the most single family transactions since 2005. Nobody should look at it and say the market is in retreat.
"It’s only in retreat compared to last year. It’s not as good as last year, but it was still best second quarter we’ve had in seven years. It’s not a bad thing.”
By and large, the Rivertowns remained a sought after location for homebuyers. Compared to the first six months of 2013, sales increased eight percent in those communities. Sales climbed 45 percent in Elmsford over the first six months of 2013.
“There’s still a good amount of pent-up demand,’’ said Gabe Pasquale, executive vice president for Douglas Elliman Real Estate. “In the Rivertowns and some other premier towns, inventory is coming on and off within days or weeks. Sometimes there is multiple bidding and bidding up.”
There may be some fluctuations in communities on a quarterly basis, but real estate agents generally like the big picture they are seeing for Westchester real estate.
“I was concerned the market was getting overheated in the first six months of 2013,’’ Rand said. “We were getting bidding wars. I got calls from people who were backing out of contracts because they were getting better offers.
"I didn’t get a lot of those calls in 2008 and 2009. We went from 0-to 60 really fast; it was almost like we flooded the engine. Now I feel like we’re back in 1999. We’re in the second year of what feels like a pretty robust market.”