WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- Real estate in Westchester settled into a steady state during the third quarter, with a modest rise in the median sale price and a slight dip in activity compared to the third quarter in 2013.
“Even though sales were a tick down, we saw some meaningful price appreciation,’’ said Joe Rand, a managing partner for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty. “Sales were down, but we were measuring against an unnaturally high baseline. Last May was a spike in interest rates and that sparked a frenzy. When people realized rates weren’t going over 5 percent, it slowed things down a bit. It set a high baseline. There’s nothing fundamentally wrong with the market.”
For the second quarter, 1,955 homes were sold in Westchester County, a decline of 2.4 percent from the 2,003 homes sold in the third quarter in 2013, according to figures provided by Houlihan Lawrence. The median sale price climbed 4.6 percent to $680,000, and the average sale price rose 6.6 percent to $916,593.
Some areas in the Rivertowns saw sharp increases in the median sale price for single family homes.
The median sale price for a single family home in Dobbs Ferry rose 17 percent, to $851,000. Ossining and Tarrytown (11 percent) also saw sharp increases.
The number of homes sold also soared in some communities. Home sales in Dobbs Ferry grew by 17 percent, and in Mount Pleasant by 16 percent. Irvington (14 percent) and Elmsford (13 percent) also saw an increase in activity. Tarrytown was down 29 percent for the quarter, but is up 27 percent for the year with 61 units sold for the first nine months of this year, compared to 48 in 2013. The median sale price for a single family home in Pleasantville fell 4 percent and Briarcliff fell 3 percent.
Some homes are even selling above asking price. Houlihan Lawrence’s report said 61 percent of homes sold in Hastings-on-Hudson in the third quarter went at or above the asking price. In Ardsley, 41 percent of the homes sold at or above asking. In Westchester County, 19 percent of homes sold went at or above asking in the third quarter, according to HL.
“We saw the return of the bidding war and multiple offers last summer for a little bit,’’ Rand said. “It’s coming back, but at a much more selective way. Well-priced homes are generating interest, but it’s not widespread. What we’re seeing now is much more sustainable. A certain market and a certain time, you might get it a bidding war. It’s certainly not 2004, when almost everything was a bidding war.”
Realtors are encouraged heading into the fourth quarter that the market has exited recovery mode and has now reached steady, stable growth.
“The market is fundamentally sound,’’ Rand said. “We’re seeing a nice reasonable rate of appreciation. Things aren’t soaring. I’ll take four or five percent a year all day long. Inventory is good, demand is strong and mortgage rates are stable. I think the market is in better shape than at any time in the last 10 years.”
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