The Real Deal Tristate

At years’ halfway point, Westchester sees a rebound in residential sales

A slowdown in the suburb has stopped, but the luxury sector still faces challenges
By Mario Marroquin | July 11, 2019 04:00PM

Mid-year residential median sales in Westchester rallied across property types (Jonathan Miller inset).

While the single-family market in Westchester County has rallied from its 2018 slowdown, a report released Thursday shows that the residential scene in one of New York’s priciest suburbs still has a ways to go before achieving a full recovery.

Jonathan Miller, president and CEO of appraisal firm Miller Samuel and author of the Douglas Elliman’s second quarter report, told The Real Deal that year-over-year sales rose 14.5 percent, to 2,495, in Westchester over the past three months.

The median sales price and listing inventory, however, increased by less than 2 percent during the same time period, to $533,000 and 4,511, respectively.

“Listing inventory for single-family has risen year-over-year for five consecutive quarters,” Miller said. “That feels like a trend to me. When inventory rises, even with short bursts is sales activity, the market is still going backwards to a certain degree.”

The single-family sector, which makes up about 60 percent of Westchester’s residential market, saw median sales remain unchanged on a year-over-year basis, at $700,000, as listing inventory experienced a 5.3 percent uptick.

Westchester also sustained the rally in sales that occurred during the first three months of 2019, as sales spiked 14.3 percent year-over-year during the second quarter.

Miller cited a drop in mortgage rates by about 75 basis points over the last year as a mitigating factor for some of the slowdown in Westchester’s residential market, which occurred following a reduced cap on property tax deductions that went into effect last year. While challenges remain, Miller said the current market is better than 2018.

“The market feels faster than what we’ve seen over the last decade,” Miller said.

In the multifamily arena, where Westchester has recently seen a surge in new development, the median sales price increased 8.9 percent, to $550,000, as the number of sales rose 10.2 percent, to 151. Among condos, which are now expanding throughout the county, the median sales price jumped 8.1 percent, to $400,000, as the number of sales increased 16.1 percent year-over-year, to 346.

In the luxury sector, which Elliman defines as the top 10 percent of the market, the median sales price fell by 5.4 percent on a yearly basis, to $2.15 million. The luxury price threshold also fell 5.6 percent, to $1.6 million, per Elliman data. (A separate report released by rival brokerage Houlihan Lawrence found that home sales of more than $2 million in Westchester fell for the third consecutive quarter.)

Elliman said listing discounts for luxury homes have remained relatively unchanged this year at 6 percent — compared to a 3.1 percent listing discount in the single-family market — but the number is still a modest increase from the second quarter of 2018.

Miller said changes in the luxury segment are part of an ongoing trend in Westchester where high-end home sellers have sought to adjust to an overall softening in the residential market after a boom in sales activity three years ago.

“This is a sign that [luxury] sellers are getting with the program,” Miller said. “They are still disconnected, but they are less disconnected.”