Representatives of the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR) joined Westchester County Executive George Latimer at the County Office Building in White Plains on Aug. 5 for a briefing on the booming Westchester housing market.
They came armed with statistics showing, among other things, that in the second quarter of the year the median sales price for single-family homes increased 17.1% to $835,500. That’s a dramatic increase from the $702,500 median sales price for the second quarter of 2019 and the $710,000 median sales price in the second quarter of last year.
The median sales price for condos in Westchester was also up, though less dramatically. It increased 3.8% to $405,000. The median sales price for co-ops held steady at $190,000.
“The flourishing sales market for residential real estate in Westchester County is clearly in a boom cycle,” Latimer said. “The real estate industry employs quite a lot of our neighbors and friends and the strength of that industry is important.
“The ancillary benefits of having this kind of strength in this industry accrues to both those people who are buying and selling, leaving the county and making a profit on the house they sell, and then those who are coming into the county who are happy to become a part of our residential situation,” he added.
Latimer said that according to HGAR’s figures, the second quarter continues the trends that were seen in the first quarter of the year, including very strong market demand and low inventory.
“We’ve seen multiple offers on properties, often well above asking price,” he said. “There’s something happening out there — it’s very dynamic and it’s very impressive.”
Richard Haggerty, CEO of HGAR and president and chief strategic growth officer of OneKey MLS, said remarkably low inventory coupled with low interest rates have contributed to the upward price pressures. He also said customers are looking for different properties than they were before the pandemic hit.
“When we were looking at pre-Covid numbers you were looking at a lot of folks who were looking at properties where they were small properties close to mass transit centers, and that’s not been the case in the post-Covid market,” Haggerty said. “All of a sudden, individuals were much more interested in larger properties, much larger pieces of property, and those increases are pretty dramatic.”
Haggerty expressed his belief that the recovery is sustainable.
“We’re not seeing any signs of a slowdown and I think it’s going to continue on into 2022. I’m very bullish,” Haggerty said.
Leah Caro of Park Sterling Realty, who is HGAR’s legislative chair, reported seeing an influx of prospects from New York City.
“It is easy for me to say that Westchester is exactly the right place to live, work and play,” Caro said. “There’s a shortage of inventory, which will have to be addressed in time because people want to live here more than there is housing available right now. The boom we’re seeing here in Westchester is not an artificial boom. It has sustainability.”
Crystal Hawkins-Syska, who is with Keller Williams NY Realty and is president of HGAR, said some buyers think of Westchester as an annex to New York City because it has pockets of art, culture, diversity and the kind of energy that you find in the city.
“What I see is definitely a trend toward more multi-generational living,” Hawkins-Syska said. “One of the big things that happened out of Covid was definitely the influx out of Manhattan into Westchester County, so basically if you grew up here and you moved away, you came back with mom and dad. And now what’s happening is, even though we have had some of our older generation choos(ing) to leave, I’m actually seeing a trend of them staying.”
Hawkins-Syska expressed a belief that more families consisting of mom, dad, their parents and children and even grandchildren are going to be looking to live together on larger properties in Westchester, or will be adding living space to more modest houses.