As COVID-19 vaccines roll out to the public, will the urban interest in relocating to Westchester County that fueled a pandemic real estate surge peter out in 2021? Not likely, according to the latest data from the area’s largest realtor, Houlihan Lawrence.
Based on two new reports released in January, the property juggernaut estimates “robust” sales for Westchester to continue, citing massive gains in the last few months.
“The fourth quarter numbers reflect an unprecedented level of activity in the fall 2020 market,” says President and CEO of Houlihan Lawrence Elizabeth Nunan. “Every price point was active, including the luxury market that lagged in some locations during previous years.”
Strong demand has led to a 46% increase in pending Westchester County sales, year-over-year for Q4 and, as a result, inventory has shrunk a full 27%. In total, Westchester saw a 13.6% increase in the number of homes sold, with a median sale price up 12.4%.
“It is noted,” Nunan says, “that many buyers anticipate continuing the work-from-home model and have ventured further north. Northern Westchester stands out, as home sales soared 40% and inventory declined 40%.”
Such low inventory shows a continued strong demand that is expected to continue into 2021, even in Westchester’s high-end luxury and “ultra-luxury” markets.
Citing the unique combination of motivated buyers, low inventory, and low interest rates at a time when the stock market is booming, Houlihan Lawrence found that even up-county luxury properties, typically farther off the beaten path and reserved as secondary homes, have become hot commodities, even as primary residences.
“Looking forward, inventory levels remain low, pended sales are strong, and momentum is likely to continue in the first half of 2021,” says Anthony P. Cutugno, Sr. Vice President, Private Brokerage.
Though no Westchester ultra-luxury (read: $5 million-plus) properties broke the $10 million threshold this year — the highest sale was a Scarsdale home at $7.536 million, reducing the median sale price just a little over 6% from last year — the number of homes in the $2 million to $2.99 million category rose a staggering 52.2%.
More shockingly, almost one in every five homes in this category sold above asking price, thanks to multiple bids, by an average of about $100,000.
Time will tell how long these trends will continue, but, for at least the first half of 2021, it remains a seller’s market in Westchester.