The number of actual foreclosure judgments (as opposed to just early filings) in Westchester nearly doubled to 68 in August from 35 at the same time a year earlier. By comparison, the number of foreclosure judgments dropped to 24 in Rockland and rose slightly in Putnam to a total of 21, according to local county clerk numbers.
Exactly why our county is faring so poorly is anyone’s guess, but probably because Westchester’s pricey real estate is moving sooooo slowly these days. Just how slowly can be seen in the Purchase-Harrison area, where more than a few estates are standing empty. That’s right—their owners have just up and left the vacant properties for sale, although real estate agents report these well-heeled folks are at least keeping up the mortgage payments (at least for now). If this recession goes much deeper, there’s no telling what may happen.
A survey of the area shows that at The Springs in Purchase, an exclusive gated community that attracted empty-nesters in the 80s, two sprawling vacant homes are up for sale. At The Crossings, a gated community with a concierge, there is similarly little sales action, reports Sula Pearlman, a sales agent for Coldwell Banker of Rye. At Purchase Estates, where a number of notable sports stars own homes alongside snowbirds who fly to warmer climes come winter, even more houses (they’re going for $2.5 million and up) stand empty, waiting for new owners.
The not-so-pretty picture of this upscale suburban area is not surprising considering that these expensive homes also entail homeowner association fees close to $1,000 a month and super-hefty property taxes. In the Harrison-Purchase area, a typical house for sale now at $1.995 million likely started out on the market at $3.945 last year, which shows that there are bargains out there. But those prices may come down even more, which is why not too many buyers are jumping in yet. So, the word is still: buyer beware!