5 Things You Need To Know About Westchester's Real Estate Market

By now, we’ve all watched enough HGTV to know that open floor plans and high-end kitchen appliances are at the top of nearly every homebuyer’s wish list. But there are some other homebuyer trends that are driving the residential real estate business today in Westchester, says Joe Houlihan, managing partner of Houlihan & O’Malley, a boutique real estate agency located in Bronxville. In addition to focusing on amenities inside the home, many buyers in Westchester are placing an emphasis on proximity to schools and public transportation.

Related: The Transit Hubs Transforming Westchester

“People want the freedom to walk to the train or schools and not have the hassle of driving to and parking at the train station, or finding a nanny who drives,” says Houlihan, noting that one family he’s working with will only look at houses within one-third of a mile from a specific Metro-North station. As Houlihan explains it, the old “location, location” adage is especially true today: “Buyers are willing to bend on other aspects of the house, such as age and condition, and even do major renovations in order to have the location they want,” he says.

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According to Houlihan, these are the top five requests from homebuyers in 2015:

Upscale Kitchens/Composite Countertops

Energy-efficient, stainless steel appliances are still a favorite, but marble and granite countertops are no longer a given. Buyers are looking for more functional materials in their kitchens, including manufactured composites, such as Silestone and Caesarstone, which are nonporous, have bacteria protection, and are stain, scratch, and heat resistant. Other options include IceStone, which is a combination of concrete and glass. Natural quartzite is also requested, however quality can vary widely. Some are just as durable as granite, and others are more porous than marble.

Outdoor Living and Entertainment Spaces

“Decks are good, but yards with a walk-out patio are even better,” says Houlihan. Homebuyers enjoy being outdoors, and want built-in areas for entertainment. Outdoor grills and kitchens are a highly sought-after feature, as are slate patios and faux-wood decks. “Buyers are drawn towards decks made of wood alternatives because they look like real lumber, but don’t splinter and require substantially less maintenance,” Houlihan notes.

Energy-Efficient, Upstairs Laundry Facilities

“Nobody wants to haul loads of laundry up and down flights of stairs to the basement,” says Houlihan. “They want laundry rooms that are close to the bedrooms and easily accessible.” Just as important are energy-efficient washers and dryers.

Garage Space—But Not For Cars

A surprising number of people want to buy a home with a garage, but not for a car. “Garages are still in demand, but it doesn’t matter as much if it’s connected to the house because people are using them for storage,” says Houlihan. “In many cases, they would rather have a place to put lawn furniture, equipment, bikes, and other items than have a place for their car.”

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Great Rooms

Larger, open spaces that combine the kitchen, living room, and even dining room continue to be a priority for buyers. “Great rooms bring a sense of togetherness to families, yet allow them the space in which to do their own thing,” says Houlihan. “The kids can do homework or play while you cook dinner, watch television, or do any number of everyday activities, and that has great appeal.”                 

Want ideas on how to make a great room? Check out our latest features from Westchester Home:
The Perfect Family Home
| Designing A True Family Kitchen | Top Trends For Family Living

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