Best places to live in Westchester in 2013: Larchmont, NY

Follow Boston Post Road through New Rochelle, and, when the street signs turn blue, you know you’re in Larchmont. This neat-as-a-pin village has appealing shops and restaurants, a little movie theater (just like the old days!), a beach just for dogs, and more strollers per square foot than a Babies “R” Us. Sixteen percent of its residents come from abroad.

Andres Barros is one of them. The Brazilian native, an investment banker, arrived in Larchmont eight years ago with his wife and daughter. He looked in Scarsdale (houses too far apart); Summit, New Jersey (too far away); and finally settled on Larchmont, which was just right: “Highly educated people, near the sea, close to the City, and cute. Extremely cute.”

Unsure how long they’d stay, Barros and his wife rented for years in the Larchmont Manor district near the water. “We procrastinated whether to buy or not; the market was very convoluted. Last year I said, ‘I’m tired of living in a place that is not mine.’ The market position was good. So I bought a house.” Their neighbor, Brian Carr-Smith of Coldwell Banker on Larchmont Avenue, helped them find one—across the street from their rental, a larger, 1925 fixer-upper (by Larchmont standards, anyway). They renovated, “and the house is beautiful now; very modern, brand new,” says Barros.

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Sixty-five percent of Larchmont housing is single-family homes, says Carr-Smith, adding that the average sales price of those homes “is $1.4 million. Larchmont is a lower price point than Rye.”

At first Barros and his wife “hung out with the international community. But in reality your best friends are your neighbors and your child’s friends’ parents. I’m a homey person. I barely spend time that that I wish I could in Larchmont. I work late, I travel, and when I stay home I love it.” One of his favorite spots is the gazebo on a rocky perch in Manor Park, especially in the spring when the light “is perfect for pictures, and to see the water. It’s breathtaking to be there.”

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