In the second quarter of 2013, 2,251 Westchester County homebuyers accepted the keys as they settled on their new house. That was a 24 percent jump in sales from the previous year. And those buyers were among the lucky ones – as inventory gets tighter, finding a dream home becomes more challenging.
In fact, the 6,128 homes listed on the market represented the lowest secondâ€‘quarter inventory since 2005, according to The Douglas Elliman Report. New inventory expanded by just 1.6 percent, indicating that buyers who want to take advantage of all that Westchester has to offer will need to move quickly when they see a property they like.
Singleâ€‘family homes in particular experienced heavy sales volume. An improving economy, interest rates that remained near historic lows and pentâ€‘up demand convinced cautious firstâ€‘time and moveâ€‘up buyers to make a move. That activity pushed the average sales price for a singleâ€‘family home to $858,376 for the second quarter.
Prices for all types of housing ticked up, too, increasing by 4.4 percent from last year to a median sales price of $479,000. The average sales price was $656,380.
While a limited inventory can be frustrating for buyers seeking just the right home, the rising demand ensures that buying a home in Westchester is a good investment as well as a rewarding personal choice.
And Westchester offers plenty of choices, from postcardâ€‘perfect farms in the county’s central and upper reaches to exciting urban condos along the Yonkers waterfront. It’s the county that practically invented suburban living, offering quiet neighborhoods full of amenities but with a convenient commute to one of the world’s great cities.
Westchester is home to its own cities, too. New Rochelle, with a population of more than 78,388, pairs commerce and light industry with a walkable downtown and plenty of traditional suburban neighborhoods. Mount Vernon, with a population of 67,896, borders The Bronx and offers affordable housing options. The 198,449 residents of Yonkers are enjoying proximity to a new attraction – LEGOLAND, where they can see Lego reâ€‘creations of familiar landmarks. White Plains is a relatively small city with a population of 57,258, but it’s a destination for commuters – buses, trains and cars discharge 250,000 workers, shoppers and visitors into the city each day.
Plenty of spots in the county offer smallâ€‘town charm with bigâ€‘city convenience: Tarrytown, for example, with its picturesque river views, is just a 38â€‘minute train ride to Grand Central Station, while Larchmont, a oneâ€‘squareâ€‘mile village with gracious homes, is only 35 minutes from Manhattan.
The county still preserves the rural character that makes the region so beautiful. Farms and fields interspersed with wooded tracts dot the back roads, and in some hamlets, horses outnumber their human counterparts.
Affordability is always a challenge in such soughtâ€‘after areas, but the county recently has added some new developments, such as Crompond Housing in Yorktown, which opened in the fall of 2013 with 26 threeâ€‘bedroom townhomes for under $235,000.