In northern Westchester County, rolling farms are capped with picturesque farmhouses. Along the Hudson, developers reclaim magnificent old industrial buildings, converting them into condominiums. In the county’s southern region, suburban homes nestle near good schools, and artists find lofts in vibrant downtowns.
The housing stock in Westchester is unbelievably varied, offering opportunities for home ownership in numerous price points, as well as exciting options for those who want to rent.
Owner-occupied housing accounts for 64 percent of the households in Westchester, while 36 percent are renters.
Those who love the country find refuge an hour north of New York City in the Bedford region of Westchester, one of the most sought-after areas in the state. Three hamlets make up the town, which dates to 1680, and much of the open land – once known for dairy farms and grand estates – has been preserved in this region.
City living comes easily to Yonkersonians, as Yonkers residents are sometimes called. The fourth-largest city in New York, it borders the Bronx and features diverse neighborhoods with housing stock that ranges from historic Victorian mansions to new luxury apartments along the Hudson.
Mount Vernon reflects its neighboring borough, the Bronx, with an urban feel in neighborhoods such as the North Side, which boasts everything from co-ops to million-dollar single homes.
New Rochelle is another city offering an easy commute to New York City. Its vibrant downtown has apartments, lofts and condominiums, while suburban neighborhoods in the surrounding area appeal to families. Artists utilize lofts that are ideal for both living and studio space.
White Plains, the county seat of Westchester, consists of more than 30 distinct neighborhoods mixing suburban living with the cultural amenities normally found in major urban centers, such as a performing arts center.
In the first half of 2010, the market for single-family homes continued to remain strong. The average price increased 8 percent from 2009, jumping from $565,000 to $607,500. The good news for first-time buyers and those looking for a more affordable home was that prices in that market segment relaxed a bit. The median sales price for a condominium in Westchester, $352,250, was 6 percent less than in 2009. The median co-op prices dropped 5 percent to $169,500 in the first half of 2010. Low mortgage rates also helped buyers afford homes in Westchester, traditionally a most desirable area.
Despite the national economic downturn, the housing market in Westchester has remained stable, and the area has avoided the excessive foreclosures that devalued property in other parts of the country. In fact, the inventory of properties for sale was just 3 percent more than in 2009. That’s good news for buyers, but it’s bad news for buyers who have difficulty making up their minds — houses sell in Westchester, and those who hesitate might watch someone else moving into that condo with the river view or the small horse farm with the great riding ring.