If I were not seeing it with my own eyes I would not believe it. But after witnessing bidding wars on 2 of my own listings, one in Ossining and another in West Harrison, I have to say that the Spring real estate market in Westchester is stronger than I expected. It might be the pent up demand after 4 years of malaise, low rates, the simple societal adjustment to the new normal, or all of the above. But April's numbers did show an undeniable improvement in a variety of ways.
In total, for April, 2012, there were 283 single family homes sales closed in Westchester at a median price of $550,000.
In the same period of 2011, there were 249 closings at a median of $535,000.
That is just under a 14% improvement in transaction totals and a 2.8% rise in median price.
Year to date, the numbers are almost as encouraging.
In the first 5 months of 2012, Westchester had 1014 closings at a median price of $521,250.
In the first 5 months of 2011, the county had only 971 closings at a median price of $550,000.
Median price is down slightly overall, but the public is buying more.
More good news: The number of homes under contract has spiked to 1239 properties under contract or pending sale, and the median asking price is $659,000. That makes sense; once the lower priced homes sell, "move up" buyers purchase more expensive homes. And that is what we are seeing. But even if we put the median price aside, the number of homes under contract is almost 300 deals more than last month. That tells me that April's numbers were no anomaly, and that May could end up being an even stronger month.
Lastly, there are 4224 homes available in inventory, giving buyers a plethora of choices. That is still roughly 15 months of inventory. It remains a market slanted toward buyers, but a healthier market at that, and in rare cases, the sellers are starting to gain leverage. Time will tell if this strong Spring ushers in a recovery or is a temporary bump. Given the changes I see in buyer attitudes, we may see an uptick in consumer confidence and the seeds of a recovery.
For more real estate commentary, log onto Westchester Real Estate Blog, authored by J. Philip Faranda, broker and owner of J. Philip Real Estate. All data is from the Empire Access Multiple Listing Service.