Westchester activity surged in the fourth quarter, with sales up sharply for both single-family homes and condominiums, even while prices remained stubbornly soft.
Sales. Residential rose sharply, up over 13% from last year and finishing the calendar year up almost 8%. We’ve now seen sustained sales growth for four full years, with year-on-year transactions going up in 15 out of the last 17 quarters. For the 2015 year, Westchester closed over 5,700
single-family homes, the highest calendar year total since 2005, at the height of the seller’s market.
Prices. Even with these higher levels of activity, prices were down across the board, finishing a year in which the average price dropped over 3%. While that was disappointing to Westchester homeowners, we note that prices got a little ahead of themselves in 2014, spiking 7% in one year, and the average price is still about 4% higher than it was in 2013.
Negotiability. Although the days-on-market and listing retention rates were basically flat for the quarter and the year, we did see a sharp decline in inventory levels, with the “months-of-inventory” level falling to 5.1 in the quarter and 7.1 for the rolling year – the lowest levels we have seen in over ten years. (In comparison, we had over 17 months of inventory in the middle of 2009, at the bottom of the market).
Condos & Coops. Activity in the condo and coop markets were both strong, with sales up sharply but prices down. Inventory levels have really dropped for this entry-level market, though, with condos falling all the way to 3.9 months of inventory.
Going forward, we believe that the Westchester market is poised to transition to a full-blown seller’s market in 2016, with inventory at 10-year lows driving meaningful price appreciation through what will be a robust spring market.