The Westchester housing market started off 2017 with a flourish, with sales up and prices showing meaningful signs of appreciation after a slow 2016.
Sales. Home sales were strong through the first quarter. Single-family home sales were up over 6%, the tenth straight quarter of year-on-year sales increases. And the 6,266 transactions over the rolling year was the highest 12-month total since the second quarter of 2005, and marks an 87% increase off the bottom of the market at the end of 2009.
Prices. After a lackluster 2016, we finally saw some signs of life in pricing. Home prices were up across the board: almost 7% on average, over 5% at the median, and 3% in the price-per-square foot. Some of this might be the potential return of the high-luxury market, with sales of $3M-plus properties almost double the total from last year’s first quarter. Over the longer-term, prices are basically flat, but we expect that to change as inventory drives a tighter market through the Spring.
Negotiability. The negotiability indicators continue to signal the coming of a strong seller’s market. Inventory declined again, falling over 23% and now down to five months of inventory for single-family homes. This is the lowest level of inventory we have had in Westchester in over 12 years, since the height of the last seller’s market. Also, the listing retention rate was up, and the days-on-market were down, exactly what we would expect from a strengthening seller’s market.
Condos and Coops. The condo and coop markets were mixed. Sales of coops were up over 10%, but prices fell across the board over the quarter. Meanwhile, condo sales were down almost 8%, but prices spiked over 9% on average and 8% at the median. Inventory in both markets was down to well under six months, indicating that they are likely to see constricted sales but rising prices over the balance of 2017.
Going forward, we expect that Westchester is going to surge again through the traditionally robust Spring market. With inventory tightening, pricing at 2004-05 levels, and interest rates still near historic lows, we expect that buyer demand will stay strong and continue to drive price appreciation through the rest of the year.