Archive for the ‘Must Reads’ Category

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (Excerpt) by Stephen Meyers (CEO) and Chris Meyers (President)

The real estate market in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties remains polarized depending on price point, but the third quarter brought some welcome life into a previously quiet 2019. The first two quarters of the year were anything but frothy, but once buyers were able to put the new tax laws into clear perspective the market turned on quite predictably. The tax reform, however, was not the only factor that kept many buyers on the sidelines. Perception of value remained critical in order for buyers to take action. With a surplus of data readily available to consumers, both online presentation and price must be flawlessly aligned in order to stand out from the competition. In many of our markets, primarily where there are higher price points and growing inventory, sellers needed to adjust downward before the buyers took action. Where the sellers did adjust, Westchester County sales rebounded. Most notably the Sound Shore and parts of Northern Westchester experienced double digit increases over last year. In Westchester, there was an average increase in home sales of 0.6% in the third quarter this year as compared to Q3 2018 and the median sale price increased 3.0%. In the entry level price points multiple bid situations were still prevalent where inventory was low.

Although the market activity started later this year than we’re accustomed, it extended throughout the summer, a traditionally quieter time. August, in fact, was our busiest month in 2019 for closings and the activity has continued throughout September. As we approach an election year, which adds uncertainty to an already fragmented market, you can count on Houlihan Lawrence for proprietary market intelligence to guide your decision making.

To see the full summary and report CLICK HERE.

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It is officially fall and that means it is time to prepare your home (inside and out) for the winter months. Here are some ideas from the O’Meara Team:

Things-To-Do Outdoors:

  • Aerate the Lawn
  • Feed the Grass (seed and fertilize)
  • Mow the Lawn (shorter the better in the fall)
  • Check the Irrigation System (if applicable)
  • Plant New Shrubs and Evergreens
  • Mulch Young Plants
  • Clean the Gutters and Downspouts
  • Check and Repair Walkways (if needed)
  • Clean and Store Outdoor/Patio Furniture
  • Turn Off Outside Water

Things-To-Do Indoors:

  • Change Filters (central air, dryer, stove, etc…)
  • Check and Clean Fireplace/Chimney
  • Check Window and Door Drafts – Add Weatherstripping
  • Change Batteries in Smoke Detectors
  • Have Heating System Serviced

This is a great time of the year to have a Home Energy Audit done. For more information Click Here.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (Excerpt) by Stephen Meyers (CEO) and Chris Meyers (President)

After the lackluster sales of the first quarter, the second quarter helped to bridge the gap for many Westchester towns. While changes in the tax laws kept buyers at bay in the first quarter, once April rolled around, the buyers rallied. The overall number of single family home sales rose over first quarter, with some exceptions, and are now down 3.9% year over year. The average sale price is $885,309, down 3.7% as compared to this time last year, a nice improvement over last quarter (down 8.2%). The combination of inventory on the rise (up 4.5% over last year) and the number of pending sales relatively unchanged sends a message to sellers.

While the more reasonable price brackets continue to enjoy high demand, the higher price ranges are experiencing the most difficulty. This is amplified by market similarities in New York City where many of our buyers originate. Buyers have more choices across these higher price points and there is no sense of urgency. Value is paramount to luxury buyers, and unless sellers respond with price adjustments, the inventory will continue to grow and languish.

Co-operative and Condominium sales in Westchester County are flourishing and the number of sales is up for both. Average sale price in the second quarter is up 15.6% for condominiums and 6.1% for co-ops. These appeal to both first time buyers and empty nesters looking to lift their tax burden and lower their overall maintenance and costs.

Likewise, Putnam County experienced an increase in activity and number of sales in the second quarter. Homes sold are now up 3% over second quarter last year. This is a refreshing change compared to the first quarter when sales were sluggish. The median sale price was also on the rise to $363,000, up 4% over last year. Supply and demand remains high under $800,000, but there is low demand above that price point. The data for Q2 in Dutchess County varies wildly depending on the area, given the large size of the County. Inventory is steady with pending sales down 1.5%. While that appears to be fairly balanced, sales in Northeast Dutchess are down 32% while in Northwest Dutchess, they’re up 11%. The landscape, as compared to the first quarter of the year, has certainly improved in most areas but not all. We are experiencing a transitioning market. Prices are adjusting downward at the high end to align themselves with buyer aspirations and expectations. That said, with the uncertainty of the new tax reform behind us, and the strong economy and low interest rates in place, we anticipate that buyers will continue to invest in homeownership.

To see the full summary and report CLICK HERE.

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Executive Summary by Anthony Cutugno – Senior Vice President of Private Brokerage

The number of luxury homes sold north of NYC continues to decline, as the consequences of tax reform, a soft NYC market and a generational shift in buyer preferences and attitudes impact our luxury markets.

In Westchester County, Q2-2019 marks the third consecutive quarter of luxury home sales ($2M and higher) declines. From October 1, 2018 through June 30, 2019, the number of homes sold dropped by 28% compared to the previous time period. In Greenwich, luxury sales ($3M and higher) weakened for four consecutive quarters, registering an 18% year over-year decline. Putnam and Dutchess counties sales ($1M and higher) are down 39% year-to-date. Sales in Darien and New Canaan ($2M and higher) are down year-to-date 16% and 12% respectively. The bright spot is pended sales, a forward looking indicator, which are level with the same period last year in most areas. In fact, this time last year the market was stronger, making this a meaningful comparison, and a hopeful sign that the third quarter could reverse the trend of declines. In Dutchess County, luxury pended sales rose dramatically, and may prove to be the first luxury market to rebound. Luxury sales in the ultra-high end of the market (sales $5M and higher) suffered the steepest losses in the first half, down by about half or more in Westchester, Greenwich, Darien and New Canaan. Supply is inching up in some markets and the number of years it will take to absorb these listings is increasing. Westchester County has seven years of $5M+ inventory; Greenwich has over 3 years in the ultra-high end. A balanced market typically has 6 to 12 months of inventory. The bigger conundrum facing our luxury markets is quantifying the changing tastes and attitudes of the new generation of luxury buyers. Their lifestyles are experiential, and they prefer homes located in walkable locations with easy commutability to NYC, child-friendly open floor plans and low maintenance property. Bigger is not always better and renovating or restoring a period home is the desire of scant few. Their expectation about the future value of real estate influences demand for luxury homes. On the whole, they are not bullish about real estate, resulting in a cautious mindset that defaults to under buying rather than reaching for a more significant home within their budget. Though this shift is in its early stages, its impact is tangible. Economic forecasters have more questions than answers, contributing to a general sense of uncertainty. For example, tax reform made home ownership more costly and is a major contributor to the decline in luxury sales. But weakening demand is driving down values in the luxury market, giving opportunistic buyers more bang for their buck. Consumer spending is up the first half, fueled in part by a rising stock market, but many question how much longer the bull market can continue. Economic expansion is a decade strong, but the waning impact of tax reform on corporations and trade war tensions are holding back business spending, pointing to softer growth ahead. A looming presidential election adds another layer to the uncertainty that exists. Despite these perplexing questions, we know the following to be true. Luxury home sales have declined not only north of NYC, but in many luxury markets, including NYC, the Hamptons and Miami. There is a wide selection of beautiful homes for sale and buyers have the wind at their back in a low interest rate environment. We bang the drum with the same message in this seller-challenged market – listings that represent value and appeal to buyers’ aesthetic will capture their attention and have the greatest chance of selling.

Sincerely, Anthony Cutugno

To view full report CLICK HERE.


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Very honored that my team has been named one of the best in the country! Thank you to all of our clients, friends and family for their continued support.

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Don’t miss this opportunity! Tax Grievance Day is JUNE 18TH in Rye & Harrison. Here is everything you need to know…

The RAR and what it is used for: The Residential Assessment Ratio (RAR) is an indication of the level of assessment for residential real property in a municipality. It is a measurement of the overall ratio of the total assessed value of residential property in the municipality compared to the full market value of that residential property. The RAR (Residential Assessment Ratio) can be used by homeowners in a Board of Assessment Review (BAR) grievance and in a Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR) hearing. Bottom line is your assessed value divided by the RAR will tell you what the city/town has your house valued at for tax purposes. The state issues updated RARs annually around this time.  In Rye you can find your assessed value by going to joanomeara.com – Click on Rye City/Resident Services/Taxes/Property Tax Search. Enter your address and you will see the Total Assessed Value. For Harrison go to joanomeara.com – Click on Village/Town of Harrison/Departments/Assessor/Final Assessment Roll

Are you interested in getting your home assessment lowered? All municipalities in Westchester County, including Rye and Harrison, have a Grievance Day – a specific day to hear property tax appeals.  That day is Tuesday, June18th. The tax Grievance period this year is is June 1st-June 18th. Before pursuing formal review of your assessment, you should first determine if you are assessed fairly. Click HERE to read about the steps in this process.

Rye: To download the form and the instructions on the City of Rye Website then look under Permit & Forms/Tax.

In Harrison: Click Here to view procedures. Applications are available in the Assessor’s Office in Town Hall (1 Heineman Place).

For more information on RAR click HERE. For more information on property assessments click HERE.

If you have any questions or concerns please feel free to email me (jomeara@houlihanlawrence.com) or call me (914.329.5329)!

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Happenings at Rye Town Park

Where: Rye Town Park (95 Dearborn Ave, Rye, NY 10580)

Rye Town Park has it all! Grab your picnic dinner and some wine and stroll down to Rye Town Park for a concert at the South Pavilion, children’s story times, a magic show, outdoor movie, and Shakespeare in the park!

Twilight Concert Series:

When: Tuesday, June 18th thru Tuesday, August 13th | 7:30pm
Where: South Pavilion

It is always fun when your children’s 2nd grade teacher is multi-talented! Mark your calendar for June 25th, when Mrs. Reist of Twist of Fate takes on the steel drums at Rye Town Park! If you can’t make it on June 25, many other amazing bands to see throughout the summer! There is lots of room for sitting outdoors on the lawn or beach. Concerts are held rain or shine, except in heavy thunderstorms. There are two rain dates scheduled if needed. Picnicking is welcome starting at 6:00pm.

Children’s Storytimes Programs:

When: Tuesday, July 9th thru Tuesday, August 27th
Where: South Pavilion

The staff of the Rye Free Reading Room will be leading young children and their caregivers in a fun and educational series of reading, games and other activities. Each program provides participants very interactive things to do.  These programs are held rain or shine. There is no cost, but normal parking fees apply.

Magic Show:

When: Wednesday, July 17th | 7:00pm
Where: On the lawn by the north beach entrance and snack bar building

Shakespeare in the Park:

When: Friday, July 26th and Saturday, July 27th | 6:30pm
Where: On the lawn by the small pavilion

Performances will be presented by the Lawnchair Theatre company.

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