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Archive for the ‘Quarterly Stats’ 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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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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EXECUTIVE SUMMARY (Excerpt) by Stephen Meyers (CEO) and Chris Meyers (President)

The real estate markets in the suburbs north of New York City finished the first quarter of 2019 with generally slower sales and higher inventory in most markets, signaling a clear opportunity for home buyers. The sale of single family homes in Westchester County declined by 5% in the first quarter, following a decline of 5% in fourth quarter 2018. Cost per square foot dipped below $300 this quarter, the first time since 2013. The supply of homes for sale up to $2.5M grew, giving buyers a bit more selection in an inventory constrained price range. Most communities experienced declines with the exception of Lower Westchester. An uptick in Bronxville and Scarsdale contributed to a 14% increase in homes sold. Westchester’s condo and coop markets are largely unchanged and the appeal of multi-family living remains strong. These markets are buoyed by two significant groups of buyers – downsizers and first time homebuyers –wanting the same product. Convenience, access to transportation and vibrant downtown areas are consistently on their wish list.

The number of buyers originating from NYC has fallen as the market in NYC has softened, negatively impacting our markets. Many NYC buyers have homes to sell before they can actively bid and transact on a new home. They have the motivation to move north, but not the ability to make a purchase. Tax reform has affected our markets especially in Westchester County. Of the near 1,000 homes that sold in Westchester in the first quarter, over 80% had property taxes $10,000 and higher. The average property tax bill was $21,000, and the highest was $131,000. We have some headwinds to manage – namely the effects of tax reform and a challenging luxury market. Our proximity to NYC, energetic neighborhoods and unmatched community amenities make living north of NYC desirable and exciting. The spring market was slow to start and activity has picked up the past six weeks. Interest rates are low, the stock market is healthy and employment – and our optimism for the second quarter – is growing.

To see the full summary and report CLICK HERE.



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1st Quarter 2019 Executive Summary – Luxury Market Report
by Anthony Cutugno (Senior Vice President/Director of Private Brokerage):

Over the past 6 months, the number of luxury home sales North of NYC experienced a decline of 33%. Westchester County (sales $2M and higher) suffered the steepest drop – down 38%. There is no isolated incident that accounts for losses, but rather a confluence of events that negatively impact our markets and effectively shrinks the number of luxury buyers north of NYC. The real estate market in NYC has softened resulting in fewer buyers leaving the city to head north because their apartments remain unsold. This important feeder market was robust just 18 months ago. Condos, coops and town-homes appreciated in value, sold quickly, and reliably drove buyers leaving the city to our area. Now listings are sitting on the market longer as inventory grows, selling for less than expected. As the market leader, Houlihan Lawrence tracks where buyers come from and our data indicates a 40% decline this year in the number of NYC buyers moving to the suburbs compared to same period last year.

As NYC finds its footing in a changing real estate market, this April marks the first tax season with new tax laws. Homeownership is now more costly without property tax deductibility, especially in NY which has among the highest property taxes in the country. Consequently, many would-be move-up buyers – another important segment for the luxury market – are now more likely to stay in their current home than trade-up to a bigger and more expensive property. Instead, they may add an extra bedroom or renovate their kitchen rather than assume higher property taxes, a larger mortgage and increased maintenance costs. Tax reform has also pushed some residents of NY and CT to strategically relocate to more tax-friendly states. Low-tax states such as Florida, Texas and North Carolina gained the most population in 2018.

Sharp declines in the market represent an opportunity for savvy buyers. Deals are coming together albeit at lower prices with sellers who meet the market. Luxury buyers have high standards – they want a turnkey property that represents value. Razor sharp pricing and impeccable presentation are the best tools a seller has to attract buyers actively in the market. Houlihan Lawrence participated in 71% of all luxury transactions in the first quarter and our pulse on the market is reliable. Our agents are busy and we are anticipating deals will come together at a faster pace in the second quarter than these past six months. Continued confidence in the economy is evident in the rebounding stock market and stable interest rate environment. The spring market had a late start and the next eight weeks will be pivotal during this important selling season.

To view full report CLICK HERE.

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EXECUTIVE SUMMARYby Stephen Meyers (CEO) and Chris Meyers (President)

Cooling. Not just the temperatures. We forecasted chilly market conditions for Q4 and our predictions held true. Financial markets entered negative territory after a ten-year run, while savvy investors were likely prepared for the inevitable dip, the volatility that accompanied the declines left even the sturdiest investors feeling a bit uneasy. As a result, pending sales across all three counties experienced steep declines. Each county was down by double digits and pending sales declined sharply as you moved away from New York City. Westchester was down 10.9%, Putnam down 11.4% and Dutchess down 17.2%. While the drastic drop in pending sales in Dutchess County can be partially attributed to reduced inventory, down 11.8%, the same cannot be said for Westchester and Putnam counties, where inventory was on the rise 9.5% and 1.8% respectively. With the exception of the Northern Westchester area, all other areas in Westchester increased in inventory, with some areas jumping 20% and as high as 35% just north of New York City. Despite the rise in inventory, showings were flat compared to last year. Showings for homes priced below 1 million dollars and above 2.5 million dollars were down. Showings for homes priced between 1 million and 2.5 million dollars offset the declines on either side. The sweet spot was between 1 million and 1.5 million, where showings were up 30%.

Here are some trends we are seeing as we head into the new year: Our data shows that nearly one third of buyers in our area come from New York City. The once red-hot New York City market has cooled down significantly over the last few months, the resulting effect is a smaller pool of buyers heading north. That being said, we did see a short burst of showing activity in the first half of January. Showings at every price point above $500,000 improved compared to last year. Below $500,000 however, where inventory has not yet recovered, was down 26%. Pricing will continue to be a key factor. The median sale price rose slightly in Q4 in Westchester, making it an all-time high. The market is shifting, and pricing will need to shift with it. In this new market of increasing supply and lower demand, setting a high price and then gradually reducing will result in chasing the market down. In Westchester, homes priced correctly out of the gate sell, on average, in 48 days and at 99.6% of the asking price. Homes priced too high, that experience one or more price reductions spend an average of 328 days on the market and sell for 82.5% of the original list price. Those numbers balloon as you move north away from the city, to as high as 391 days on market and 78.7% of the original list price in Putnam County after price reductions. Interest rates are expected to rise again this year and changes to the tax law are beginning to have an impact on how both buyers and sellers perceive the value of homes. The net result is that sellers in 2019 may have to accept that their home will achieve a selling price that is less than they imagined. Their motivation and willingness to price competitively will drive the market. Houlihan Lawrence remains committed to providing you with meaningful analysis and local knowledge the empowers you to make the best decision possible.

To see the complete report CLICK HERE.

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Fourth Quarter 2018 Executive Summary – Luxury Market Report (Excerpt)
by Anthony Cutugno (Senior Vice President/Director of Private Brokerage):

While luxury markets north of NYC registered losses in 2018, the uber-luxury segment of the market demonstrated notable growth. Sales over $10M peaked in Westchester County in 2018. Houlihan Lawrence represented David Rockefeller’s country estate, Hudson Pines. Listed for $22M, Hudson Pines sold for a record-setting $33M and was the highest recorded sale in Westchester County. In total, five sales closed over $10M in 2018 (a monumental gain from a single sale in 2017) and exceeded the previous high set in 2005. These exceptional but finite sales did not make up for the overall decline in luxury sales. In Westchester, luxury sales ($2M and higher) declined by double digits in 2018. Fourth quarter declines were especially deep in many markets, dragging down year-end losses and placing even more pressure on pricing. Many indicators point to a softening market in 2019. Pended sales (expected to close within 60 to 90 days) are down across the board and could impact first quarter sales.

The once red-hot market in NYC cooled down in 2018, resulting in a smaller pool of buyers heading north. Houlihan Lawrence’s proprietary data indicates that 25% to 30% of luxury buyers originate from NYC and a significant chunk of losses experienced in 2018 are attributable to this shift. The financial markets entered negative territory after a rousing 10-year run. Savvy investors were likely prepared for the inevitable dip but the volatility that accompanied these declines left even the sturdiest investor uneasy. Interest rates are expected to rise again in 2019 and while that does not materially affect the purchasing power of the luxury buyer, it sends a signal about the overall strength of the economy and impacts consumer confidence. There are economic bright spots and opportunities for the savvy buyer to embrace as we enter 2019 – unemployment is at a record low and the equity markets created extraordinary wealth since 2008, despite 2018 losses. Tax changes can result in a net positive gain for some and the next three months will provide clarity to those who ultimately benefit. Sellers may have to accept their home could achieve a selling price far less than they imagine, and their motivation to sell and price competitively will drive the market in 2019.

To view full report CLICK HERE.

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