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Real Estate Matters:
What Will Westchester’s Housing Market Look Like After The Coronavirus Pandemic Ends?
By John E. Baer, SRES, SRS
The worst global pandemic in more than a century has put Westchester and surrounding tristate residents under “Stay at Home” orders. In Westchester, these orders have made on-site real estate showings and other non-essential activity illegal.
So, what is COVID-19 going to do to the housing market’s spring selling season? That’s the period up to July when more than half of Westchester home sales typically occur, as families with kids try to move before the start of the new school year in September.
Here are the highlights of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, the largest real estate company in the nation, Westchester Quarterly Market Report for the first three months of 2020.
The steady home prices in 2019 fourth-quarter gains carried into the first two months of 2020 for all price points in Westchester County. First-quarter momentum, however, was reduced in March by nearly 17% due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. There were 5.6% fewer condominiums, co-ops, and single-family homes sold in the first quarter of 2020 when compared to the same time last year. On the other hand, the average price still went up 8% across all home types, and days on market remained flat at 87 days. In Scarsdale, the average price increase 15% over the same period last year. In the first quarter, there were 15 more homes sold over $2 million in Westchester County when compared to 2019, most notably in Rye City, Scarsdale, and Eastchester. Even with stay at home orders in place mid-month, March luxury home sales still outpaced 2019 numbers 16 vs. 8.
Currently, homes that are listed at market value, sell very quickly. Last month I represented a Scarsdale home seller who received multiple offers, one of which was accepted, within three days of listing. I also represented a buyer who made a 10% over listing price offer that was accepted the day after the home was listed. In all, there were five offers that same day, most of them over listing. The fact is, there is low inventory and a high demand for homes in Westchester.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices real estate professionals continue to follow executive orders to stay home and stay safe while at the same time conducting virtual showings, taking offers online, negotiating through virtual channels, and of course conducting fully secure virtual closings. Technology was already a driving force in residential real estate, as most home searches begin online in one way or another, however, the COVID-19 pandemic has exponentially moved that process forward. With millennials becoming the largest home buying population, outpacing both their Boomer and Gen-X parents, there is no doubt that technology within our industry is going to continue to evolve rapidly.
Looking ahead, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices is confident that the demand will surge in the coming months, and we will be able to visit homes, negotiate in person, and be physically present at closings. The speed at which consumers can “see” and “experience” residential real estate is ultimately going to result in increased activity. At this point, I recommend sellers prepare their homes for sale by making it show ready and consulting with their agent on pricing. If the home is currently ready, list it now. If properly priced, you will have multiple offers. For buyers, I recommend getting pre-approved now in order to have a strong offer when you are ready to move forward with purchasing a home.
If you would like me to send you this entire Quarterly Marketing Report or if you have any other real estate questions, please contact me so that I can help you navigate the current market in these very unusual times.
In the meantime, I hope you and those around you remain safe and healthy.
John E. Baer, SRES, SRS is a NYS licensed real estate salesperson associated with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Westchester Properties of Scarsdale and Larchmont. In the last two years he earned the “Top Selling Award” seven times in the Scarsdale office. He can be reached for questions at 914/844-2059. His website is www.WestchesterHomes.info.