According to the Westchester-Putnam MLS, the market for single family homes in Westchester is getting healthier. Consider the following:
- In 2009, 217 single family homes sold at a median price of $568,000.
- In 2010, 279 homes sold at a median price of $610,000.
That is an increase in median price of 7.4% and an increase in transactions of a whopping 28.6%. In dollar terms, it represents going from $162,000,000 in volume to $227,000,000.
There are some other trends that are worth observing.
In May 2009, homes sold in the first 90 days on market (presumably the more desirable, aggressively priced homes) got 93% of asking price. Homes sold after 120 days on market garnered 92% of asking.
However, in May 2010, homes sold in the first 90 days got 97% of asking price on average, and those sold after 120 days on market fetched 93%.
This could mean that the buying public feels less of a need to talk the sellers down, or perhaps more likely, the better homes are getting competitive offers, driving the bids up.
There is no better argument for pricing your house right the very first day than that. At a median price of $610,000, 97% of asking is over $24,000 higher than 93% of asking!
Interpreting this data is difficult, even if you read Freakonomics and took 2 semester of statistics in college. Both months were "stimulus months," meaning they occurred in the period where first time buyers qualified for the tax credit. To me, the more significant data than the higher prices and volume is the percentage of asking price being offered by the public. If more people are buying and those people are willing to pay more, it bodes well for some balance between a severe buyer's market and the foolhardy exuberance of the bubble.
Westchester County, in my view, is a county to watch, because of the high number of buyers we export to neighboring counties and states, as well as the high number of buyers we attract from New York City in addition to transfers from other states. That gives these numbers significance. I am hopeful that, barring another economic calamity, our our local results are a bellwether for an industry in a sustainable recovery.