Coronavirus Drives Escalated Buyer Demand in Westchester Housing Markets During the Third Quarter

Putnam and Dutchess Also See an Increase in Median Sale Prices and an Overall Decline in Inventory

Across Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties, the coronavirus has escalated buyer demand to an unparalleled degree, causing a substantial increase in the number of pending sales in the third quarter, a year-over-year rise in median sale prices for the quarter and an across-the-board dip in the number of listings.

The three counties north of New York City are inherently different on a multitude of levels, including price, convenience, amenities and culture, and it is uncommon for the real estate markets to look the same, yet all three are thriving, according to the Houlihan Lawrence Westchester Putnam & Dutchess Q3 Market Report released today.

Lower supply and increased demand helped elevate the median sale prices of single-family homes in Q3 in all three counties: up 16.2% in Westchester, to $812,000; up 11% in Putnam, to $411,000; up 10.2% in Dutchess, to $347,000.

“New York City buyers leaving the city have rewritten the rules of what today’s buyers want and need. As entire families work from the same home, additional space is a necessity, and the safety of lower density communities during the pandemic has driven demand to historic levels in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties,” said Elizabeth Nunan, President and CEO, Houlihan Lawrence. “Homes on large parcels that will accommodate extended family with space for one or more home offices represent the new ideal home.”

The fulfillment of these basic needs is more important than the specific community, according to the third quarter report. Commute time to NYC is not necessarily as important as it once was. Numerous buyers have indicated that they will continue to work from home on a full- or part-time basis even after the danger of the virus has passed.

With a longer commute time no longer a factor, some of the more remote locations in the three counties have seen an increase in sales. Inventory that was struggling to sell previously has seen a resurgence of interest because these homes now fit buyers’ new criteria.

Buyers remain attuned to value, according to the Houlihan Lawrence report. For example, in Northern Westchester, where commute times to NYC are longer, larger homes with acreage offer an appealing value proposition when compared to similar homes in Southern Westchester. With buyers focused on the attributes of the home, and less on location, it is not surprising that Northern Westchester had the highest Q3 sales spike in the county and posted 50% more homes sold compared to the same period last year.

“At the end of the third quarter, pending sales have exceeded expectations throughout our markets. Inventory will be essential moving forward if we are to meet the exceptional buyer demand. Maintaining low levels of the virus is most important as we enter the fall and winter so the economy and our communities can maintain some semblance of normalcy,” Noonan said.


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