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Westchester Realtors Encouraged By Latest Sales Report

Westchester Realtors feel optimistic about recent reports.
Westchester Realtors feel optimistic about recent reports. Photo Credit: Douglas Elliman Real Estate

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. – Westchester County Realtors reacted with optimism to Wednesday’s report by the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service. Closings were up 7 percent in the first three months of 2013 from last year and sale prices were inching upward, the report said.

“I think we’re in a very healthy market,’’ said Leah Caro, president of Bronxville-Ley Real Estate. “I think it’s like we’re finding our equilibrium.”

Barbara O’Connell of Margot Bennett Real Estate, which is based in Yonkers, agreed.

“I think it’s encouraging to see any increase at this point,’’ said O’Connell. “I think buyers are realizing that this won’t last forever. They’re not just shopping, but buying. Over the last two years, we’ve seen a lot shopping but not buying.”

The report attributed the continued recovery to favorable interest rates, a rise in the stock market and a stable unemployment rate, currently around 7 percent in Westchester.

Sale prices for a single-family house in Westchester ticked up 2 percent over 2012, and the condo median price stayed stable.

“We have 19 houses that are pending, which is a great sign,’’ Caro said. “They have an executed contract, contingencies have been met and they’re just waiting to close. We’ve sold 29 houses since the beginning of the spring market. It’s a great time to be a seller, and it’s a great time to be a buyer. The balance has been maintained.”

A report by Douglas Elliman Real Estate in Westchester County was also released Wednesday. Median sale prices rose 2.6 percent from the same period last year, and the number of sales increased 5.6 percent, it said. The condo market had a whopping 13.3 percent increase, while single-family homes had a 2.8 percent increase.

Amy Kane, executive vice president at Douglas Elliman, believes the most significant number might be the reduction in inventory. That number fell to 17.5 percent, the lowest first quarter total in four years. The total number of contracts surged 27 percent over the same period from last year.

“What’s exciting about this is that there was strong business in the fourth quarter, when there were rumors of a fiscal cliff,’’ Kane said. “We did not know if this was sustainable. This is encouraging. It’s another sign of increased consumer confidence.”

Caro believes conditions are good for sellers and buyers. “Buyers are out there, but they’re not willing to overpay,’’ she said. “Equilibrium is a beautiful place. No one is feeling cheated.”