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What's Selling: Westchester Experts Dish On The Real Estate Market

Larger homes, such as this one courtesy of Bronxville Real Estate, are not selling as fast as they used to, say realtors. Photo Credit: Contributed
Is your house in a "hot" market for selling? Photo Credit: Daily Voice File photo
Alison Bernstein, founder of Suburban Jungle. Photo Credit: Jodi Lin Gresham
Larry Friedman, principal and co-founder of SDF Capital. Photo Credit: Charlotte Kullen
Jeannette Boccini, J. Philip Realtor. Photo Credit: Jeannette Boccini

Large houses aren't selling the way they used to.

According to multiple Westchester realtors, homes that are 3,000 square feet and above $1 million, once the darlings of the Westchester real estate world, are now no longer as attractive.

Bigger used to be better, said Alison Bernstein founder/president of Suburban Jungle, a suburbs strategy relocation firm, but a cultural shift began when millennials entered the market approximately 10 years ago.

“People used to plan to own their homes for 30 to 40 years," she said. "Now, they're thinking three to four years and thinking differently about ownership overall."

“We're seeing a trend of ‘Asset Light,' she said.

In other words, buyers are choosing to be less house-centric and more lifestyle rich. They realize that buying a smaller house and having fewer assets (who needs two cars with Uber after all?) can give them more disposable income to go on vacation, and send their kids to camp and/or private school etc.

They are also often waiting a little later in their lives to make their first home purchase.

That said, experts agree that large real estate depends on the area and the market. For the most part, they say,  “large” real estate is an “apples to oranges” comparison because what may be considered large in some municipalities may not be in another.

“[Large] depends greatly on the sub-market," said Larry Friedman, principal and co-founder of SDF Capital in Mamaroneck. "In Yorktown and Katonah, you can get a three bedroom/two bathroom house sub for $600,000; this is not the case in Scarsdale and Mamaroneck." There, he said, that same price would get a buyer a very small two-bedroom home, a condominium, or large home in dire need of renovation.

Seasonally also comes into play, with less sales in the winter months.

The advantage of selling now can mean getting a multitude of offers at or above the asking price, due to a lack of inventory around wintertime, said Friedman.

“In some homes under one million, we are seeing bidding wars and properties being sold at the asking price or over the asking price, even when the homes are fixer-uppers,” added Jeannette Boccini, a Pelham-based J. Philip Real Estate agent.

“If the home is in an attractive school district, a good location and priced right, it can have an accepted offer in a matter of days.”

The specific areas that are hot—but may not have the supply to meet it—include Tarrytown, Peekskill, Larchmont, and the White Plains/Greenburgh area, according to Boccini, and it’s due to their location and school districts.

But there's also growth in Northern Westchester in towns like Somers and Katonah, according to Bernstein --  for similar reasons and because those areas entice those looking to enjoy all aspects of suburban life.

Towns “in between” such as Armonk or Bedford aren't "feeling the same interest as the towns at the far ends of the county," said Bernstein.

Either way, pricing matters -- as does delivering a "move-in-ready" home.

Bernstein believes buyers and sellers should get involved in the market now before the spring rush.

Friedman agrees, stressing renovating and listing large real estate aggressively.

Added Boccini: "Those who take the time and strategize to price correctly will have the advantage in being able to sell their large real estate."

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