Rye Real Estate Rocking



By Robin Jovanovich


Some things do indeed happen every spring, but few recall as bustling a spring real estate market as we’re experiencing now.


According to Michèle Flood of Coldwell Banker, one-third of the inventory has come on in the past month. “We’ve got 33 new listings, priced from $579,000 to $10,600,000, and 28 homes under contract this month alone. I think many homeowners are jumping on the bandwagon.”


She added, “Nothing spreads a selling frenzy more than bidding wars, which we’ve seen with considerable regularity the past few weeks. It’s been one busy month for a small town like Rye.” At last count, Ms. Flood, the top Coldwell Banker agent in Westchester, had 11 homes under contract, 13 active listings, and a few additional ones being negotiated.


Business is brisk in Harrison and Purchase, too, the past month, where 32 homes were listed for sale, from $499,000 to $6,595,000. A total of 18 homes went into contract.


Where are all these buyers coming from? Should we attribute the increased activity to the unusually fine spring weather, the still historically low interest rates, or a real improvement in the economy?


Lisa Murphy of Houlihan Lawrence said buyers have been spurred in part because interest rates have started ticking up- “buyers react to interest rates”. She noted that there are also a lot of renters out there who have been waiting for the right house to come along.


There is also the domino effect, offered Marianna Glennon, also a broker at Houlihan Lawrence. “When someone downsizes or moves from one neighborhood to another part of town, their friends start thinking about doing the same thing.”

More than 45% of the sales are within Rye, she added. And the extraordinary bidding wars are across all price ranges.


Even in this market, Judy Croughan of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty believes competitive pricing is key. “Buyers are familiar with the inventory through their online research, so they can sense value when a home is priced well. 

We are seeing a continuing trend, with the buyers' preference for new or nearly construction, especially at the higher points."


Maureen Skrilow of Raveis agrees that price is still the biggest driver. “Houses, like the ones on Ann Lane and Hix Avenue, that came on, had multiple offers, and went, sold quickly because they were well-priced.”


The average price of the 23 Rye units sold in the first quarter is $1,645,457; 33 units fetched an average price of $1,357,258 in the first quarter of 2011, reported Susanna Cronin of Coldwell Banker.


“The phenomenon we’re witnessing has not been seen since those heady days of ‘irrational exuberance’, namely multiple-bidding on optimal properties,” said Ms. Cronin.


Will it last? “Hard to tell,” she replied. “Demand appears strong and supply will possibly adjust to meet conditions. The underlying economy is always a concern, yet with interest rates at an encouragingly low level for buyers, and demand strong, it’s safe to say Rye’s housing market will enjoy a strong second quarter.”


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