Buyers came out of the woodwork this year and bought up most of the residential inventory in Rye this year.
By Robin Jovanovich
Buyers came out of the woodwork this year and bought up most of the residential inventory in Rye this year. Local realtors say it was the reasonable mortgage rates, the pent-up demand, and maybe even the weather since July that has brought buyers out in droves and convinced many homeowners that this was the time to put their house on the market. They’re not complaining. For many, 2013 has been a very good year, and the year isn’t over.
For Judy Croughan of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s, it has been her best year. “I’ve been involved in 13 transactions, and had the buy and sell on two listings. I’m so grateful.” She noted that things quieted down at the start of September with the late public school start and the holidays, but by mid-month the market picked up again. “Open Houses were busy last weekend. And I’m already doing a lot of pricing and consulting for sellers who want to list in the spring!”
“Booming” is how Lisa McGowan of Coldwell Banker describes the residential real estate market this year. “Prices were high. Bids were sealed. What’s not to like?” This has also been her best year; she will have closed on a sweet sixteen deals by this weekend.
By the start of the school year, McGowan said she’s usually not busy, but she has “yet to take a day off, has had no opportunity to take a vacation, and can’t remember spending at day at Coveleigh Club all summer.” However, she said she loves all the clients she’s brought into neighborhoods in Rye, Rye Neck, and Rye Brook in recent months.
The Rye market has been busier during the first nine months of this year than in the previous few years, according to Nancy Everett of William Raveis. “We have seen more high-end houses come on the market than in the recent past, many have had multiple bids, and many have had contracts signed within weeks of being listed for sale.”
And come September, the market remains active at all price points, added Everett. “More properties have recently been listed and some houses have continued to have multiple offers.”
Kevin Scott of Better Homes & Gardens/Rand Realty said the upswing in the market actually began last November and has been “off the charts” ever since. “Many people concluded that with mortgage rates still historically low that it was better to buy than rent. And Rye’s seen the effects — houses have appreciated almost ten percent here, and I think prices will continue to rise. We’re seeing multiple bids we haven’t seen for several years. There are a lot of buyers out there and very little inventory.” He added, “The spring market may start earlier than usual.”
Many young buyers and older couples looking to downsize may have to wait until spring, as inventory is very low, especially in the $1,000,000 market.
To date, Lisa Murphy has closed on 26 deals, and expects that number to rise to 30 by year’s end. She received an accepted offer on one property this week. “More single-family homes in Rye have sold in the first nine months of this year than in any of the past ten years,” said Murphy, who has been an agent at Houlihan Lawrence for 11 years. “We’ve seen a rebound of the very top market.”
Murphy expects a “healthy” fall market based on what we’ve seen so far, but she is personally looking forward to a little less intensity for the remainder of 2013. “I don’t want to miss my son’s senior year of high school.”
One of the other things driving the market, according to Fiona Dogan of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s, is international and national relocations have resumed, “with many transferees looking for multi-year rentals and sales of homes above the $1.5 million range.” Another is Manhattan buyers, “who have returned with a vengeance and are eager to enroll their children in our outstanding public schools. Our property taxes are still attractive when compared to multiple New York City private school fees.” Further, builders continue to see the advantages of tearing down older homes, building new construction in their place, and in very many cases going into unconditional contract before ground is even broken.”
Over the summer, Dogan said a steady stream of $5 million-plus homes sold. “The big spenders are out and active and will definitely buy when they find what they like and feel they are getting good value for their money, regardless of the price tag.”
Andrew Rogovic has been at Better Homes and Gardens/Rand Realty for over a decade but can’t remember seeing anything like what’s happened this year. “We went from a buyers market to a sellers market overnight. The people waiting for the perfect house to come on are still waiting.”
Chrissy Hazelton, who joined Houlihan Lawrence two weeks ago, after working at Better Homes & Gardens for six years, has closed on $32 million of properties this year and estimates that number will be close to $40 million by the end of the year. In 2012, she sold more homes but at lower volume.
“Every market picked up this year,” she said. “The market is robust. There’s excitement in the air. It’s bid, bid, bid.”
Michele Flood of Coldwell Banker reports that in the City of Rye, the number of homes sold is up 33 percent and the average sale price year-to-date is $2,018,000, compared to $1,760,000, a 15 percent increase. In Harrison, the number of homes sold year-to-date is up 12 percent and the average sale price is $1,410,000, compared to $1,163,000, a 24 percent increase.
“Multi-offers with final bid deadlines and bidding wars are back in full swing, especially for investment and new construction properties,” said Flood, who has had 53 closings so far this year.
She’s thrilled that the fall market continues to move at a strong pace and expects the year will finish out strong.
If you’re thinking of selling, “now is as good a time as any,” says Sula Perlman, who’s been at Coldwell Banker for 38 years.