What a Year for Rye and Harrison Real Estate
By Robin Jovanovich
Capitalizing on a surge of buyers from New York City, who, once the pandemic struck, were anxious to move out of their apartments and into leafy communities and private homes with big yards and lots of room for home offices and remote learning stations, many Rye and Harrison homeowners decided to test the market in 2020. Few could have imagined how quickly their homes would sell, and at or above the asking price.
And there will be more buyers from the City, said Susanna Cronin, manager of the Houlihan Lawrence. “What we’re facing is a new challenge in 2021. Inventory is low and many potential sellers who want to downsize in the area are not ready to list because there aren’t enough smaller homes and complexes for them to choose from.”
Advice to developers: Build complexes with two- to three-bedroom homes — and soon, advised Cronin.
When you consider that the real estate market was effectively shut down for ten weeks, from March 22 to June 6, the results are astounding. Pati Holmes, manager of Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s, takes her hat off to the agents. “During the time that agents were not allowed to take out buyers, accompany them to homes, or access their occupied listing, they had to reinvent and redesign the sales process. They worked virtually, creatively, and longer hours with sellers and buyers and succeeded with many sight-unseen transactions.”
When the home sales market reopened in June, the real frenzy began, added Holmes. “Our inventory in Rye and Harrison became very liquid and agents had to sharpen their tools on working with multiple offers. The market went from a seller’s market to a buyer’s market the day that the reopening occurred. Pent-up demand (and cabin fever) caused our inventory to become as liquid as real estate can be, and also caused trend changes that we haven’t seen in a very long time.”
Where just a year earlier, walkability to town and train was a must for buyers from the City, according to Julia Brasesco of Compass, a large backyard and a pool are essential. She was part of the development of Park Lane in West Harrison, where new construction, big backyards, and proximity to White Plains were big draws. Kim Arenas, who heads the Rye Compass office, added, “A sense of community was important for many recent buyers and they snapped up homes on cul-de-sacs.”
Holmes said multiple home offices, less open floor plans, indoor playrooms,
outdoor rooms — with TVs, and at-home gyms also made the top ten of buyer demands in 2020.
Year-over-year, the number of home sales in Rye and Harrison is up 10 percent and 13 percent, respectively, according to Holmes. Inventory is down 35 percent in Rye, and 15 percent in Harrison.
The many realtors we interviewed offered pretty much the same advice to sellers: if you’re planning to list your house, don’t wait for spring. Chelsea Georgio of Compass suggests mid-February as the time to act.
As Cronin noted, “There is no seasonality to residential real estate anymore. Now is the right time to sell.”
Arenas anticipates that the 2021 will be just as strong as this year’s but cautions sellers city “not to list their home above its value banking on the upcoming rush. City buyers are savvy.”
The median sales price of a home is $1.9 million in Rye and $1.4 million in Harrison.