First Quarter Market Update for Scarsdale/Edgemont

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By: Laura Sheppe Miller and Elise Flagg

It has been a busy first quarter in the Scarsdale/Edgemont market!  Well-priced listings are selling quickly and with multiple bids in the $1.5 and under range.  Sellers are getting over asking by $50-100k in many instances and they are not accepting any contingencies other than an inspection.

Since January 1st, 43 houses are in contract or sold under $1.5MM and there are 27 active listings in Scarsdale.  In Edgemont, 22 houses are in contract or sold under $1MM since January 1st and there are only 9 active in that price range.  It is possible inventory is low due to the brutal winter weather we have endured this year.  Many sellers are waiting for a little green on their lawns before listing their homes.  We are expecting a big inventory boost after the holidays and the school break next week when the temperatures will hopefully hit a Springtime 50 degrees!

The lack of inventory motivates buyers to act quickly in fear of not finding a house this Spring. Another driving force is the low interest rates and the knowledge that they are certainly going to rise, but no one knows exactly when!  Young buyers are anxious to find that first family home in the suburbs…..and the real estate market  needs more inventory to feed the frenzy.

In Scarsdale, the $2MM and up range tells a different story.  Buyers are sparse in that price range.  There are currently 38 active listings between $2-3MM and 18 in contract or sold since January 1st.  32 active listings between $3-5MM with only 8 in contract or sold since January 1st and 12 active listings over $5MM with only 2 in contract or sold since the beginning of the year.  Sellers in that price range will have to be patient or price their homes to show value to attract the few buyers in this price category.

Houlihan Lawrence has had a strong first quarter in the Scarsdale and Edgemont market!  We listed approximately 51% of all the listings in contract or sold since January 1st 2015 and we sold approximately 46% of all the homes  in contract or sold since January 1st 2015.

No matter what your price range, buyers would be well-advised to be prepared to act quickly.  Do your homework and check out the market so when a property is listed you will recognize good value and be ready to bid competitively.  Make sure your financial documents are in order.  Your mortgage broker or lender will need to see recent pay stubs, W2 forms or K1s or 1099s, the last two years of your Federal Tax Returns, 3 months of bank statements/portfolio statements and more.  Get pre-approved or better yet, pre-underwritten BEFORE you start looking for a home.   The Scarsdale/Edgemont sellers may demand to see a pre-approval/pre-commitment letter WITH your offer, or proof of funds if the deal is all cash.  They frequently want to know the buyer is well-positioned to purchase the home. Bids may not be considered otherwise.

SCARSDALE SINCE JANUARY 1, 2015

Up to $1MM: 8 active listings, 20 in contract or sold

$1-1.5MM range: 19 active listings, 23 in contract or sold

$1.5-2MM range:12 active listings, 18 in contract or sold

$2-3MM range: 38 active listings, 18 in contract or sold

$3-5MM range: 32 active listings, 8 in contract or sold

$5MM and up: 12 active listings, 2 in contract or sold

EDGEMONT SINCE JANUARY 1, 2015

Up to $1MM: 9 active listings, 22 in contract or sold

$1-2MM range: 23 active listings, 18 in contract or sold

$2-3MM range: 2 active listings, 1 in contract or sold

$3MM+ range: 2 active listing, 0 in contract or sold

We hope you all have a wonderful holiday!

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What Will Westchester’s Housing Market Look Like in 2015?

Source: Westchester Magazine – By: Amy R. Partridge

“Plenty of interesting words have been used to portray the real estate market over the last several years, but we’re partial to the one Houlihan Lawrence is currently using to describe the state of Westchester’s housing market: “We are happy to report that a Goldilocks market—neither too hot nor too cold—is now firmly in place in New York City’s northern suburbs. The conditions are well balanced and solid for both buyers and sellers to make informed decisions as we head into a promising 2015,” reads the firm’s 4th Quarter 2014 Market Report, which is presented by Chris Meyers, Managing Principal of Houlihan Lawrence.”

View the rest of this article at Westchester Magazine: http://bit.ly/1AbRuNp

2015 Real Estate Trends for NYC’s Northern Suburbs

From: HERD The Houlihan Lawrence Blog – By: E.J. Kelley

We asked our brokerage managers for their forecasts in our market for the new year.  Here were their replies:

On design

“I think that stainless steel appliances will still rule in 2015 along with the move toward open floor plans, losing the formal dining rooms, opting for a more loft type living space. More modern and casual.” –Deborah Doern, Larchmont Manager

“You’re going to see a continuation of salvaged woods (rustic).  Bronze is making a continued comeback.” –Brian Levine, Irvington Manager

“According to our favorite stager, the new hot color trend for 2015 is Marsala—Pantone’s Color of the year—which is a cranberry red. It will be seen in small accents which will really be beneficial for us to help our pictures pop.” –Maryellen Walsh, Bedford Manager

“I predict that painted wood cabinets—gray and blue—will be the trend instead of cherry and white.” –Deborah DeGiacomo, New Rochelle/Pelham Manager

“New construction, with the look of a Manhattan condo, is the buyer’s ideal. That product will continue to be wildly popular in 2015.” –Judiann Smith, Rye Manager

On the market

“I believe 2015 will be the year the ‘millennial generation’ buyers emerge strong. I think they will be focused on the small dwelling movement, less sq. ft. but high quality finishes and amenities—and in a desirable area close to downtown action, sidewalks, ‘trendy’ neighborhoods and public transportation.” –Charles Vetter, LaGrangeville Manager

“In 2015, the price differential between existing and new homes will become so great that savvy buyers will turn to re-purposing older homes. Banks will recognize the emerging trend and make financing renovations possible again.” –Judiann Smith, Rye Manager

“There’s pent up buyer demand waiting for well-priced inventory, and there’s plenty of inventory waiting to come to market next month.  Scarsdale sales prices on single families were up 16% year over year, but I doubt—and hope—that trend doesn’t continue, because we know where that leads.  The Robert Schillers of the world say 3-4 % per annum through 2018.” -Lewis Arlt, Scarsdale Manager

“We are seeing the second/weekend buyer back at various price points. I totally agree that more open spaces for easy living is in more demand than traditional layouts.” –Maryellen Walsh, Bedford Manager

“The suburban markets north of NYC will continue to see a growing number of buyers from mainland China looking to purchase property for investment/immigration purposes. These buyers are interested in areas with a stable economy, excellent schools and clean air as these are the driving forces behind leaving China.” –Liz NunanVice President-Global Business Development

“Millenials will be buying up whatever they can get their hands on, irrespective of any interest rate increases, while at the same time there will be a major inventory problem finding ranch style homes or townhomes with first-floor master bedrooms for the massive number of baby boomers unloading their present 2-story colonials. As a result, condo sales will skyrocket in both number of sales and price. Developers and builders will now be reassessing the need for building more condo units and exiting rental building developments.” –Geoffrey Berry, White Plains Manager

“On the New Development front, there is strong demand for one-floor living (condos) and first floor master bedrooms (townhomes).  Buying a lifestyle remains important and increasingly sophisticated buyers set the bar higher and higher for amenities; yesterday’s community room is today’s landscaped rooftop terrace with fireplace.  Technology will play a larger role in pre-construction sales. Tools such as architectural visualization and walkthrough animation will accelerate the pace of pre-construction sales.” –Gay Prizio, Director of Project Marketing

“I think 2015 will be marked by a return to normalcy and balance for real estate markets across the county, except for the vibrant markets that are and have been active. I think investors will exit the market, clearing the way for traditional buyers and millennials.  Buyers are looking for perfect because they can, with no pressure of dramatic rising prices and interest rates.  In my area, they want to fall in love, for long term goals.” –Barry Graziano, Chappaqua/Armonk/Croton Manager

“Contrary to popular belief, Millenials believe in homeownership; however, they are buying smaller so you’ll see an increase in sales of condos, co-ops, and smaller single-family homes.  Encouraging this trend is the belief by experts that the 30-year loan rate will continue to rise but will remain below 5%, thus making their ability to purchase and finance easier.” –Brian Levine, Irvington Manager

“I predict that demand will remain strong from city dwellers seeking relief from NYC prices (for housing, education and NYC cost of living). The equity markets have recorded new highs, creating a wealth effect and driving consumer confidence higher. Additionally I am hopeful that the Bronxville trade-up market will return to prior year levels.  In Yonkers, demand will remain strong from buyers and probably increase based on the stimulus provided by the new Fannie Mae 3% down, 1st time home-buyer program. Yonkers may experience greater price appreciation based on supply side constraints.” -Cynthia Landis, Bronxville/Yonkers Manager

“With a stronger housing market being predicted for 2015, there will be a significant pick-up in activity for first time homebuyers with financing designed for these potential new home owners.” –Dan Duggan, President—Thoroughbred Mortgage

On technology

“Home sellers will increasingly select listing agents that understand today’s buyer and can can articulate how to market a listing via the latest mobile, digital and social platforms. Agents with a strong online presence, great reviews and robust social media profiles will outpace their offline counterparts in inbound leads. If current trends continue more buyers will connect with brokerages on mobile–apps and mobile web–than via desktop for the first year ever.” –Anne Marie Gianutsos, Director of Digital

From more from HERD visit: http://www.houlihanlawrence.com/blog

A New Workbook Helps Children Cope With Moving

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From Herd: The Houlihan Lawrence BlogAugust, 2014

Moving with children can be a daunting prospect.  Experiencing those challenges firsthand convinced child psychologist and mother of four Lori Woodring, Ph.D to pen My Very Exciting, Sorta Scary, Big Move, a creative workbook to help kids cope with relocation.

Woodring conceived the project after moving to London with 18-month old twins, then back to Connecticut five years later—now uprooting four children all under the age of 7.

“One night, my hysterical, inconsolable six year old came to me with her plan. She would find dad a new job in London so we didn’t have to move,” Woodring explained.  “She had some creative job prospects for him I must admit; her next pitch was, ‘Dad could go back to America to work and visit us every weekend.’ And her final, and heartbreaking plea was that she could stay in London and be adopted by a British family!  I was crushed.”

While storybooks had been written on the subject, she sought to create something with a more interactive, hands-on approach.  Her book, she says, is the first of its kind.

We caught up with Lori to learn more on her project and advice for parents facing similar challenges.

What do you hope children and their parents will get out of this book?
Over forty million Americans, or one in five families, move each year.  A move around the corner can be just as challenging as a move overseas for some children, who thrive on familiarity and routine. My husband moved 12 times as a child and we have often explored how his reaction to those moves and how the moves were handled shaped his personality today.  I think that there is so much to be learned from moving and this book provides valuable tools to help children process the experience of moving, discover meaningful ways to say goodbye and stay in touch, get involved in the process of moving, be proactive in learning about his/her new school and neighborhood, and think about ways to make new friends. The book exposes children to numerous strategies to manage emotions with the help of parents. The intention is for the book to generate meaningful discussions between parents and children in a positive and solution-oriented framework.

What advice would you have for parents as they prepare for a move with kids?
1.  Tell your children thoughtfully. Think about timing, environment and attitude before you tell your children. Be sure to tell them as soon as you know the news is certain, set the atmosphere for a well-planned conversation that allows times for feelings to be shared and questions answered, and remember to be positive but honest (it’s okay to admit that it might be hard).
2.  Prepare your children for the move.  Get kids excited and involved in the entire process of moving, from researching their new neighborhood, community and schools, and decorating their rooms, to saying goodbye to the people and places they will miss most. Remember to be a role model!
3. Allow your child to express his/her feelings about the move – good, bad or indifferent.  The more your child expresses and label his/her feelings, the more you can help them talk about ways to manage those feelings and your child will be less likely to internalize or act-out negatively at a later time.

What sensitivities can realtors have to what parents with young children are dealing with?
Realtors have the awesome responsibility of not only finding parents their next house but also finding a family their next home. In this process, it is important to recognize the impact of such a move on all members of the family. Often, parents can get wrapped up in the logistics and may loose sight of their kids’ emotional journey. Anything a realtor can do to help parents stay focused on their kids would be helpful because, in the end, happy children equal happy parents.

“Any big event, weather happy or sad – exciting or difficult, is an opportunity for families to grow and become closer and for children to become more resilient,” Woodring added. “This book provides a format for such learning to take place.”

For more information on Woodring’s book and work, visit her website: movingwithchildren.com

– See more on Herd: The Houlihan Lawrence Blog