Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty First-Quarter 2012 Market Report Shows Westchester Single-Family Home Sales Gaining Momentum

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Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty recently released its First-Quarter 2012 Westchester Market Watch, announced Paul Breunich, President and CEO.

First Quarter 2012 Westchester Market Watch

First Quarter 2012 Westchester Market Watch

For the first time since the financial crisis began, we are experiencing a traditional ‘Spring Market’ in Westchester housing.

Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty recently released its First-Quarter 2012 Westchester Market Watch, announced Paul Breunich, President and CEO. The report shows that single-family homes sales, which have been on the uptick since late fall of 2011, continue to gain momentum entering the 2012 spring market.

“For the first time since the financial crisis began, we are experiencing a traditional ‘Spring Market’ in Westchester housing,” reports Mr. Breunich. “Since December, demand has improved substantially with significant pending sales increases versus a year ago. We believe the greatly improved consumer confidence, driven by the brightening employment picture, coupled with a high home affordability index reflecting low prices and interest rates, has unleashed the pent-up demand in our marketplace.”

For the first quarter of 2012, single-family home pending sales recorded their highest levels relative to the same period in previous years since prior to the financial crisis. In Southern Westchester County, pending sales for the quarter increased by 23% versus the same period last year. In Northern Westchester County, pending sales were 45% higher than the first quarter of 2011.

Correlating with the improving consumer confidence levels, the consumer psyche with regards to home-buying seems to be shifting from “wait and see” to “now may be the time to make a move”.

A key component to unlocking the market has been the continued stability of prices, with value remaining the guiding principle. While demand is improving, the market is not yet ready to accept any upward pricing migration. Buyers are exceptionally savvy and still want to be sure they have a value proposition.

But the fact that well-priced inventory is selling relatively quickly is encouraging for sellers and also reflects the alignment of buyer/seller expectations, resulting in the increased success rate of transactions reaching the closing table.

As the housing market begins to regain some momentum, the number of homes being introduced to the market is rising significantly, indicating a pent-up selling side as well. Relative to the same period last year, the number of new listings in the first quarter of 2012 was up 9% in Southern Westchester County and 11% in Northern Westchester County. Even with the higher number of homes introduced to the market this quarter, inventory levels have increased only slightly, due to the greater transaction flow.

Overall, the spring market is being driven by pent-up demand for well-priced homes in mint condition. This is a trend that is expected to continue, reflecting a conservative approach to financial decision-making and also fueled by the relatively low cost of borrowing money.

“2012 is off to a very good start,” notes Mr. Breunich, “and we believe the fundamentals are in place for improved sales activity to continue throughout this year. We are encouraged that housing activity in the past two quarters has been the best in several years. While we are certainly not out of the woods yet, we do believe that the worst is behind us and that we are moving forward in the right direction.”

For the complete quarterly market report and to view local housing statistics in Westchester County, visit juliabfee.com.

About Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty

Founded in 1953, Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty manages a $2.5-billion-plus portfolio with more than 1,000 sales associates in over 30 brokerages spanning Connecticut and Westchester County, New York. Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty, combined with partner firms William Pitt Sotheby’s International Realty and Litchfield Hills Sotheby’s International Realty, is now the largest Sotheby’s International Realty® affiliate globally, the third-fastest-growing real estate company nationally, and the 23rd-largest real estate company by sales volume in the United States. Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty serves the luxury home market throughout Westchester County, New York; and Litchfield Hills Sotheby’s International Realty serves the luxury home market throughout Litchfield County, Connecticut. A full-service real estate firm headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty provides ancillary services including commercial services through its affiliation with Building and Land Technology, a second-generation development company based in Stamford, Connecticut; Julia B. Fee Mortgage, a Wells Fargo mortgage affiliate; William Pitt Insurance Services; and an award-winning global relocation division. For more information, visit the website at juliabfee.com.

Sotheby’s International Realty’s worldwide network includes more than 12,000 sales associates located in 600 offices throughout the United States and 46 other countries and territories.

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Vincent Socci
William Pitt Real Estate LLC
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