Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty Second-Quarter 2012 Market Report Shows Continued Strengthening of Westchester County Home Market

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Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty recently released its Second-Quarter 2012 Westchester Market Watch, announced Paul Breunich, President and CEO. “Mirroring national trends, for the first six months of this year, Westchester County’s real estate market has continued to strengthen, laying a firm foundation for our area’s sustained housing recovery,” reports Mr. Breunich.

Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty recently released its Second-Quarter 2012 Westchester Market Watch, announced Paul Breunich, President and CEO. “Mirroring national trends, for the first six months of this year, Westchester County’s real estate market has continued to strengthen, laying a firm foundation for our area’s sustained housing recovery,” reports Mr. Breunich.

In the second quarter of 2012, single-family home sales extended the momentum that began in December of 2011. Closed sales of single-family homes were 15% higher in Southern Westchester County relative to the same period in 2011. Luxury sales came back strongly, with sales of homes priced above $3,000,000 jumping 33%. In Northern Westchester County, closed sales were 22% higher than the second quarter of 2011.

June was the seventh straight month of year-over-year pending sales increases in the region, confirming the sustainability of the housing market recovery. Compared with the same period of 2011, pending sales for the second quarter of 2012 have been exceptionally strong – up by 29% in Southern Westchester County and 31% in Northern Westchester County – and are expected to translate to strong third-quarter closed sales.
Another significant development is the heightened potential buyer activity during the first six months of this year. Notes Mr. Breunich, “This renewed market energy has contributed to a general feeling of optimism regarding our housing markets that is a key component for a sustained housing recovery.”

Prices have stabilized in most segments of the real estate market, an important factor in market improvement. Greatly improved sales levels have given both buyers and sellers confidence in current market values.

First- and second-quarter median price data posted slight declines, but these are not a reflection of further erosion of housing values. Rather, they reflect the mix of properties being sold, which are concentrated in the low-to-mid price ranges.

Condominiums and co-operative sales continue to slowly edge into recovery after a flat first quarter in 2012. Relative to the first quarter of 2011, year-to-date condominium sales are up by 7% in Southern Westchester County, while co-operative sales are even. In Northern Westchester County, condominium sales have increased by 12% and co-operatives by 61%. Pending sales levels throughout the region are at their highest in three years.

Levels of the U.S. Consumer Confidence Index remain higher than in 2011. Importantly, slight declines in numbers over the past four months do not appear to be impacting the Westchester County real estate market, attesting to the resiliency of this market.

More people are entering the housing market. But they remain conservative in their investment decisions, seeking value while not spending more than they can comfortably afford. Buyers continue to hold the upper hand in most real estate negotiations, making it clear they are value-driven. But the percentage of “need to sell” sellers has reduced significantly, so there is more seller confidence as well.

Looking ahead to the remainder of the year, Mr. Breunich concludes, “We expect our housing market to continue to strengthen, as buyers take advantage of the excellent opportunities currently available. All housing recoveries take time, and can experience surges and pauses. But we are confident that, overall, the Westchester housing market is clearly improving. We expect that the fundamentals of realistic prices, lower inventory levels, and low interest rates will further sustain this recovery.”
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 585 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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