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Luxury Westchester buyers getting price conscious

Fear of over-paying is being blamed for a slowdown in the Westchester luxury homes market.
In its thrid quarter report, Houlihan Lawrence said, “Despite these record-setting gains in the stock market and net worth, the luxury buyer north of NYC is defined by a cautious and restrained approach to real estate.

“They are reminded that real estate can decline in value, and the fear of overpaying is a primary concern. Luxury rentals have increased since last year and offer an easy wait-and-see solution.”

Luxury homes sales north of NYC through the third quarter showed mixed results. In Westchester, luxury sales (over $2M) through the third quarter were down slightly; a slow third quarter in Putnam and Dutchess (sales $1M and higher) contributed to a double-digit decline year to date.

Luxury markets in Darien and New Canaan (over $2M) have softened considerably since last year, while neighboring Greenwich (sales $3M and higher) is unchanged, according to Houlihan Lawrence. Anthony Cutugno, senior vice president of Houlihan Lawrence, said buyers are also playing attention to a property’s marketability should the need to sell arise.

And a surplus of luxury inventory seems to justifies their caution; At the close of the third quarter, there were 467 luxury homes ($2M and higher) for sale in Westchester County and 57 homes in contract. In Greenwich, 317 luxury homes ($3M and higher) were for sale with 22 homes in contract.

According to the brokerage, sellers who priced their homes “ambitiously” are reducing or withdrawing them from the market. In the third quarter, one out of four luxury listings took a price decrease
“Buyers are wary of top-of-the-market pricing and sellers are responding in kind with a record number of reductions,” said Cutugno.

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