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I am losing faith in NYC and now considering moving to Westchester.
Does anyone have a feel or comps for the Southern Westchester market, Larchmont, Harrison, Rye, Scarsdale, Armonk, Chappaqua, etc.
I don't see many price drops there, but i am hearing 30% lowball offers are the norm and being accepted?
Anyone chime in with first hand knowledge?
Can I find a nice move in condition 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath house for 1.4 MM?
I don't know prices but the areas you are looking at are lovely.
Your budget should get you what you want in any of those towns. I think the market in Scarsdale is tighter than say Armonk or Harrison.
Keep in mind that taxes in all of these towns are very high. With your budget, you're looking at 20K-30K per year in real estate tax.
I rented in Harrison (I also worked in Harrison) before buying in West Harlem. It's a Beautiful and safe town, but you really have to really want the suburban lifestyle. I didn't and I am much happier in West Harlem. That said, Harrison taxes are much lower than most or all of the towns you mentioned due to the Platinum mile in Purchase (which is part of Harrison). The Platinum mile includes headquarters for Pepsi and Mastercard as well as a signficant presence of many other firms. While you can find a 4 bedroom, 3.5 bath house for less than 1.4 mmm in most these towns, there are so many variables to consider. I haven't kept up with pricing in these towns since I left, but the declines have been taking place for awhile now. I can't comment on the 30% lowball offers aspect.
There are still bidding wars in scarsdale and chappaqua, as the schools are always #1 and #2 and the towns are great and offer a lot. There is always a steady stream of people giving up on the city and looking at those two towns (and parts of other towns in their school districts) first.
Your best info online is on trulia and zillow
samerun - where in west harlem are you?
Thanks Mav...do you have any comps for scarsdale or chappaqua showing sale price or volume of sales in those towns?
kspeak, I live in the upper 140's near Broadway.
can anyone comment on the state of the market in prime westchester? Volume today vs. last year? etc etc....same kind of analaysis everyone does for the City.....
Curiously, have you checked the website of the Westchester newspaper? www.lohud.com , I am sure you can find some articles that discuss the Westchester real estate market.
geat site, thanks...it lists sale prices and it's searchable for all of Westchester
Those areas you mention are super expensive. I highly doubt 30% lowballs are being accepted there.
There was an article in the Sunday times about Somers (I realize in N. Westchester it isn't exactly the same market) that seemed to indicate pretty modest declines in sales prices as well as volume. 30% sounds a little on the low side to me, but I think everything is relative; I would imagine a well kept 19th century farmhouse would retain its value better than some McMansion.
I live in Chappaqua--market is extremely slow (of course, it's not the time of the year that people move to the 'burbs). 1.4m won't get you too much here-but compared to NYC, it will be at least 2400 sq ft, maybe 1 acre (more than you'll get in southern westchester) taxes will be high-- over 25,000 a year. n fact some of the houses on the market here at around 1.6, have 35-40,000 a year in taxes (ouch)_
BTW, don't trust zillow--completely inaccurate for many of the houses I've checked up here.
thanks dmf13---i guess sometimes getting the right deal means finding the distressed seller? Cash in hand usually helps that....not expecting a mansion, but I do see some very nice houses asking between 1.5-1.75 in Chappaqua that maybe could be had for 1.4....heres hoping if that the spot we pick and end up leaving NYC
as far as Zillow goes...is it accrate when looking at the last sale price recorded? I know the estiametd value is way off, but last sale price is a way to find a house that was bought at a very low cost basis and target those for competitve offers....that is what Zillow is good for I think...
If you don't need a lot of land and you want to minimize the schlep to Manhattan, Pelham is worth considering. Excellent schools, very safe, and about a half-hour from GCT. The downside is that Pelham has relatively little open space or parkland, and limited nightlife or culture. Anyway, there are beautiful colonials and Tudors, within walking distance of the train, in the $1MM - $1.4MM. I think the value proposition is better than, say, Bronxville, which is tonier. Taxes, of course, are high. That's Westchester.
dmf13--do you know the street Pebblebrook Way of off Hardscrabble in Chappaqua? Looks like a bunch of hosues for sale on ths street? Is there a problem with it?
West 81...we meet again under a different thread..agree on the area, but the schools are no comparison to the other towns I mention... .and my understanding is that Pelham High School is not good.
Irvington, Dobbs Ferry area has great schools. I think you could do OK in your price range, commute not too bad.
curiously: We considered Chappaqua, then the nearer suburbs, then decided to stick in out in Manhattan.
Like everything, northern vs. central vs. southern Westchester is a set of trade-offs. If you work in the city and live in a place like Pelham, the shorter commute and lower dependence on cars means more time with your kids, which gives you the opportunity to offset some of the step-down in schools with personal involvement. Granted, if your benchmark is Chappaqua and Scarsdale, every school system in the state looks like something out of Dickens.
I like Pelhman - it's really small so it's walkable which is nice when your kids are a bit older (less need to drive them everywhere)
We considered Pelham and Bronxville. I liked Pelham, but some of the elementary schools were much better than others. I agree with kspeak. I don't drive, and I thought I could actually survive there. I recall the high school being pretty good, not Scarsdale, but with a bit less attitude as an offset.
If I ever give up on Manhattan I will move to Pelham. It's as close to the city as you can possibly be (not just in train time, but it's easy to find a house within a 5-10 minute walk to the station, making your "door to door" time to Grand Central about 40 minutes). I think the schools are good enough and I like that's it is a smaller school system - I personally would rather my kids be in a good school that is slightly less competive and smaller than a very good school that is hypercompetitive and huge.
aboutready: In Pelham, the debate rages endlessly about the relative quality of the elementary schools. The way I remember it, Siwanoy is the "hot" school; it, Colonial and one other have much better test scores than the school in the north end of town; but there's a question of possible skewing because that one school hosts some special-needs programs. I don't recall the details. Anyway, I think we're talking about the difference between good and very good - not the sort of drop-off you see when you cross a zone line in NYC.
kspeak: Well said. We know a fair number of people in the top districts in W'chester and LI, and some of the stories about pressure and overprogramming in those schools are reminiscent of Seoul or Tokyo. I'm sure there's some exaggeration, but a lot of truth too.
west81st - I wasn't being disparaging. It's just that often when people decide to take the dive out of Manhattan they have specific criteria. My money will get me a top school, at least, etc. It was a number of years ago, so my memory could be (and probably is) quite fuzzy but I remember discussing it with some other potential transplants who felt it was a deal killer. Whether that's true today (or even truly was back then), I don't know. I didn't follow up as we decided to stay in the city. Something to explore.
We left the UWS for Pelham in 04 and sold the house and came back within 8 months. Found that even though the train part of the commute was only 30 minutes, getting to/from the station was a pain (no parking, cabs a pain and the 15 minute walk stunk in the cold/rain) and still had to get to work from GC. It meant a legit commute was still over an hour each way. As for the town itself, the downtown is not great (small and lots of closed stores) and the bordering towns were just o.k. On the plus side, for the price of a 2br condo we got a 2300 sq foot house (but with a teeny tiny piece of land). Did not use the schools, but echo West81st's comments about people in the town considering the elementary school in the north as subpar. May end up in the burbs again someday, but probably go further away to get more land and a parking spot at the train station (wait list in Pelham was several years when we left). Good luck.
Curiously: Pebblebrook Way is in one of the newest developments in town--Some of the houses are very near major electrical power lines (Not sure if this street is one of them). In general, after being here for over 20 years had I to do it over, it's really too far from NYC--The train may be 50 minutes, but the drive to the train, parking in the enormous train station lot can add at least 1/2 hour to the commute.
As for other areas, Larchmont doesn't have school buses (either does Pleasantville), Armonk is very far from the train station (North White Plains)-- Did you consider Edgemont or Dobbs Ferry?
Houlihan Lawrence RE has a good website covering all the town. Nothing insider but current listings.
As for school districts, is it any doubt that the areas with the brightest most overeducated hypercompetitive parents have kids that also succeed on their tests and boards which is what those rankings are based on. There are lots of good schools...their is a snob factor built into some.
Ultimately I think searching for a community that shares your own sensibilities is the challenge.
I would move to connecticut instead of westcheter.
Greenwich (essentially the same commute as Rye or Scarsdale and the taxes are half - arguably, better schools too.)
If streching the commute to around an hour is not a probelm then there are plenty of other connecticut towns that you could look at too ... Westport, Darien, New Canaan etc.
Why move all the way to Westchester when you can still live in the city?
You can probably lowball them given that there are still a lot of houses available.
Thanks All...Alot of info on Pelham, but thats not an area we would consider.
Can anyone provide any real look into the buyers market in Westchester?
It seems that in NYC prices are coming down and realism is settign in, but in Westchester, not so based on website listings.
Does anyone have comps of something that sold for ~30% off list price closer to a 2005 comp?
W81: "curiously: We considered Chappaqua, then the nearer suburbs, then decided to stick in out in Manhattan"
Ah, now I get why W81 likes the Upper West Side and its big box stores.
We too are looking to leave the UES for Westchester mainly for the schools. We have zeroed in on Armonk. How do the schools in Armonk compare to Chappaqua and Scardale?
They are a bit smaller, but just as good.
The problem with Westchester is the taxes. Who wants to pay $4,000/month in property taxes, plus landscaping and exterior maintenance? That's nuts!
for people who would use private schools, and will go public in the suburbs, the extra taxes are just tuition (and with multiple kids reduced tuition at that).
28 years ago I left NYC for the suburbs and have been trying to get back ever since. I've lived around the world but there is something about NYC that is alluring. You'll be back one day!
Sothebys (formerly Julia B Fee in Westchester) publishes an annual state of the market report not dissimilar from some of the NYC realty reports. They provide YOY sales volume, listing prices and sales prices for each town.
For school and other local area info, check out http://westchestermagazine.com/ which is kind of like New York magazine up there. They have back issues archived, and they publish an annual best school district issue. Scarsdale and Chappaqua are up there, but also check out Edgemont, which is Scarsdale PO, and has been the top rated school for several of the past few years. I think this year, out of a graduating class of 140 or so, they had multiple admissions to Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, Cornell, Dartmouth, etc. Edgemont folks, like Scarsdale folks, also commute from the Scardsle and Hartsdale train stations, so it's a 30 - 33 min ride in to GCT.
Yes, prop taxes are high, but most people look at it as tax deductible tuition. And you don't pay a local income tax, unlike NYC.
Finally, re CT, you should be aware that many Greenwich residents don't send their kids to the public HS, but to private schools. Also, the housing prices are significantly higher and offset the lower CT prop taxes.
KISS, first of all, to say that many Greenwich residents don't send their kids to the public high school is a bit silly. Sure, some do not (mostly the ones living in $20 million + estates; however, in a town where the average and median sales prices are both well above $1.5 million, it's not like the people going to the school are from the slums.
Yes, property prices in Greenwich are higher becasue of the lower taxes but those taxes are literally HALF of what they are in Westchester (in some cases even more).
Lastly, the other towns that were mentioned (just a nice if not nicer than Greenwich) have more than 90% attendance at their public school and Westport school system for example is ranked #1 in the state.
Yes, purchase prices may be higher but you are paying less than $10,000 a year on a $1 million+ home instead of over $20,000
I'm only speaking anecdotally. I know some Westchester residents in highly regarded school districts who do send their kids to private schools, but it seems unusual to me. More of the Greenwich residents I work with in NYC seem to send their kids to private schools. I am not suggesting this is a reflection of the quality of the schools. Rather, I suspect, it reflects more on their financial wherewithal and mindset perhaps, based on what I know of them and the relative wealth.
Just in case any of you find this of interest, the NYT did a piece on some families that were not happy with the vaunted Westchester schools and either paid for private school in their area or paid for private school in Manhattan while still living in the burbs.
My experience in talking to suburbanites is the following:
People justify their high property taxes in places like Scarsdale by treating it like their private school bill. So, what's wrong with that? What happens is that once kids graduate from the high school, the empty nester parents move out. So, Scarsdale winds up being the "35-55" year old neighborhood with kids, and the town lacks older folks to keep things stable. It's kind of the polar opposite of the 55+ communities in Florida that lack school children. Call me old-fashioned, but I think it's healthier for kids to live in communities with older folks and vice versa.
Greenwich has more of a mix of older and younger generations, which in my opinion, is why property tends to hold its value better there, and why Greenwich just seems like such a classy place to raise a family.
As a soon-to-be ex-Chappaqua resident (waiting to move back into NYC when I can get a 4,000sf loft downtown for under $1,000 per sf, I think middle of next year), I can tell you this market is fairly dead. Lots of layoffs (Wall Street is the big employer up here). Two years ago your $1.4m would not have gotten you much, now I would say you can get a nice house that meets your needs but not on the best streets. Though I have a friend who sold his place for $4+m earlier this year, near asking price, when we all thought it was $1m overpriced. But the market seems way more stressed right now.
If you move here and want to join a local country club to play golf, let me know as I can help you out.
Also, to your question on Pebblebbrook Way. That is in a newer development called Hardscrabble Lake. It is off to the western side of Chappaqua and in fact there is a "wrinkle" to it. I believe the houses, while in the Chappaqua School District, are in the Town of Mount Pleasant, which means you will not be able to get a resident parking pass for the Chappaqua train station (Chappaqua is part of the Town of New Castle). This is a potential problem for a commuter and probably a slight negative in pricing as a result. In Chappaqua (and Westchester) the post offices, towns and school districts all have different boundaries so make sure you know what you looking at.
thanks modern....why abandon chappaqua? commute? i hear there is a good public course right near by.
We have looked at a similar wealthy New Jersey suburb and it seems that prices in that region dropped over the past 18 months (before the credit crisis) and for the past few months have been pretty stable with well-attended open houses and very little inventory. Don't know if Westchester is experiencing the same thing.
I'm leaving because I have been here too long (15 years) amd my kids are moving out. The $60k per year in property taxes doesn't encourage me to stick around either but that is not the driving force. I am into alternative music, art, etc, and want to be able to enjoy NYC life without the 1+ hour drive home at night. Chappaqua is OK, not great, to raise a family. A lot of people love it, I am more mixed.
There is a new County public course nearby, I haven't played it. The reason to join a country club is for the family too, with dining, pool, day camp for kids, etc. It is not a cheap way to play golf though. I have also made many friends that way, versus the traditional method of meeting through your kids sports (which people up here are overly obsessed with).
Houlihan Lawrence by the way has a very slow website, unless it's just my PC. Do realize I'm 4 years late to the thread but does prove the thread is still relevant 4 years later :)
Looking at 3 vastly different areas: Westchester, Greenwich, Princeton. Any recommendations?
Some of you people are so funny. Why move all the way up to Westchester to live, unless it is so much more convenient for work, when you get so much more house in Jersey City or Hoboken. Taxes aren't cheap on the Jersey City, but you do get more house.
I've worked in Westchester for three different companies and did the reverse commute but, me personally, can't see myself doing the suburban thing. Eve White Plains is too quiet for me.
"So, Scarsdale winds up being the "35-55" year old neighborhood with kids, and the town lacks older folks to keep things stable. It's kind of the polar opposite of the 55+ communities in Florida that lack school children. Call me old-fashioned, but I think it's healthier for kids to live in communities with older folks and vice versa."
You must have been kidding (4 years ago, I know). There are so many older folks in 'dale that they were just able to vote down the school boards budget to be able to spend more per student. There are many people who stay there after kids finish school and there are many seniors. Many of these people have enough money to keep paying the taxes and are happy to stay in their community.
"Some of you people are so funny. Why move all the way up to Westchester to live, unless it is so much more convenient for work, when you get so much more house in Jersey City or Hoboken. Taxes aren't cheap on the Jersey City, but you do get more house."
-If you can afford to move to Westchester, there is NO comparison
Grunty - The West side of Putnam County is beautiful if you can stomach the commute.
My vote is for Rockland county, if you can deal with no train.
> I am losing faith in NYC and now considering moving to Westchester.
OMG same here! we used to think we'd have to move to Westchester just because of the school situation (we aren't well zoned). well, kiddos are going to an awesome charter instead and we are loving it. what a difference a couple of years make!!!
> My vote is for Rockland county, if you can deal with no train.
only rent there! don't buy please. their pension time bomb is horrendous. they had to increase their property taxes by 30% to pay the pension burden, but opted for a 18% increase and borrowing the rest.
CT is horrendous too! their pensions are only 50% funded and 0% funded when it comes to health care. so if you like it, be a renter from sby how's stuck because of being underwater. i'm being told by friends that this is EXTREMELY common in Rockland county btw.
Rockland has a train.
>Rockland has a train.