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Old 03-18-2016, 03:52 PM
 
29 posts, read 33,344 times
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My husband and I (42 and 38) have been living in a 1BR co-op in Sunnyside, Queens for the past 10 years. We like Sunnyside, but we are tired of apartment living and are looking for greener pastures elsewhere. Since SFHs cost at least 800K in any decent area of Queens, we are looking at the Bronx and lower Westchester to see if we can find something that works for us.

We both have jobs within a 15 minute walk from Grand Central, so the Metro North would be a good option. I prefer to stay within the subway system, though, which is why we have been looking at the Bronx. Thus far, only the Marble Hill/Kingsbridge area seems both affordable and safe enough. Yonkers seems to offer a lot of nice single family properties in our price range (600K at the very most, less if the property taxes are high), but I am having a hard time finding things that are really within walking distance of the Metro North stops (not the Yonkers stop - I understand that area is rather undesirable. I'm looking at Greystone, Glenwood and Ludlow.). We have only one car and different work schedules, so having to drive to the Metro North is not a good option for us.

Where else should we be considering? I DETEST the town of White Plains, so that's likely out. I would prefer to stay somewhat south of there anyway, to keep commuting time to a minimum. I hear mixed things about Mt. Vernon, although I did find some lovely homes within walking distance of the Mt. Vernon East Metro North Stop. Pelham seems nice too, although our budget would be strained to the max there. Are there other areas that I'm missing? Are there northern sections of the Bronx that are less scary than one might think? (I will post this on the NYC forum as well as I know many people here may not be Bronx experts.)

One other item of note: DH has an 18 year old daughter who may choose to come and live with us after she finishes high school in May. She applied to a couple of CUNY schools earlier this year but she is very intimidated by NYC and I doubt that she will be ready to start college in the fall whether she gets accepted or not. We think she may do a gap year, which would be fine with us, but in that case we'd like to live somewhere that is close enough to retail that she could get a job and walk to work. Easy access to a decent community college would be nice, too, in case she wants to take some classes.

Anyway, I'd appreciate any insight or advice you can offer. Thanks in advance!
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Old 03-19-2016, 06:23 AM
 
Location: NY
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If 800K is Queens is pushing your budget, Pelham will never work. The taxes there on a tiny house will be 4 times what they are in Queens because of the schools.

If you don't need the schools, the Bronx could be an option. Look in the NE Bronx - Country Club or Pelham Gardens are both good and taxes are low. Property taxes on a small lot in the Bronx will be around 5k and the same house anywhere in Westchester will be minimum 15K.

If you'd still rather Westchester, New Rochelle or parts of Mount Vernon or Yonkers may work for you, although I don't know much about the latter two to tell you which spots are best.

Good luck!
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Old 03-19-2016, 07:15 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jaymtea View Post
If you don't need the schools, the Bronx could be an option. Look in the NE Bronx - Country Club or Pelham Gardens are both good and taxes are low. Property taxes on a small lot in the Bronx will be around 5k and the same house anywhere in Westchester will be minimum 15K.

Good luck!
Thanks! I noticed as I was looking in Pelham that the taxes were pretty ridiculous - we aren't going to have kids of our own and my husband's daughter is grown, so no need at all for good schools. Even Yonkers taxes are higher than I'd like to pay, lol. I'll look at Country Club and Pelham Bay more closely.
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Old 03-19-2016, 07:31 AM
 
Location: NY
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Look in 10469 or 10465 in the Bronx.
The southern portion of 10469 is better and 10465 will give you Country Club, Throggs Neck and if you're a water person, Silver Beach (smaller homes and lots but a super cute gated community)
Also, City Island!
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Old 03-19-2016, 08:01 AM
 
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I'm browsing in 10469 right now - google maps is telling me that's Williamsbridge. Is that a better area than neighboring Allerton? I have looked there a bit but it seems like the Parkside projects might be a deterrent.
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Old 03-20-2016, 06:15 AM
 
Location: NY
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If you search 10469 on redfin.com, the better part of that area is the lower portion between Pelham Parkway and Allerton Avenue.
North of Gun Hill is a little sketchier
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Old 03-20-2016, 11:04 AM
 
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Hey there -- we moved to Pelham last summer (so my screen name is dated!) and we love it, but the taxes are high -- services are wonderful, and we moved here for the schools (two young children). If you don't need schools, and it sounds like you don't, then I would suggest the Fleetwood area of Mount Vernon. It's the second stop in Westchester on the Harlem line on Metro North, there are some very nice and reasonable houses there, and some good shopping. Plus, if you live outside of NYC, you don't pay NYC income tax anymore. One thing to note about Yonkers -- like the City, it has its own income tax as well -- hence Mount Vernon might be your best overall shot. You may also want to look at Eastchester, maybe near the Crestwood station (also Harlem line).
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Old 03-20-2016, 07:36 PM
 
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Thanks for your input! Jaymtea, I will look at the area between Pelham Parkway and Allerton Ave.

Brooklyn, we did a little reconnaissance today and drove through Mt. Vernon - the northern part is very nice, but the taxes are simply insane - I'm seeing 16K+ on a 400K house. Even given that we wouldn't pay city income tax anymore, that is just way too much when we're not going to be using the schools. Crestwood is also pretty unaffordable - the taxes aren't quite as bad but I am finding very few listings under 600K, and 600K plus 10K taxes isn't happening!

We also spent a lot of time in Yonkers today, viewing a couple of houses and checking out the city. We found some places near the Ludlow station that were nice, as well as one near Greystone, but the walks to the Metro North are still fairly long. Do most people drive to the train station? It didn't seem like there was enough parking nearby to make that a great alternative...
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Old 03-21-2016, 10:14 AM
 
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There are nice areas near the Pelham train station that are actually in New Rochelle cheaper taxes and house prices.
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Old 03-21-2016, 12:27 PM
 
Location: on the Hudson
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I don't know what the taxes are like (presumably high, TBH), but the area of Hartsdale north of East Hartsdale Ave and east of Central Ave might be a good fit. It's a pretty prewar suburban neighborhood that's an easy walk to the train and downtown shopping/dining, although you'd still need a car for grocery shopping. Prices in Hartsdale are relatively low because its high school (or, to be more accurate, the high school which it shares with several other unincorporated areas of the Town of Greenburgh) isn't great, but downtown Hartsdale itself is a great area. From there, your stepdaughter could walk to Central Avenue, which is the retail strip for south-central Westchester -- it's a series of strip malls, so she might not be able to find a job within walking distance, but there are plenty of retail shops up and down Central that would be a few minutes' bus ride away.

It might be worth checking out New Rochelle. I don’t spend enough time there to give serious advice, but my limited impression is that the downtown has improved in recent years and might be a good value if schools aren’t a concern.

The difficulty with Yonkers is the topography -- the steepness of the slope (a literal 45 degree incline on some blocks) means that walk-to-train neighborhoods are limited to the block or two immediately east of the Metro-North tracks. The area around Greystone is safe and convenient to the train, but it’s pretty much all coops (and with no pedestrian shopping, so you’d still need a car.) I don’t know Ludlow or Glenwood very well, but my sense is that neither is that good. In Fleetwood, as you've already discovered, the problem is that you're paying unreasonably high taxes to sustain an otherwise dysfunctional city.

What is it that you dislike about White Plains? The big strikes against it from my perspective are the tedium of the walk from the train station and the fratboy vibe of the nightlife, but IMO it has a lot of positives (safety, diversity, walkability) that outweigh the negatives.

In the Bronx, Pelham Bay is definitely an option. It’s a nice area that (IMO) feels similar to western Queens. Same with Morris Park. The tradeoff with both of those neighborhoods is that the subway commute would be brutally long.

FWIW, I'm a Westchester native and am also contemplating a move out of Queens due to the cost of a SFH -- my want list is similar to yours in terms of walkability and public transit access, although in our case schools are also a factor.

Last edited by trebler; 03-21-2016 at 12:32 PM.. Reason: whoops -- meant EAST of Central Avenue and the MNR
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