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Old 08-28-2008, 07:57 AM
 
Location: Spring Valley, NY
9 posts, read 15,546 times
Reputation: 11

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[quote=Marie1249;4960096]Since January I've been looking at houses all over central Westchester in the 500-560K range and it seems that with few exceptions, every house has some kind of major flaw, e.g., great house, run-down neighborhood; beautiful neighborhood, house needs many major repairs/updates; awkward layout; extremely low ceilings; horrible school district; exorbitant (even for Westchester) taxes for the size of the house & lot/school district; etc.

Although this is supposed to be a buyer's market, it doesn't seem that way to me in Westchester. Sellers don't want to lower their prices, even for the worst houses. Most of the inventory I've seen is terrible. I have seen three houses since January that were worthy of consideration, but there were either bidding wars on them or the sellers refused a reasonable lower offer. It seems like there are no decent houses on the market.
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I have my town house for sale for more than a year and have been looking for a new house at the same time. Yes, it is the buyers market, but the offers I have been receiving leaves me no choice but to turn them down. I can't afford to move on what they are offering.

At the other end, I've been looking at houses in Orange County NY and find the same problem. Every house I've looked at needed some major repair or drastic face lift, or a nice house, but not a great area. Naturally, I'm not looking in the same price range as you, but the way it sounds, one isn't going to get much no matter what they are willing to pay.

What I think the market will be like in a year? The prices may go up, but I doubt the condition of a home that's being sold will change because of jobs being lost and bills piling up. It will take a long time to turn our Nation around. Well, at least the real estate agents are hopeful.

Good luck.
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Old 08-30-2008, 08:39 AM
 
1,594 posts, read 3,152,557 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marie1249 View Post
I was basing my expectations for lower prices on what real estate agents and the news media have been reporting about the softening market in WC. But it looks like that's only true for fixer uppers. Move-in condition houses seem like they haven't really budged in price.

My husband works in upper Manhattan, so we're hoping to find a place that will have a commute time of no more than one hour, door to door. I'm going to look into Yorktown and Croton to see if those are viable options.

We looked in Tuckahoe also, to no avail.

Thanks for your replies.
Truly move in condition in that size range will be in the 700s or in an area where the school district doesn't attract people. No one in one of those houses is going to sell at the bottom of the market absent divorce, job loss, or sickness. You might be able to find stuff in the sizes that you are looking for (maybe a bit smaller) that will maybe need some updating (replacing formica countertops with granite, acrylic shower with ceramic tile, Maytag appliances with Sub-Zero etc.) in the 600s. Those houses, however, are gone in a day.

The best bet is to look for a house that's a little bit smaller in a good neighborhood that needs some minor updates. You could probably find stuff in that price range. Remember the three Ls of real estate:
1. Location.
2. Location.
3. Location.
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Old 09-03-2008, 02:51 PM
 
Location: New York
26 posts, read 111,869 times
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We are in the same boat and yes we are frustrated. I actually do not think that it is yet a buyers market. No one wants to drop their prices yet. I am considering waiting until the spring to see where things stand.
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Old 09-03-2008, 10:12 PM
 
2,406 posts, read 5,631,312 times
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The reason prices remain relatively high is because inventory is pretty tight. Because it is difficult to sell now, the only owners who are really willing to negotiate are those who have to move. But most sellers do not have to move, so they will not budge on their prices, or won't bother to put their houses on the market.

It would take a major local recession like the one that hit us in 1990 for prices to go down signficantly. So far, that has not happened, despite all the bad economic news.
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Old 09-06-2008, 04:46 PM
 
4 posts, read 13,893 times
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Hartsdale is a great place to live. One of the very few towns in central to lower Westchester where you can buy a NICE home (not a fixer) with 4 bedrooms and 2 baths under $700K with a great size yard. There is a small village with a weekend, farmers market & great restaurants, 30 minutes to NYC, the best town pool around, great parks, a brand new library, any every kind of shopping imaginable. That said - if all that appeals to you and you don't want to move up north or pay $780K and crazy taxes for a fixer upper in a better district...you can do what I did. I sent my oldest to the public school until high school, then onto Good Counsel Academy a gorgeous, wonderful private school for high school (and there were other terrific private schools to choose from). She loved it, it DID NOT break the bank by any means, and she's off to a fantastic college this year. My youngest, still in the Greenburgh public schools will do the same when he gets to HS. Best of luck to anyone looking in the area - I recommend NOT dismissing the area because of the schools - it's a terrific place, the pool is like a country club for the kids during the summer and you can get a wonderful home.
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Old 09-07-2008, 05:19 PM
 
100 posts, read 379,625 times
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Hi Marie,

Add another couple to the list of frustrated would-be homebuyers. My wife and I are both in our mid-30s with pretty good incomes - and the pricing around here can be pretty scary when $10k+ taxes are taken into account.

We're first-time homebuyers, so we're not benefitting from any profits from a prior sale, but we're also saving pretty well as renters. We've got pets and want to start a family, so we're looking for something with a little land. I also commute to NYC, so access to some express trains is helpful.

We're in Rockland now, and unlike Long Island or some other areas with large amounts of inventory - many of the river towns just don't have enough houses that fit these needs.

Pushing into the $650-700k+ range starts to turn up some opportunities, but that's a rough monthly payment for most people...I've probably said "I've got no idea how people do it" two-dozen times...

I've looked in NJ (mostly boring suburbs, and neighborhoods that go from good to bad very quick). Rockland has a pretty rough commute.
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Old 09-08-2008, 10:58 AM
 
3,735 posts, read 4,217,644 times
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Scott99999,
I guess most people make it by struggling for (many) years until they get pay raises that make the proportion of expenses-to-income less onerous.

It's so ironic that couples seeking a better quality of life for their families can wind up with a lesser quality of life due to the burdensome price tag.
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Old 09-08-2008, 11:42 AM
 
100 posts, read 379,625 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Marie1249 View Post
Scott99999,
I guess most people make it by struggling for (many) years until they get pay raises that make the proportion of expenses-to-income less onerous.

It's so ironic that couples seeking a better quality of life for their families can wind up with a lesser quality of life due to the burdensome price tag.
Well, as many of the earlier posters have stated, the market definitely gets rolling around $600k+. If you did something that's $100k down, you'd still be looking at a $500k mortgage and let's say $10k in taxes. I looked at a $600k place yesterday online in Hartsdale and the taxes were listed at $17k/year.

Crunching some numbers, assuming very little other debt, it's still hovers around $3500-$4500 monthly payments (the lower number assumes the tax savings at the end of the year of deducting your property tax interest).

I'm not attempting exact math - but that would be most of one income at $100k, so you definitely need two professional incomes, assuming that you add in childcare expenses, groceries, utilities, etc... What happens if one spouse loses a job or works from home to take care of the kids?

It's not really surprising that we're seeing so many foreclosures and a slowdown. Unless you've made some serious money through bonuses, a prior sale, family gift, inheritance, etc..., I think it's an uphill battle. Do-able, but people must really stretch thin. I think we're coming to a time that you're either a VP, or in finance/law/medicine, etc..., or you bought years ago.

I really don't mean this as a rant -- my wife and I have been carefully saving -- but it's a tough market around here for first-time homebuyers. It's been a very big challenge from a practical perspective.

As a society, we definitely went through a gold-rush mentality in the past 10 years and the statistics show that home prices have well outpaced incomes. Unfortunately, I think it's all at the expense of the current generation of home-buyers, who are taking on higher proportionate debt burdens.

Obviously, a big part of the current housing crisis is the fact that many people profited from pushing houses and loans that buyers couldn't afford (which doesn't absolve the buyers - who are also responsible).
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Old 09-08-2008, 01:16 PM
 
Location: Washington, DC & New York
10,919 posts, read 28,711,032 times
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One thing to remember is that historically Westchester has had higher prices that neighboring counties. Similar houses in Rockland and Westchester, for example, both with good schools, say Pearl River and Yorktown for comparison's sake, will tend to be at least $100-$150k more expensive in Westchester. So, a raised ranch that you can get in the mid $400s in Pearl River would tend to run from the mid $500s in Yorktown, easily, and would be even more expensive the closer you are to a train line and NYC. You can pay into the mid $800s for the same house in parts of Purchase, so the fundamental of location tends to keep keep prices higher.

What is a little shocking, however, is that houses at more affordable price points seem to be in deplorable condition or in school districts that are historically not top performers. Many people will buy the house in bad condition, however, to be in a good school district, so many owners have no incentive to negotiate too much on those houses.

I can easily understand the frustration, but keep searching, and perhaps expand the parameters a little in commute or smaller house size or one that needs some minor renovation and you can begin to find more houses from which to choose. And, high taxes are a fact of most of Westchester, so it's best to pay them where you get the most benefit, i.e., schools and town services.
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Old 09-09-2008, 02:59 PM
 
3,735 posts, read 4,217,644 times
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How do you think the falling 30 yr fixed mortgage rates are going to affect inventory?
I couldn't believe some today's rates were 5.75-5.88%. Some are as low as 5.5%, with one point.

Since predictions are that rates will continue to fall, do you think housing prices may start to go up again soon?

Last edited by Pivot Point; 09-09-2008 at 04:35 PM..
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