Westchester homebuyers shrug off high taxes, chip away at supply

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Homebuyers have returned to Westchester County, N.Y., and for the first time in a year, their purchases are putting a dent in the inventory of properties for sale.

There were 2,945 single-family homes available at the end of the third quarter, down 1.1% from a year earlier, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. It was the first decline since the third quarter of 2018, and the largest since the beginning of that year.

Buyers have tread cautiously in the suburban New York county, which has the highest property taxes in the nation. The new $10,000 federal cap on write-offs for state and local levies had depressed purchases in the area, where the average property-tax bill is nearly double that. Now, those concerns about carrying costs are blunted by low mortgage rates and a greater willingness among sellers to lower their asking prices.

Single-family home purchases rose for a third consecutive quarter, after six straight periods of declines, Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman said.

"Where we've seen real reductions in the prices — that's where we've seen the greatest number of sales," said Debbie Doern, regional vice president at brokerage Houlihan Lawrence, which released its own report on the Westchester market this month.

Inventory fell in almost every price category, with the largest decline (18%) for homes priced at $3 million to $3.99 million, Houlihan Lawrence said. Sales contracts, a glimpse into how the market will fare at the end of this year, rose 5.4% to 1,095.

Bloomberg News
Purchase Housing inventory Housing market Property taxes New York