In a recent chat with some executives from Westchester brokerage behemoth Houlihan Lawrence, BrickUnderground steered the conversation toward the sort of anthropological trivia we love to collect. Specifically, we asked how buyers from NYC behave differently than their already suburbanized counterparts.
For one thing, we learned, future suburbanites are unusually focused on square footage—a semi-recent phenomenon that has apparently required some adjusting on the part of brokers used to extolling swimming pools, double-height atriums and new boilers over price per square foot. (For the record, according to Houlihan Lawrence COO Christopher Meyers, the average price per square foot in Westchester is $350, about a third of New York—meaning you can trade your 1,000 square foot apartment for a 3,000 square foot home with a backyard. NOT that we're recommending that or anything.)
It also turns out that urban refugees, who made up 30% of the Westchester market last year, are the perfect demographic for that corner, lot-line Colonial across from the railroad.
“New York City buyers are definitely less sensitive to things like street noise, whereas suburban buyers are looking for more land and more quiet,” says Meyers. “They are also very focused on schools, access to mass transportation, and being near the villages where you can go get a bite to eat without having to hop into a car.”
Immediate availability of parking near the train station is another key metric for NYC buyers. In the popular commuter towns of Scarsdale and Larchmont, for instance, wait time is around “one year depending on your price sensitivity,” says Meyers, referring to private parking facilities that cost a little more. (Tip: If you are Westchester bound, the North White Plains train station is "one of the hidden commuter gems," says Meyers.)