"When the city gets too expensive, the suburbs tend to benefit," says Jonathan Miller, Miller Samuel data guru — and author of the Douglas Elliman's Second Quarter Westchester and Putnam County Douglas Elliman report. In fact, the number of transactions this past quarter jumped 5.5 percent from 2014.
During the second quarter of 2015, the median sales price of single-family homes in Westchester rose by a hair (just .1 percent) to $650,000 year-to-year (Miller considers that flat). Inventory was down 2 percent. "The market is moving, but we're not seeing rapid growth the way we are in the city," he says. But there is growth in the higher-end homes in Westchester, he says. The median sales price for luxury homes in Westchester is up 1.5 percent to $2.198 million, year-to-year.
Still, the median price of a Westchester County property is still $463,000 — much less than Manhattan's and even Brooklyn. When it comes to properties in southern Westchester, which offer easy commutes to the city, buyers may face some of the same challenges they do in the city, though. "People often tell us they're stressed about the buying process in New York City process and they don't want to get into bidding wars with all-cash buyers, but those are happening in the suburbs, too," says Alison Bernstein, founder of Suburban Jungle, a company that advises New Yorkers on which suburbs to move to.
"In southern Westchester you also need to realize that you're not going to get a ton of space for your money. As you push further north into Westchester and Putnam, you'll see better prices," she advises, but lower resale value. (The median sales price in Putnam is $295,000, according to Douglas Elliman report).
One group of New Yorkers Bernstein says she's seeing come more and more to the 'burbs: Brooklynites. "As prices fly there, more people are starting to look at their options outside the city altogether."
Below, three Westchester homes you can snag for just around the area median:
This 2,400-square-foot Tudor house in Mount Vernon has three bedrooms and one-and-a-half baths. Asking price: $629,000.
A nearly 3,000-square-foot three-bedroom, three-bath brick ranch is available in Pleasantville. Asking price: $700,000.
This 1,649-square-foot split-level White Plains house has three bedrooms and two baths. Asking price: $599,000.