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Westchester Housing Market 'Starved For Inventory' Means 'Intense Competition' To Buy Single-Family Homes

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- The market for single-family homes in the nearby northern suburbs is "blistering," according to one real estate expert.

Low inventory plus high demand equals a difficult time for homebuyers, unless they have very deep pockets, CBS2's Tony Aiello reported Friday.

"For Sale" signs are few and far between in Westchester County. Just about 700 single-family homes were listed in the 4th quarter of 2021. That's down 45% from 2020.

Expert Jonathan Miller crunched some numbers for Douglas Elliman Real Estate.

"What I see is the fastest moving housing market in about four decades. Intense competition for properties. One in three properties are selling above the last asking price, which is a proxy for bidding wars," Miller said.

A home in Mamaroneck was listed for $879,000 a few days ago. It's already in contract, above asking price, after an open house attracted 100 potential buyers.

"What we have is a market that's starved for inventory," said Joe Houlihan, a broker with Houlihan & O'Malley Real Estate.

Houlihan said there are many reasons why; work from home means less pressure to relocate for a new job, while a hot market in Florida and other Sun Belt states means empty nesters may be staying put.

"'There's no place for me to go.' I remember hearing that quite a bit," said Houlihan, who warns buyers must adjust expectations and move fast. Don't even look until all approvals are in place and a down payment is in hand, he said.

Brokers are also telling buyers not to get hung up on price history, even if it's hard to accept that house listed for $1 million today sold for $700,000 just a few years ago.

"They need to remove themselves from that history, and the fact that that person got a good deal, it's not their good deal. So if they want a house, they're gonna have to get to the finish line," Houlihan said.

While spring always brings more inventory, it also brings more buyers. It'll be a seller's marker for some time.

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