The bad news? House prices are still in decline.
The good news is, despite a stagnant real estate market, people continue to move to Briarcliff Manor.
And for good reason.
Those who chose to set up house in the village years ago might very well have been enticed by the pastoral feel, access to Manhattan or the vibrant school systems. Currently, families are still coming, but possibly at a slower rate.
In fact, Superintendent Neal Miller of approximately 150 students over the next five years.
Recent single family homes in the Briarcliff Manor zip code, for the period Sept. 1, 2011 through Feb. 1, 2012, have not been stellar. Forty-two sales closed, commanding an average sale price of $892,000, compared with the same period a year earlier when 40 sales closed with a lower average sales price of $793,000.
Although the numbers seem to indicate a higher average sales price, that might not be enough to get too excited yet.
“Just because the average price went up doesn’t mean prices are going up,” explained Mark Seiden of the .
“For example, during the past six months there was one home sale for $6.4 million, which skews the average, continued Seiden, referring to the Brooke Astor estate that sold for $6.4 million, after initially coming in the market at more than $10 million.
A more precise comparison would include removing sales price outliers, such as the $6.4 million sale, Seiden explained.
To give a more accurate picture of house price trends, Seiden tallied results from June through November 2011 and conducted a comparison. The most recent average house price was $773,000, compared to the same period a year earlier which was $830,000, quite a bit lower.
Unfortunately, the outlook for spring doesn’t seem particularly rosy either.
Describing an anticipated continued price decline, Seiden used what he called “pure high school economics.”
“The reason prices are still going down is based on pure high school economics. If [in a given period] there are only 42 home sales and 53 houses on the market, without anyone else putting a home on the market, there is already a year’s worth of inventory on the market.”*
Seiden anticipates even more people adding to the inventory this spring.
“There has to be more buyers, and they aren’t there right now, Seiden added. “But as long as it’s a long term investment, it’s a great time to buy, especially since interest rates are stupidly low.”
For those that opt for Briarcliff Manor over nearby communities, there are many reasons, but a few rise to the top. Perhaps, not so surprisingly, the commute to Manhattan is a big draw.
“We like the commute from the Scarborough train station and the schools. Although our kids go to private school, we wanted the option of a good public school,” commented Anna Bridger, of Peach Tree Lane, who recently moved from nearby Sleepy Hollow.
After looking in Westchester river communities, as well as Pleasantville, Scarsdale and Tarrytown, Bridger and her family decided on Briarcliff Manor and moved in last August.
“We’re pretty happy with the location, but we’re not all that happy with the taxes,” she said.
Other residents arrive due to, well, family history. Genevieve Caltagirone, of Holbrook Lane—whose husband grew up in Briarcliff Manor—also cited transportation as a decision factor.
“The train line…it’s an easy commute,” offered Caltagirone.
While Caltagirone didn’t cite education as a major factor, her family plans on staying long enough to take advantage of the schools.
When asked if the she and her husband looked at neighboring communities Catlagirone quipped, “Yes, but he was just humoring me!”
Brian Carcaterra, of River Road, grew up in Yorktown—where his parents continue to reside—was also familiar with the area after moving in last fall.
After a nine-and-a-half-year stint on the Upper West Side and repeated visits to , Carcaterra became reacquainted with the area, and said that’s what drew him here.
“The area, it all came back to me, how beautiful it is,” he said.
Carcaterra was focused on accessibility to Manhattan and a central location to access all that Westchester had to offer.
“Train accessibility is second to none—we live within walking distance to the [Scarborough] station,” he said. “We live in a 1929 new Orleans colonial with views of the river.”
Not to mention a well-known neighbor in Author James Patterson.
Despite mentioning, "He lives about three houses down from me," Carcaterra said, "I have yet to see him.”
Overall, “We’re over the moon,” he shared.
“We’ve gone from an urban environment to a suburban country feel and we enjoy Stone Barns, Sleepy Hollow and walking around the beautiful neighborhoods," Carcaterra said.
And the taxes?
“I try not to over think it, but we are still really blessed to live here.”
*Note: This sentence has been corrected to reflect Seiden's intended statement. We regret the error.