Home Sales In Westchester Plunge As Wealthy Buyers "Spend More Time With Their Accountants"

It appears the drop in home sales that has afflicted Manhattan and wealthy tri-state-area enclaves like Greenwich, Conn. is spreading to Westchester County, the suburban enclave directly north of the Bronx According to Bloomberg, sales fell 18% in the second quarter compared with a year earlier, marking the fourth straight quarter of declining sales.

Purchases in the northern suburban county -- which shoulders the biggest property-tax burden in the U.S. -- plunged 18 percent in the second quarter from a year earlier, the most since 2011, according to a report Thursday by appraiser Miller Samuel Inc. and brokerage Douglas Elliman Real Estate. It was the fourth consecutive quarter of sales declines.

"We’re seeing buyers take a second to understand the math," Scott Elwell, Douglas Elliman’s regional manager in charge of Westchester and Connecticut, said in an interview. "They’re spending more time with their accountants and really understanding how this plays out."

The reason, according to Bloomberg, is that home buyers have been deterred by the county's high property taxes. Federal rules approved in December set a $10,000 limit on deductions for state and local taxes, which is nearly half the $17,179 average tax paid by Westchester residents in property taxes last year. 


The tax wasn't passed until December, but details about the proposed cap on the SALT deduction surfaced months earlier. Also, the fact that home prices in the area have been rising much more quickly than incomes could have something to do with it. But even in towns like Scarsdale that are traditionally havens for Wall Streeters and other members of the monied elite saw a significant drop in sales. And according to preliminary data

Even before the tax changes, years of rising values were already making Westchester less affordable, said Jonathan Miller, president of Miller Samuel. The median price of homes that sold in the three months through June climbed 5 percent from a year earlier to $525,000, according to the report. Prices have increased in all but three quarters since the beginning of 2013.

The drop in transactions is likely to continue. On June 30, there were 8.8 percent fewer Westchester homes in contract than there were on the same day last year, brokerage Houlihan Lawrence said in its own report. The biggest decline was for homes priced from $1.5 million to $1.99 million. Pending deals in that range fell 17 percent to 94.

In Scarsdale, home to many Wall Street executives, completed sales in the first half of the year were down 20 percent to 88 transactions, Houlihan Lawrence said. The median price there dropped 5 percent to $1.57 million. In nearby Mamaroneck, closings rose 25 percent to 127. The median price of those deals dropped 13 percent to $1.19 million.

While the reasons why cashed strapped millennials aren't buying are obvious (they don't have any money), maybe wealthy people who have an understanding of how markets work aren't buying because they think that they might be able to get a better deal if they wait a year or two. And they might be right, especially if Republicans retain control of Congress in November, which would greatly reduce the likelihood that the Trump tax cuts will be repealed.


LaugherNYC Lost in translation Sat, 07/14/2018 - 07:01 Permalink

Westchester home prices are driven by ONE thing...the FUCKINGTEACHERS  UNIONS. Yes, some of them are actually fucking teachers in that they have sex with their students, but far more fuck their students’ parenyts with their INSANE pay and benefit packages

All the towns around here compare their performance to each other, as some kind of “peer-to-peer” metric. The problem is the scale is so skewed as to be meaningless. Compare Westchester schools to ANY other districts in the State of the nation, and you will see medicocre to DISMAL results. Biut you will see AWESOME< UNREAL compensation packages. Salaries in the top 5%. Benefits in the top 2%. Performance? Bottom quarter. Teachers MUST join the union to get licensed. Union dues go to benefit senior teachers first. They get 15%-20% do scheduled days as sick days. Full pay. They also get bereavement leave. Childbearing and childcare leave, another couple weeks. Trainings and continuing ed, two to four more days. When you ass up all of the days that a senior teacher DOES NOT HAVE TO COME TO WORK, it’s easily 20% of their already light workload. So, you are starting with a 3-1/2 to 4 day workweek, and four full months of vacation during regular school vacations. There is no restriction what you can do with this time. You can do another union job.  Every day counts to your retirement calculation.’

And, lest you think that teachers just get handed tenure, and don’t have to EARN it, they get it AUTOMATICALLY after 3 years on the job, so long as there are no convictions for misbehavior, and cases take an average of two years to be heard, with less than 1% resulting in a finding of termination. 

SO, YOU get in, and as long as you mostly show up, you never get disciplined or kicked out. You get your pay, your tenure, your benefits, your job protection for life. You are a union acolyte forever, your pockets filled with public money. Your pension starts at 17 years of service,m with all kinds of sweeteners, Your health care for you and your family is for LIFE.

I told my lazy ass son to get this job. He may change careers now That he realizes how hard it’s is in the real world, unlike the fixed brogues corrupt world of public unions. Go for it, jimmy boy. FUCK these parasites,

In reply to by Lost in translation

Endgame Napoleon Lost in translation Sat, 07/14/2018 - 07:35 Permalink

Wealthy Northeasterners advocate for hordes of legal / illegal immigration, saying they are motivated by altruism and their hatred of racism. They are more likely motivated by the their love of cheap, welfare-boosted labor that does not need higher wages due to instant-citizen US-born kids that qualify their wage-undercutting parents in single-breadwinner households, strategically, in traceable income, staying under the income limits for welfare programs that cover their rent & groceries and other major bills, plus monthly cash assistance and refundable child tax credits up to $6,431. Their kids also have to be educated, and that is done through property taxes. Although posh progressive enclaves have mostly upscale residents who avoid living in close proximity to poor people, some of the servants live close to their employers, resulting in higher taxes to fund more schools.

In reply to by Lost in translation

BeanusCountus Fri, 07/13/2018 - 23:08 Permalink

Not sure what homes in these price ranges look like.  How big?  Condition?  But.. the SALT cap will certainly increase the cost of ownership of real estate for higher prop tax/state income tax locations.  At the end of the day, the drop in fed tax rates will make up for it if you have big taxable income.  Bottom line right now looks as if Trump’s tax plan is a cut for highest income and the lowest income.  Middle of the road folks, it just depends on your circumstances.  IMHO

Edit: a down vote for my observation of the 100’s of tax returns I prepare?  Curious: why?  Do you see something else in your practice?

Singelguy Rik Haines Sat, 07/14/2018 - 05:51 Permalink

Don’t forget that the cap of $10k also includes state and local income taxes. It is not just about property taxes.

On the other hand, why would you want to buy a house now. Prices are higher than in 2007 and interest rates are rising, never mind the changes in the tax laws. These factors are not good for the housing market. You are supposed to buy low and sell high.

In reply to by Rik Haines

DipshitMiddleC… Fri, 07/13/2018 - 23:58 Permalink

i grew up in a town in NJ that is similar to west chester, NY (alot of towns in CNJ and NNJ are west chester clones)


i was cruising around the other day and drove through some of the developments where childhood friends used to live. lots of abandoned/foreclosed houses with overgrown lawns.


alot of these people are drowning in credit card debt and are levered to the sky.



keep in mind these are homes that are 3000 sq. ft+


the types of people who used to buy these homes are quietly being culled from corporate america and whatever professional service firms they worked for. it makes no sense to keep a paper pusher on the books who makes 150k a year unless they're bringing in big sales numbers. a friend of a friends girllfriends dad was an executive @ some midsize pharma company making 200k a year or so and was let go not too long ago.


i guess whoever is left managed to squirrel away enough money or owns a successful business.


another economic shoah is around the corner. alot of people are going to be hurting



Drop-Hammer Sat, 07/14/2018 - 00:11 Permalink

We are talking about mostly jews.  I don't give a rat's ass about kikes having to pay more in taxes.

Regards Westchester County, it is the first place that Obamohammed's Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing (another nigger hand-out and stick in whitey's eye) was first proposed and enacted.  Supposedly, the local city/county officials and boards fought it tooth and nail, but I believe they lost, and now, they have skeezy welfare niggers living in ritzy Westchester County where Bill and Hillary also have a home (Hillary will have that hot sauce to lend out when the spooks come a knockin' on her door).

dunce Sat, 07/14/2018 - 00:24 Permalink

Red state taxpayers are not subsidizing blue state spending anymore. Of course this could be adjusted for by reducing blue state spending but that is heresy and blasphemy.

overmedicatedu… Sat, 07/14/2018 - 07:06 Permalink

friend just sold his home (upper class neighborhood)..hurrah..only took a mild haircut..bought 460,000...in 2007 

sold for 340,000..can't lose owning a home...america's best investments they say..LOL

after 60,000 spent on new roof and such as well..do not talk about interest on his loan ..no one thinks bank interest is a cost center when owning private real estate..banks have banned such talk.

William Dorritt Sat, 07/14/2018 - 09:08 Permalink

"Hillary Clinton won all but two towns in Westchester County, the county she has called home since her husband Bill Clinton left the White House, just-released official election results for the county show.

Republican Donald J. Trump, on his way to victory nationally on Election Night, Nov. 8, beat Democrat Clinton in the northern Westchester towns of Somers and Yorktown. In Somers, one of only five towns or cities where Republicans outnumber Democrats, Trump won 50.5 percent to 45.5 percent. He slid by with 48 percent of the vote in Yorktown, a less than 100-vote victory over Clinton."


William Dorritt Sat, 07/14/2018 - 09:20 Permalink

Election Results by County NY




Hillary ClintonTimothy KaineDemocratic-------272,926--64.88%

Donald J. TrumpMichael R. PenceRepublican----131,238--31.20%

Gary JohnsonWilliam F. WeldLibertarian-----------8,04--21.91%

Dr. Jill SteinAjamu BarakaGreen------------------4,358---1.04%


William Dorritt Sat, 07/14/2018 - 09:45 Permalink


Population estimates, July 1, 2017, (V2017)-----------980,244

Population estimates base, April 1, 2010, (V2017)------949,201

Population, percent change - April 1, 2010 (estimates base) to July 1, 2017, (V2017)----------------------------------------3.3%

Population, Census, April 1, 2010----------------------949,113

Age and Sex

  • Persons under 5 years, percent -----5.6%
  • Persons under 18 years, percent ---22.2%
  • Persons 65 years and over, percent 16.6%
  • Female persons, percent ------------51.5%

Race and Hispanic Origin

  • White alone, percent(a) --------------------------73.5%
  • Black or African American alone, percent(a)------- 16.5%
  • American Indian and Alaska Native alone, percent(a) 1.0%
  • Asian alone, percent(a)-------------------------- 6.5%
  • Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone, percent(a) --------------------------------------------------0.1%
  • Two or More Races, percent -----------------------2.4%
  • Hispanic or Latino, percent(b) --------------------24.9%
  • White alone, not Hispanic or Latino, percent------- 53.4%


Population Characteristics

  • Veterans, 2012-2016-------------------------32,186
  • Foreign born persons, percent, 2012-2016-------25.5%


  • Housing units, July 1, 2017, (V2017)-------------374,901
  • Owner-occupied housing unit rate, 2012-2016------61.4%
  • Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2012-2016-----------------------------------$507,300
  • Median selected monthly owner costs -with a mortgage, 2012-2016---------------------------------------$3,294
  • Median selected monthly owner costs -without a mortgage, 2012-2016---------------------------------------$1,372
  • Median gross rent, 2012-2016-------------------$1,394
  • Building permits, 2017---------------------------1,167

Families & Living Arrangements

  • Households, 2012-2016---------------------------341,762
  • Persons per household, 2012-2016-------------------2.76
  • Living in same house 1 year ago, percent of persons age 1 year+, 2012-2016---------------------------------------89.7%
  • Language other than English spoken at home, percent of persons age 5 years+, 2012-2016------------------33.2%


  • High school graduate or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2012-2016---------------------------------87.6%
  • Bachelor's degree or higher, percent of persons age 25 years+, 2012-2016------------------------------------------47.3%


  • With a disability, under age 65 years, 2012-2016-----5.3%
  • Persons without health insurance, under age 65 years-7.7%


  • In civilian labor force, total, percent of population age 16 years+, 2012-2016-------------------------65.4%
  • In civilian labor force, female, percent of population age 16 years+, 2012-2016-------------------------59.5%
  • Total accommodation and food services sales, 2012 ($1,000)(c)------------------------------------2,020,014
  • Total health care and social assistance receipts/revenue, 2012 ($1,000)(c)------------------------------9,638,221
  • Total manufacturers shipments, 2012 ($1,000)(c)--4,492,932
  • Total merchant wholesaler sales, 2012 ($1,000)(c)-20,313,949
  • Total retail sales, 2012 ($1,000)(c)-------14,514,240
  • Total retail sales per capita, 2012(c)---------$15,093


  • Mean travel time to work (minutes), workers age 16 years+, 2012-2016---------------------------------------33.6

Income & Poverty

  • Median household income (in 2016 dollars), 2012-2016---------------------------------------$86,226
  • Per capita income in past 12 months (in 2016 dollars), 2012-2016---------------------------------------$49,938
  • Persons in poverty, percent ------------------------10.0%



Total employer establishments, 201631,941

  • Total employment, 2016--------------------------389,632
  • Total annual payroll, 2016 ($1,000)-------------25,047,025
  • Total employment, percent change, 2015-2016----2.4%
  • Total nonemployer establishments, 2016---------97,354
  • All firms, 2012-------------------------------------114,575
  • Men-owned firms, 2012---------------------------64,997
  • Women-owned firms, 2012------------------------39,870
  • Minority-owned firms, 2012------------------------33,391
  • Nonminority-owned firms, 2012-------------------77,686
  • Veteran-owned firms, 2012-------------------------8,037
  • Nonveteran-owned firms, 2012------------------102,812



  • Population per square mile, 2010--------------2,204.7
  • Land area in square miles, 2010-----------------430.50
  • FIPS Code  36119


Fact Notes

  • (a)Includes persons reporting only one race
  • (b)Hispanics may be of any race, so also are included in applicable race categories
  • (c)Economic Census - Puerto Rico data are not comparable to U.S. Economic Census data



William Dorritt Sat, 07/14/2018 - 10:23 Permalink


Westchester is still 2x historic values, a long way to go down as interest rates and local taxes increase and incomes flat-line since the first bullet hit Kennedy.

Ratio of Median House to Median Income = 507/86 = 5.89 to 1

Historic Ratio of all US housing is 3-1


Median household income (in 2016 dollars), 2012-2016---------------------------------------$86,226


Median value of owner-occupied housing units, 2012-2016---------------------------------------$507,300


Median selected monthly owner costs -without a mortgage, 2012-2016-----------------------------------------$1,372

taxes ?   $16,464 ???