A Seller’s Paradise, Buyer’s Battleground: Real Estate Market Update

In the fast-moving landscape of residential real estate, the year 2024 is proving to be nothing short of extraordinary. With rapid shifts in inventory, pricing dynamics, and buyer behavior, staying ahead in this market requires a keen understanding of its nuances.  

Global real estate advisor Fiona Dogan sheds light on current market conditions to help buyers, sellers, and renters understand the trends shaping the residential real estate scene. 

Q: What’s the current state of the market in 2024? Can you give us a snapshot? 
Fiona: It’s a seller’s market, without a doubt. Inventory is incredibly low, with homes flying off the shelves faster than ever before. As of today, we have only 21 homes available for sale in the Rye City area. And typically, at this time of year, the peak of the spring market, it’s more like 35 to 40 homes that are available. Bidding wars are the norm.  
Q: What does this mean for sellers? 
Fiona: It’s the best time in the last ten years to sell your house in Westchester. Sellers are in the driver’s seat. They have the upper hand in negotiations, with the power to dictate prices, closing dates, and terms. In this market, even homes in need of renovation are attracting multiple offers, as buyers compete for scarce inventory. Strong buyer demand and limited inventory mean you’re in a powerful position to negotiate the best possible price and terms. 
With buyers eager to snatch up anything available, elaborate renovations or whole house staging may not be necessary. However, well-maintained homes will still fetch a premium. 

What about interest rates? How are they having an impact?

Fiona: The current interest rates are definitely holding some people back from jumping into the market. Sellers, for example, may wait to trade their home and purchase a new one. However, sellers are emboldened because they’re getting such extraordinary prices — 20 – 25% over their asking price. Those prices are negating the soft interest rates.   

Q: How should sellers approach pricing their homes in such a competitive market? 

Fiona:  The key is to price strategically. While it may seem tempting to aim for the stars, overpricing can deter potential buyers. The list price is usually below where it will trade because you’re getting people in to assess the value. And once you price at the right value, potential buyers will look at it, then consider what the home is worth to them now and in the future. Pricing slightly at or slightly below market value can attract more interest and lead to bidding wars, ultimately driving up the final sale price. 

So what’s your advice to buyers when it comes to making offers?

Fiona: I ask my buyers, “what is the value to you to get this house? How much are you willing to pay so that you win this house?” It’s almost like a gladiatorial battle right now. Don’t get stuck on the price per square foot or what the neighbor traded for a year ago. It doesn’t matter. If you want to win a house in this market, you must pay what you are willing to pay, to make sure you secure it and nobody else gets it.  

Q: what other advice do you have for buyers to navigate this challenging market?

Fiona:  The competition is fierce. Buyers need to be prepared to act fast and decisively. many homes are under contract within two days. Forget weeks—think hours! Hesitation and lack of preparation can mean missing out on the perfect property. Be prepared to waive contingencies and present a strong financial profile. Any buyer who is dependent on a mortgage is really in third place after cash or waiving a mortgage contingency. However, there are some very good programs to get pre-qualified, so there are situations where people who are contingent on a mortgage can be very competitive. Working with a seasoned agent who understands the market dynamics is critical.  

Is selling off-market a good option in these dynamic times?

Fiona: Very few people in this market are buying direct off-market, neighbor-to-neighbor or for sale by owner. The market is performing so strongly for sellers that it’s not worth it to miss the open market—you’ll be leaving money on the table. Some of my clients struggling to find their dream home are considering less competitive towns or renting in the short term while waiting for the market to cool down. 

Q: Are there any areas of Westchester experiencing particularly intense competition?

Fiona: Absolutely. High-performing school districts like Rye and Scarsdale are at the forefront of the frenzy, with homes garnering multiple offers and selling well above asking price. Other popular areas like Harrison, Rye Brook and White Plains are also experiencing      unheard of competition because of the desire to live in attractive, friendly suburban communities.   
Q. Any parting thoughts?  

Fiona: While it’s difficult to predict the future, experts anticipate the market remaining competitive throughout 2024 and likely 2025. Inventory is unlikely to increase significantly, and buyer demand is expected to stay strong. By understanding market trends, pricing strategies, and the importance of preparation, individuals can make informed decisions and succeed in achieving their real estate goals in this dynamic environment. 

Ready to make your move? 

Whether you’re a seller looking to capitalize on the hot market or a buyer determined to find your forever home,or a renter looking to try before you buy, Fiona can help!  

Contact Fiona today to discuss your real estate goals. 

Fiona Dogan is a top-producing realtor with Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty in Rye, New York. 

Global real estate advisor Fiona Dogan sheds light on current market conditions to help buyers, sellers, and renters understand the trends shaping the residential real estate scene. 

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