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Low Inventory Levels Lead to Drop in Home Sales

Opportunities and challenges marked the fourth quarter real estate landscape in Westchester, Putnam and Dutchess counties, according to the Houlihan Lawrence Westchester-Putnam-Dutchess Q4 Market Report released recently.

Notably, the 2023 market saw a continued decline in home sales by approximately 21 percent on average, primarily due to persistent low inventory levels over the past few years. The report shows that despite the sales decline, median sale prices increased across most markets, on average 9 percent, offering sellers favorable returns.

In Putnam County, single-family home sales for 2023 were down 25 percent compared to 2022, and median sale prices were down 1 percent. Dutchess County sales declined 21.2 percent, with median sale prices up 3.4 percent; and Westchester County sales were down 23.7 percent, while median sale prices were up 4.3 percent.

“Amidst the inventory scarcity, we continue to benefit from the diverse offerings of recreation, cultural amenities and vibrant communities our region has to offer,” said Liz Nunan, president and CEO of Houlihan Lawrence. “Most areas have sustained heightened demand across all price points, further fueling the competitive buyer environment. However, a small sign of change has emerged with a slight uptick in inventory observed in select luxury markets, although this remains an exception rather than the norm.”

Looking ahead, the report notes that recent statements from the Federal Reserve indicating a potential reduction in interest rates in mid-2024 may serve as a catalyst, prompting more buyers and sellers to enter the market and start to alleviate the inventory shortage.

Putnam County saw 25 percent less homes sold in 2023 versus 2022, with the median sale price down 1 percent.

Westchester County saw 23.7 percent more homes sold in 2023 versus 2022, with the median sale price up 4.3 percent. In northern Westchester, 22 percent more homes were sold in the Bedford, Byram Hills, Chappaqua, Katonah-Lewisboro, North Salem and Somers areas, with the median sale price up 1 percent.  

In the Croton-on-Hudson, Hendrick Hudson, Lakeland, Peekskill and Yorktown areas, home sales decreased 28 percent, while the media sale price went up 6 percent.

Dutchess County saw 21.2 percent fewer homes sold in 2023 versus 2022, with the median sale price up 3.4 percent. In southwest Dutchess, 21 percent fewer homes were sold in the Beacon, East Fishkill, Fishkill, La Grange, Poughkeepsie, City of Poughkeepsie and Wappinger areas, with the median sale price up 4 percent. In the Beekman, Dover, Pawling and Union Vale areas, 38 percent fewer homes were sold, with the media sale price up 12 percent.

Luxury Market {subhead}

Faced with a lack of inventory exacerbated by high interest rates, nearly all luxury markets north of New York City experienced double-digit declines in closed sales in 2023 – many for the second consecutive year, according to the Houlihan Lawrence 2023 Luxury Marker Report released recently. However, the report noted that interest rate cuts projected in mid-2024 will prompt more sellers to enter the market and help alleviate the inventory shortage.

According to the report, the number of sales greater than $10 million in Westchester County, and Greenwich, Conn., were close to all-time highs in 2023. Uber-luxury buyers and sellers had the wind at their back. Buyers at this level possessing multiple real estate holdings flexed their spending power as they pursued a well-diversified investment portfolio.

For buyers, lack of inventory created competition. Luxury homes (on average) sold for close to 100 percent of list price. Although days on market ticked up slightly in 2023, listings sitting on the market more than 100 days are often overlooked by buyers due to price and/or presentation.

Conversely, a change in price or staging often transformed a languishing listing into a desirable offering.

The report noted several trends in the luxury market.

“There has been a growing interest in sustainability for luxury real estate buyers,” said Anthony Cutugno Sr., vice president of private brokerage. “Energy-efficient homes that monitor energy usage and reduce carbon footprint is one path to sustainability. Preservation is another trend of younger, eco-conscious luxury buyers purchasing period homes with the belief that the greenest home is one that is already built. Homes built before 1940 tend to be inherently environmentally sustainable, and although updates are often needed, keeping an existing structure intact is the ultimate recycling project for this group of buyers.”

Cutugno said all eyes are on this year’s presidential election and the impact it will have on the economy and the global landscape. “We are hopeful the expectation of lower interest rates in the second half will help improve the trajectory of luxury real estate north of NYC,” he said.

In Putnam and Dutchess County, the number of luxury homes sold ($1 million and greater) was down 39.1 percent and the median sale price was down 3.9 percent in 2023 versus 2022. In Putnam, the highest sale price was $1.75 million, in the Haldane Central School District; in Dutchess, it was $2.7 million, in Washington.

In Westchester County, luxury home sales ($2 million and greater) were down 26.7 percent and the median sale price was up 0.9 percent. The highest sale price was $10 million, in Bedford.

Houlihan Lawrence is a real estate brokerage serving NYC’s northern suburbs. Founded in Bronxville in 1888, it has 32 offices and 1,450-plus agents serving Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Columbia, Ulster and Orange counties in New York; and Fairfield County in Connecticut. For more information, visit


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