Westchester County real estate is thriving once again

Real estate in Westchester County, NY, saw its seventh straight month of year-over-year pending sales increases in June 2012, confirming that the local housing market is in full recovery. When compared with the same time frame of 2011, pending sales for the second quarter of 2012 have been much stronger - up 29 percent in Southern Westchester Country and 31 percent in Northern Westchester County.

In the second quarter of 2012, single-family home closings were 15 percent higher in Southern Westchester Country than the numbers seen in 2011. Additionally, luxury sales also climbed back, with home sales of more than $3 million up 33 percent. Northern Westchester County saw a 22 percent uptick in closed sales compared to the second quarter of 2011.

"Mirroring national trends, for the first six months of this year, Westchester County's real estate market has continued to strengthen, laying a firm foundation for our area's sustained housing recovery," real estate expert Paul Breunich told the press.

Prices have also stabilized in most segments of the real estate market, which is an important indicator that local buying and selling markets are improving exponentially. In some cases, many of the pending sales seen in the second quarter of 2012 could turn into closings by the end of the third quarter.

What could also contribute to higher sales rates is new construction projects slated for certain communities in Westchester County. For example, across the street from V.E. Macy Park in Ardsley sits the site of the former Water Wheel Inn, which has remained vacant for nearly two decades, The Journal News reports. Now, after several years of zoning reform and political involvement, the space may be allocated toward the construction of affordable and "workforce" housing units.

There are new plans to provide 17 affordable-housing units to eligible families with incomes at or below 80 percent of the area's median income, according to the news source. And another five units would be provided as workforce housing to volunteer firefighters and ambulance corps members.

With local real estate activity increasing rapidly, homebuyers may find Westchester County to be a more welcoming place to live. What's more, even lower-income families may want to consider relocation to the area. New regulations have been established to help build affordable homes for people who want to move to Westchester Country for its local amenities, but normally could not afford property.