WESTCHESTER COUNTY, N.Y. -- The cold and snowy winter did not deter many homebuyers in Westchester County, and Throughbred Mortgage Senior loan officer Austin Stellato has seen the momentum carry over through June.
“It was an extremely busy spring market and it’s continuing right through summer,’’ Stellato said. “It’s a lot of first-time buyers. Right now, it’s a sellers’ market, due to a lack of inventory. I’ve had clients who are putting offers in on five or six houses, and not having their offer accepted. Cash is king right now. That’s what the sellers are going for, even if the borrower is qualified with a lower down payment.”
Mortgage rates have ticked up a half-percent from the high threes to the low fours in May, Stellato said. Still, the rates are at historic lows, which is a plus for buyers and sellers.
“Buyers save money because of the lower rates, but sellers also get a larger pool of qualified buyers,’’ he said. “Although, there is more that goes into qualifying for a loan rather than just low rate. Lenders look at credit, job stability, debt to income ratios and assets.”
Stellato said sales of higher-priced homes in Northern Westchester have been slow. The sweet spot in the towns in which he works -- primarily Somers, Yorktown, Katonah and Brewster -- is in the starter home range of $400,000-$500,000.
Milennials are also emerging as homebuyers. Young couples in their late 20s and early 30s who wrestled with college debt and found it hard to land stable employment when they graduated from college are finally finding their way into home ownership.
“They’ve helped drive existing home sales to a six-year high,’’ Stellato said. “There has been an increase in first time home buyers of 32 percent, this is the highest share since 2012. They are definitely in the market now. They have job stability and a higher income. They’re getting out of their parents’ house.”