Monday, March 31, 2008

Recent Sales and Deals

As promised, I am trying to do a better job of reporting on recent sales. Here are some of the previously-featured Hot Properties that have sold or gone to contract in the 2 weeks since my last roundup on March 17. Note: Listings are organized by the date they were featured; the asking prices listed are the last recorded ones.

Location: Peekskill
Featured: January 15, 2008
Asking Price: $314,000
Status: Conditional Contract

Location: Katonah
Featured: January 22, 2008
Asking Price: $529,900
Status: Sold for $535,000

Location: Yorktown
Featured: October 24, 2007
Asking Price: $750,000
Status: Conditional Contract

Sales: Up Nationally, Down in Westchester

The New York State Association of Realtors' report for February had bleak news for the Westchester market, according to The Journal News. County-wide, the number of sales fell 22% and the median price dropped 7.9%. Rockland county fared worse, with sales falling 38% and prices declining by 10%. Interestingly, prices in Putnam County rose by 6%. These figures stand in contrast to the report from the National Association of Realtors, which found that nation-wide sales had increased by 2.9% in February. I am actually a bit surprised by the Westchester figures, since I have seen definite signs of an increase in activity in the last two months. But I only keep an eye on listings in the local area. Perhaps the market in Northern Westchester is healthier than that in other parts of the county.
SOURCE: The Journal News: Existing Home Sales Plunge in Rockland, Westchester; Rise in Putnam, National Association of Realtors

Friday, March 28, 2008

Weekend Events

Insider's Tour Get up close and personal with the livestock and walk through the greenhouse and planting fields. For children ages 12 and up. Reservations required. Saturday, 11:00 to 12:30. Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture

Arrowheads and Adzes Learn how to transform lumps of stone into elegant Native American tools. Saturday, 1:00. Croton Point Park Nature Center

Sweet Honey in the Rock Grammy-award winners Sweet Honey in The Rock capture the sounds of blues, spirituals, gospel hymns, rap, reggae, African chants, hip hop, and jazz. Saturday, 8:00. Performing Arts Center

Evening Howl Visit the wolves during their favorite hour—dusk. Enjoy a sunset hike to howl with the wolves! Saturday, 5:00. Wolf Conservation Center

Second City Improv Comedy Theater The famed troupe of funny people performs skits and more. Saturday, 8:00. Paramount Center for the Arts

Westchester Jewish Film Festival 2008 The festival gathers films from around the world that explore Jewish cultural identity. This weekend's features include Constantine's Sword, which investigates the Catholic Church's historical relationship with Jews, and Rufesnick, an exploration of the long struggle to allow Russian Jews the right to emigrate to Israel. Through April 17. Jacob Burns Film Center

Magnificant Mammals Explore the world of mammals that inhabit the fields and woodlands of the Hudson Hills and Highlands. For children ages 7 and up. Sunday, 1:00. Teatown Lake Reservation

Peeper Prowl Come to the Pinecliff Sanctuary boardwalk and prowl for spring peepers and other calling frogs. Registration required. Sunday 6:00. Sawmill River Audubon

Women's Work is Never Done In celebration of Women's History Month, learn how woman contributed to daily life on the farm. Sunday, 1:00 to 3:00. Muscoot Farm

Appalachian Mountain Club Hike Participants will hike at a moderate pace through historical carriage roads, gentle rolling hills, and beautiful vistas. Sunday, 10:00. Rockefeller State Park Preserve

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Nice Bones

This new listing on Peekskill's Mortgage Hill brings to mind every realtor's favorite word—potential. Built in 1900, the 3 bedroom home has some lovely original details. With 2,200 square feet, the rooms look spacious and pleasant. On the downside, there is just one bathroom and the kitchen appears in need of updating. The 0.19 acre lot has a 2-car garage and is close to Depew Park and the Artists' District. $469,000
Coldwell Banker, Google Map, Live Search Map

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Eye Candy

Sunday afternoon in Croton Point Park.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

To the Manor, Reborn

For years the row of stately homes lining the western entrance to Mount Kisco was marred by a decrepit wreck. While hints of its former grandeur were visible, the house looked to be on the verge of collapse. Now the 1905 manor is impressive again, having undergone a long and apparently careful renovation. Inside, much of the original detail in the 5,500 square foot home appears to have been saved. The house now boasts 6 bedrooms, 6 bathrooms, and a high-end kitchen complete with fireplace. While I personally don't care for the new McMasterBathroom, some buyers will probably dig it. The house sits on 1.2 acres and is a short walk into the village. On the con side, it is on busy Route 133 pretty close to the Saw Mill River Parkway. The pros, however, speak for themselves. $2,195,000
Houlihan Lawrence, Google Map, Live Search Map

Monday, March 24, 2008

My Commute: A Pictorial

People are often surprised when I tell them that I enjoy my commute. In truth, the hour I spend getting from my house to Grand Central is usually one of the more pleasant and relaxing ones of the work day. When I first moved up from the city my commute felt like a vacation in the country. Now I'm pretty used to being surrounded by natural beauty, but zipping along the river is always a joy. These photos—never try taking photos with one hand while driving with the other—show what I see on my trip from southern Yorktown to the Croton-Harmon station and the train ride into Manhattan. Just click on the photos at the bottom to get going.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Weekend Events

Harry Potter Workshop Children in grades 1-3 can play quidditch for muggles, make invisible ink, create an edible roand, and more. Saturday, 9:00 to 4:00. Call (914) 245-4650. Yorktown Community and Cultural Center

Shelters for Survival Kids will construct a shelter in the woods while learning the importance of team-building skills and other survival techniques. Saturday, 1:00. Croton Point Nature Center

Story Hour Youngsters can listen to a story at 10:30. At 1:00, children are invited to participate in a hands-on activity. Saturday. Katonah Museum of Art

The Living Animals In this live animal program, children will discover that animals have cells, tissues, and organs. For children in 5th grade and up. Saturday 1:00. Trailside Nature Museum, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation

The Four Tops in Concert The Motown legends strut their stuff and perform many classics. Saturday, 8:00. The Paramount Center for the Arts

Spring Moon Hike Enjoy a hike to Hidden Valley by the light of the moon and see how everything changes when the sun goes down and the full moon rises. Reservations required. Saturday, 7:00. For children ages 5 and older. Teatown Lake Reservation

Puppet Show Fred Greenspan's troupe of puppets performs a non-violent Punch and Judy show. Sunday 1:00 and 2:30. Muscoot Farm

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Relisted: Country Cool

It's the first day of Spring and already some listings that failed to sell last season are trying again. After being off the market for a few months, this beauty is now back on. Located in Ossining, on the edge of the Teatown area, the house has antique charm—part of it was built in 1770—and contemporary funk. With 3,500 square feet, the 5 bedroom, 5 bath house features a renovated kitchen, central AC, and a truly great living room. The 4 acre property includes a pool and a barn. So why didn't this sell before? I imagine the answer is the $23,736 tax bill, which seems quite high for this price point. The only other apparent downside is the location on Route 134. But the asking price has now been chopped by a whopping $100,000, which might help some buyers stomach the taxes. $829,000
Houlihan Lawrence, Original Post, Google Map, Live Search Map

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve

While "mountain" may be a bit of a stretch, this jewel is definitely a preserve for some beautiful nature. Located in Yorktown Heights, the 150 acre park offers a myriad of lovely trails through the woods and gorgeous rock outcroppings. A climb up what can only be called a hill (831 feet) is relatively easy and the flat rock-face at the summit affords stunning vistas over the Croton Reservoir and beyond to the Hudson River, Bear Mountain, and the Hudson Highlands. To the south, the towers of Manhattan can clearly be seen in the distance. The park is owned by the town, which recently purchased an additional 25 acres for the preserve, and is maintained by the Yorktown Land Trust. Turkey Mountain Nature Preserve

Check out previous posts on Muscoot Farm, Blue Mountain Reservation, the Croton Dam, the North County Trailway, local playgrounds, home accessory stores, coffee houses, and other area Hot Spots.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

How Sweet it is

A good set for a Hallmark commercial, this Katonah house is warm and cozy, yet gracious and spacious. Built in 1926, the 2,600 square foot home has 4 bedrooms, a renovated kitchen, and central AC. I especially like the bedrooms with the dramatically pitched ceilings. The one acre property has a large deck overlooking a stream, and is close to the village center. $1,199,000
Prudential Rand Realty, Google Map, Live Search Map

Monday, March 17, 2008

A Sampling of Sales & Deals

I keep meaning to post recent closings and sales, but I never get to it. It's quite time consuming, and I do have a day job—not to mention a spouse whose constant refrain is "Stop blogging and [insert heinous household task]!" So, the following sampling of hot properties that have sold or gone to contract is my attempt to make up for past failures. While most listings have sold for within spitting distance of the asking price, there is one clear example of successful lowballing, a trend reported in Sunday's New York Times. There are also some signs of a recent up-tick in activity, with a number of listings going to contract relatively quickly and some sleepers finally finding buyers. Is that Spring in the air?
Note: Listings are organized by the date they were featured; the asking prices listed are the last recorded ones.

Location: Yorktown
Featured: February 7, 2008
Asking Price: $548,000
Status: Sold for $527,500

Location: Katonah
Featured: January 29, 2008
Asking Price: $619,000
Status: Conditional Contract

Location: Ossining
Featured: December 6, 2007
Asking Price: $749,000
Status: Sold for $720,000

Location: Croton
Featured: December 10, 2007
Asking Price: $449,000
Status: Sold for $437,000

Location: Peekskill
Featured: November 19, 2007
Asking Price:
Status: Sold for $353,000

Location: Ossining
Featured: October 17, 2007
Asking Price: $1,289,000
Status: Sold for $1,240,000

Location: Yorktown
Featured: September 7, 2007
Asking Price: $1,250,000
Status: Conditional Contract

Location: Croton
Featured: August 17, 2007
Asking Price: $1,550,000
Status: Conditional Contract

Location: Croton
Featured: July 24, 2007
Asking Price: $659,000
Status: Conditional Contract

Location: Yorktown
Featured: June 13, 2007
Asking Price: $1,035,000
Status: Sold for $925,000

Friday, March 14, 2008

Weekend Events

Easter Egg Hunt The Yorktown Recreation Department's annual Easter egg hunt. Saturday, 10:30. Downing Park

Pancake Brunch Enjoy the fruits of sugaring season with stacks of hotcakes smothered in pure maple syrup—plus hot coffee, sausages, and more. Then visit the sugarhouse and see how the syrup was made. Saturday, 8:30, 9:45, 11:00, or 12:15. Teatown Lake Reservation

Nature Nuts for Toddlers Tykes can learn about shapes, colors, and sizes while making nature crafts and taking a hike. For ages 2 to 5. Saturday, 1:00. Croton Point Nature Center

The Savages Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney star in this acclaimed movie about two siblings. Saturday, 8:00. Paramount Center for the Arts

Johnny Peers' Muttville Comix A motley crew of mongrels jump rope, climb ladders, and walk all over their human friend. Saturday, 11:00 and 2:00. The Ridgefield Playhouse

Hands-On Activities Kids can learn more about the exhibitions by visiting the Education Center and engaging in hands-on projects for all age levels. Saturday and Sunday, 12:00-4:30. Aldrich Contemporary Art Museum

Mary Poppins The original super nanny, on the big screen (above). Saturday and Sunday, 12:00. Jacob Burns Film Center

Tokyo String Quartet The Tokyo String Quartet performs. Sunday, 3:00. Performing Arts Center

Farm to Table Harvest greens and vegetables in the greenhouse and collect eggs from the hens. When the farm work is done, everything gets cooked up into a snack in the Resource Center using seasonal foods. Sunday, 11:00 to 1:00. Stone Barn Center for Food and Agriculture

Brian Regan The comedian Brain Regan performs. Sunday, 8:00. Tarrytown Music Hall

Thursday, March 13, 2008

At the Peak

This stately 1929 Tudor is located at the top of Peekskill's Mortgage Hill, in an area that feels somewhat removed from the city but is still steps from downtown. The 2,800 square foot house has 3 bedrooms and plenty of character. While some buyers will probably want to update the kitchen, the home has many nice details and a good overall feel. The plot is 0.41 of an acre. $659,000

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Eye Candy

The boardwalk at Teatown Lake Reservation.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Charming Grandeur

This just-listed 1892 brick carriage house on the outskirts of Ossining is a beaut. The 5,500 square foot home has 5 bedrooms, 3 baths, and charm and details to spare. The two courtyards, french doors, and mansard roof give this home an appealing European panache, and the main rooms all look big and bright. Located on 1 acre on lovely Beach Road, the house is close to the Hudson River and has winter views. The Old Croton Aqueduct trail crosses the road, providing a pleasant way to walk to Main Street, and there is a 12 acre preserve at the end of the street with a trail down to the train tracks. While the $24,768 annual tax bill is rather steep, I just love this house. $1,200,000
Houlihan Lawrence, Google Map, Live Search Map