MOUNT KISCO, N.Y.—As home buyers head cautiously back into the real estate market and interest rates, according to some experts, are bottoming out, many are considering opting for smaller, less-expensive houses with lower utilities costs and fewer amenities.
Even in pricey and desirable areas like Bedford and Mount Kisco, “People are still very tentative and we’re finding that consumers are now going for the lowest price that they could possibly get,” said Patrick Morrissey owner of Mount Kisco-based P. Morrissey Contracting, which builds luxury homes in Westchester and Putnam counties.
Morrissey said younger couples are buying houses in the $500,000 range, lower than it has been in the past for this demographic. He also is seeing more people close to retirement downsizing from 7,000-square-foot homes to 3,500 or 4,000 square feet.
“I guess their kids are gone and they feel like they’re bouncing around in these houses,” he said.
According to an Aug. 23 article in the New York Times, a survey by the National Association of Home Builders revealed the typical size of a new home nationwide will shrink to an average of about 2,152 square feet by 2015, which is 10 percent smaller than the average new home built in 2010.
In a lot of new construction, builders are merging the living room with other spaces in the house and not including supersize master suites as often.
In the Times article, Gopal Ahluwalia, a vice president of the trade group that conducted the study, attributed the trend to the economic and sustainability concerns that have come to the forefront for many buyers after the real estate market crashed in 2007.
“Home owners and buyers in this market continue to weigh their expenses on carrying costs of a home, now even more than in past years,” said Justin Pieragostini, a longtime Mount Kisco resident who works for real estate agency Paddington Stone and focuses on Katonah, Somers, Bedford Hills, Mt. Kisco, South Salem and North Salem.
These expenses include utilities, like heat and electric, and other costs, like lawn care and pool maintenance.
Pieragostini also said people need to remember they are paying more to live in bucolic towns like Bedford with tony neighborhoods and top-tier school districts.
“People need to understand that they’re paying a premium to live in this area; they’re paying a premium to live in a town that Martha Stewart and Richard Gere and Tim Robbins and Ryan Reynolds call home,” he said, “where the neighboring town is home to an ex-president, where one of our greatest clothing designers Ralph Lauren resides.”