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    North of NYC North of NYC By Houlihan Lawrence By Houlihan Lawrence by

    Keeping with annual tradition, we asked our brokerage and corporate leaders to recap on the trends they've observed this past year and offer their forecasts on the new one. Here's what they had to say:

    On the local market

    "Inventory pricing will continue to be a challenge as boomers in the northern weekend markets compete for buyers more willing to create their own country getaways by building than by remedying what they see as not fitting their lifestyle desires." -Sylvia Wallin, Cold Spring

    "Inventories will remain very tight for new single-family homes and price appreciation may decline from the current 6% to somewhere around 3%. More millennials will be purchasing homes and this trend will be increasing every year from now until at least 2018.  Most borrowers of this age group are waiting for a work promotion or to build up enough savings to buy and so far that number has been increasing dramatically year over year since 2011." -Geoffrey Berry, White Plains

    "I'm predicting record breaking numbers of buyers from the city as prices there send people scurrying to Westchester for a relative bargain in housing and education." -Judiann Smith, Rye

    "There appears to be a large quantity of high end homes about to come on the market in January, with price tags over $3M.  If the last two years are an indication, these homes will sit until their price comports with buyers’ value perception.  New construction will continue to appeal to consumers and dominate high end purchases, with functionality and efficiency trumping historic neighborhood prestige.  But pricing may find a ceiling even with newly built homes. Rather than a bubble repeating itself, there appears to be a buyer-driven self-correction underway. Buyers remain shy following the financial crisis of 2008, and are unwilling to pay at the top of their ability, preferring conservative purchases as a hedge against global uncertainties, discounted bonuses in the financial sector and financing options." -Lewis Arlt, Scarsdale

    "First-time home buyers will take a good look at those splits from the 60's and the raised ranches of the '70's because of their open spaces, a lower level for a home office plus the lower prices.  The word is out that mortgage rates really will be going up in 2016, but when is still the question. If this doesn't happen in January, I would expect the 1st quarter to be busy since buyers will try their best to lock-in before the higher interest rates take effect." -Roselyn Harburger, Katonah

    "An election year is always a wild card, but early indications are the city dwellers are already out looking in advance of the holiday season. Sleek, slightly modern overtones continue to edge into décor." -Cynthia Landis, Bronxville

    On technology

    "Several companies are releasing consumer virtual reality headsets that will catapult the technology into the mainstream. Buyers will be able to virtually walk through a home before physically stepping through the door, whether it’s a busy exec who wants to get a better feel for a home that pictures alone can’t provide or an international home seeker sitting 7,000 miles away looking to experience the home first hand before making the trip. This is a good thing for both consumers and real estate agents alike; consumers will be able to narrow down their choices and agents will spend less time having to show houses that aren't match for their buyers. VR has the opportunity to do for real estate what video did for it six years ago and what the internet did for it 15 years ago. " -Andrew Lafreniere, Director of IT

    "The ubiquity of the Internet of Things (IoT) will accelerate in 2016. Connected devices for the home and wearable technology will blur the lines between digital and traditional marketing more than ever before. Real estate agents will need to be able to articulate the value of connected home systems and services as they price and market homes. Advances in wearables, like we saw from the Apple Watch this year, will help make a real estate agent’s job safer and more productive through advances in personal security and productivity apps." -Anne Marie Gianutsos, Digital Director

    On trends

    "The 2016 consumer will be a lot more demanding about customer service, follow up, daily communication, strategic planning and marketing and will be holding the real estate professionals a lot more accountable than in past years. Home Improvement projects in 2016 will likely reach new highs. There will also be more remodeling of high-end rental properties as interest rates drift higher and make renting more attractive for some." -Geoffrey Berry, White Plains