Article by Marchelle Sussman Fischler – Dec. 16, 2016
Andrew and Jeanine Gillette wanted to bring a bit of city living with them when they decamped to the suburbs from a two-bedroom rental in Manhattan late last year. For more than $1.6 million, they bought a six-bedroom house close to the main shopping streets and in walking distance of a Long Island Rail Road station in Garden City, on Long Island.
“It adds to our quality of life,” said Mr. Gillette, who enjoys walks to the village with their two children, who are 6 and 3. “It is nice to have a destination” whether they are picking up a gallon of milk or going for brunch.
With an uptick in buyers wanting to live within walking distance of restaurants, shops, schools, parks and train stations, single-family homes closer to town are selling better than ones that are farther afield, real estate agents say. This is a shift from the days when larger homes on big parcels of land far from the town center were often most in demand.
In the last three years, millennial buyers moving to Garden City from Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens “are looking for a lifestyle, not just a home,” including walkability, said Lisa Heaney, an agent with Daniel Gale Sotheby’s International Realty. “They want more space, but don’t want to go too far.”
In southern Westchester County, “in town” has become “very valuable,” said Patricia Holmes, the brokerage manager at Julia B. Fee Sotheby’s International Realty in Rye. “What everybody is looking for is convenience. Everything has to be: Walk to town, walk to church, walk to school,” she said. Buyers want to be able to get off the train, walk to a restaurant and walk home, “as easy as you can have it when you have a really busy life.”
Noticing the increase in development near mass transit and village centers, Nick Williams, a former financier, started building new homes in downtown Rye and downtown Greenwich, Conn., four years ago.
“It is nice to come out of a nice house and walk to shops and restaurants and chat with people,” Mr. Williams said.Continue Reading...