Property Market Insights

Westchester Market Insights: Chappaqua, New York

A walkable village, country living, and a short commute into New York City. Luxury Defined talks to specialists in the area about trends and market outlook in the suburban enclave Chappaqua, New York.

Named one of the best places to raise a family in the U.S.A by school finder website Niche, a super-buoyant property market is what you’d expect from the convivial, woodsy enclave of Chappaqua.

Home to a wealth of affluent professionals, including Bill and Hillary Clinton, the outer New York City suburb of Chappaqua offers a diversity of desirable residential settings, from estates hidden deep in the woods to village houses within an easy stroll of shopping and transport—if you’re lucky enough to get your hands on a house in a corner of Westchester, where property has become increasingly rare to come by.

Chappaqua, which means ‘the rustling land’ and was founded in 1730 by a group of Quakers, falls within the township of New Castle, offers the best of small-town and country living, with a range of independent shops, and great schools, There’s also good restaurants, a ballpark, and a gazebo, which draws locals with their blankets and picnic hampers every summer for a popular outdoor concert series.

A shopping street in Chappaqua
Chappaqua’s downtown is walkable and lively, featuring independent retail and dining options, including a Whole Foods store. There’s also a popular weekly farmers' market. Alamy.

All of this and less than an hour’s commute from Grand Central, which has brought it another accolade from the school finder website Niche, which praised its family-friendly virtues, and has now named it the best place to buy a home in the New York City area.

“You get a lot more space for your money,” explains Gladys DiSisto, a broker at Christie’s Hudson Valley, who has lived in Chappaqua for 35 years and raised a family there. “Most homes are on one to two acres (0.4-0.8 ha)—a great trade for an extra 20 minutes’ commute from the city.”

While the median sales price in Westchester was up 20 per cent from 2019, Chappaqua saw much more dramatic stats, with median price up 27 per cent. The pandemic has been a major contributing factor to the increased demand for real estate in our suburban markets of New York City—Joan Marks

Front view of Chappaqua railway station
In 1846, the railway arrived in Chappaqua, which made it easier for locals to get to New York City for work. Similarly, some city dwellers moved out to the town, notably Horace Greeley, the crusading editor of the New-York Tribune. Alamy.

That abundance of space, which has drawn ever more urbanites out of the metropolis, has made Chappaqua increasingly desirable over the past two years. “We had greatly increased demand in 2020 over the previous year, and this year has been a little better still,” says DiSisto. This is reflected in a greatly reduced housing inventory: “It dropped from around 90 in 2019 to 60 the following year, and in 2021 we have only seen at most 35 homes on the market at any one time.”

She credits the pandemic with creating demands that this vibrant but uncrowded community was easily able to meet. “Plentiful space for a home office as people started working from home, bigger yards, and a pool, which has now become a big thing, when it once was not even a plus point.”

On the other hand, commuting concerns are no longer a consideration. “People who might have once wanted to live a little nearer to the city are happy to move further out in order not to live too close to their neighbors,” adds DiSisto.

Joan Marks, who is a manager for Christie’s International Real Estate Westchester | Hudson Valley, adds: “While the median sales price in Westchester was up 20 per cent from 2019, Chappaqua saw much more dramatic stats, with median price up 27 per cent. The pandemic has been a major contributing factor to the increased demand for real estate in our suburban markets of New York City.”

Exterior view of Horace Greeley House in Chappaqua
Horace Greeley House—in downtown Chappaqua—was the country home of the Greeley family from 1964 until 1873. Today, it is a museum run by the New Castle Historical Society. Horace Greeley owned two other homes locally. Image: Daniel Case.

DiSisto says she’s seen a trend towards clientele less willing to travel for home viewings. “We make videos at the listings stage so people can get an idea of the house, then walk them through it via Zoom or FaceTime so they can ask to stop and take a closer look at aspects that interest them. They feel as though they are visiting in person, which prospective buyers have been doing much less,” she reports.

While investment opportunities are thin on the ground in Chappaqua, which has few multi-family buildings, those who have moved into one of the few townhouse condominiums with communal swimming and tennis facilities, or bought to rent out, have done well. “They will have seen their investment appreciate 30 per cent over three years,” says DiSisto. Competition is fierce for investment opportunities because Chappaqua is out of land for new builds.

The outlook, says DiSisto, is more than bright for the coming year. “With the threat of interest rises in 2022, I expect there to be very strong demand in the spring. The market will continue to be driven by families, not least because of the school district, but also by couples who have not yet started their families. With working from home a continuing reality, they are now contemplating a move out of the city a year or two earlier than they might have intended.”

Exterior shot of Dodge Farm, Chappaqua
Thomas Dodge House—part of the Old Chappaqua District—was built by cabinetmaker Thomas Dodge and his wife Hannah, later inhabitants of the early settlement of Quakers. The property is listed on the National Register of Historic Places in the United States. Image: Nat Postrigan.

Marks adds: “We expect inventory levels to bump up a bit as sellers, who have been a bit hesitant, become ready to list.” As she also expects price increases to slow, 2022 could be the year for house hunters eyeing up this most desirable corner of Westchester to get a march on the increasing number of millennials striding out of the Big Apple to establish a work-from-home base in Chappaqua. And who can blame them? Outdoor living in a village-like environment where the local shopkeepers know their customers by name—and free from the dust, noise, and rush of nearby New York City.

Property insight

Homes in Chappaqua are often detached and generous in terms of living, and outdoor space. Many historic homes are set within woodland, and some feature swimming pools and tennis courts—there’s plenty of opportunity to get outdoors as there are scenic parks and nature trails too. Although you might not be close to your neighbors in terms of proximity, there’s a great sense of community, and golf and country clubs to join. The schools—three elementary schools, two middle school and one high school in the Chappaqua Central School District—are one of the highest ranked school systems in the United States.

On the Market

This custom-designed five-bedroom home has a tranquil, private setting on 1.8 landscaped acres in the Tip Top Farms subdivision of Katonah, just north of Chappaqua. The property is represented by Imma Carletto of Christie’s International Real Estate Westchester | Hudson Valley.

This elegant custom-built residence is in the hamlet of Katonah, just 20 minutes’ drive from Chappaqua. The Colonial-inspired white clapboard façade conceals 5,500 square feet of airy, modern interiors. The five-bedroom, six-bathroom home includes a newly remodeled chef’s kitchen, an office, a finished walkout basement, and a three-car garage. Surrounding the home are 1.8 acres of private, landscaped gardens with a pebble-tech swimming pool, a deck with barbecue, and a stone firepit. The pool house includes a gourmet kitchen, shower room, and laundry area.

Christie’s International Real Estate, Westchester office at 6 S Greeley Avenue, Chappaqua, New York.

Banner image: Getty Images. Image of Horace Greeley House: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license. Image of Dodge Farm: This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.