Where to live? Westchester County, NY versus Fairfield County, CT

Where to live? Westchester County, NY versus Fairfield County, CT

Where should you move to- Westchester County, NY versus Fairfield County, CT?  For the purpose of this post, when I say Westchester, I mean Southern Westchester County which is bordered in the south by Mt. Vernon and in the north by White Plains and when I say Fairfield County, I mean lower Fairfield County which is bordered in the south by Greenwich and in the north by Westport. So where should you live in? Westchester County, NY versus Fairfield County, CT

This is a common dilemma for a lot of would-be New York suburbanites.  Should you move to Rye, NY?  Or should you go 8 minutes north and move to Greenwich, CT?  Narrowing down the specific towns can often take time.  There are a lot of factors to consider such as taxes, schools and commute times.  Here are some pros and cons to consider.

Commuting to Westchester is Faster than Commuting to Connecticut

There are a lot of reasons to choose Westchester over Connecticut.  The biggest pro is the shorter commute.  Commuting on the Metro North from Westchester to Manhattan can be significantly shorter than commuting to Connecticut.  The fastest Metro North commute to Grand Central can range from 24 minutes from Mt. Vernon, NY and 36 minutes from Rye, NY.  While the fastest Metro North commute from Fairfield County ranges from 41 minutes to Greenwich, CT and 62 minutes to Westport, CT.   So depending on where you work in Manhattan, that extra 20 minutes in commute times can push you over the edge and that can become your deciding factor.

Taxes are Higher in Westchester than in Connecticut

This is a big deciding factor for a lot of buyers.  Taxes in Westchester is significantly higher than that in Connecticut.  As an example, let’s compare $1.0 million homes.  If you buy a $1.0 million home in Scarsdale, NY expect to pay approximate $23,000-$30,000 in property taxes.  The range in tax depends on the municipality of your home.  For example, 241 Beverly Road, Scarsdale NY sold for $1,020,000 located in the Town of Greenburgh (Edgemont School district) has real estate taxes of $30,610.  While 45 Graham Road, Scarsdale, NY sold for $1,042,605 located in the Village/Town of Scarsdale (Scarsdale School district) has property taxes of $23,892.  Let’s move further north and see how this compares to Connecticut.  For example, in Greenwich, CT a $1.0 million home has property taxes of approximately $7,500-$9,000.   17 Prospect Drive, Greenwich CT sold for $1,060,000 (North Street Elementary School) has real estate taxes of $9,325.  And 10 Licata Terrace, Cos Cob, CT sold for $1,010,000 (North Mianus Elementary School) has real estate taxes of $7,971.  There is significant savings in property taxes if you live in Connecticut.

It’s a Toss Up with the Schools

It’s hard to say which school districts are better.  When you look at Niche.com’s 2018 ranking of the Best School Districts in New York City, both Westchester and Fairfield County schools ranked in the top 10.  Westport School District (CT) is ranked #5, Edgemont Union Free School (NY) is ranked #6, Scarsdale Union Free School District (NY) is ranked #7 and New Canaan School District (CT) is ranked #8.  Overall, there are more Westchester county schools included in Niche.com’s ranking.  However, it can also be because there are more Westchester School districts and less Fairfield County school districts.

What is more important for you? Shorter Commute or Lower Property Taxes?

I think it really depends on what you value more.  If commute times is important for you and you are willing to pay higher property taxes just to cut down on your commute then Westchester is probably right for you.  However, if you are willing to sacrifice your commute and save on property taxes then Fairfield County is probably right for you.

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