By John Golden – April 12, 2017
High sales volume in the Hudson Valley region’s housing market has contributed to a markedly shrunken inventory, which lost about one-fifth of its listings at the end of this year’s first quarter compared with a year ago.
The Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service, in its quarterly report for the four-county region served by Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, said brokers reported 3,700 first-quarter closings in Westchester, Rockland, Putnam and Orange counties. That amounted to a 9 percent increase from the first quarter of 2016, with an additional 309 single-family houses, condominiums, co-operatives and two- to four-family dwellings sold.
Rockland County led the region with a 29.3 percent increase in first-quarter sales of all housing types. Sales of single-family homes in Rockland were up nearly 24 percent, with 444 houses sold. That number represents about 40 percent of the number of single-family homes sold in the first quarter across the Hudson River in Westchester.
The 1,092 single-family houses sold in Westchester was a 7.1 percent increase from the first quarter of 2016. Sales of all housing types in the county were up 4.4 percent, with 1,929 closings. First-quarter declines in condo sales – 261 units sold, down 6.8 percent – and two-to four-family houses – 132 sold, down 9 percent – were offset by a more than 10 percent jump in co-op sales, with 444 sold from January through March.
Sales-leading Rockland saw its first-quarter median sale price for a single-family house climb back above the $400,000 level to $425,000, up 6.5 percent increase from the first quarter of 2016. A 37 percent increase in first-quarter condominium sales in Rockland, where 118 condos were sold, was accompanied by a 10.7 percent rise in the median sale price of a condo, to $217,500.
In Westchester, the median sale price of a single-family house climbed back to $600,000, where it stood in the first quarters of 2014 and 2015, after dropping 5.3 percent in the first quarter last year.
While Westchester condo sales dropped nearly 7 percent in the first quarter, the median sale price of the 261 units sold was $360,000, a 7.2 percent increase.
As the region’s real estate market this year has continued its five-year recovery, housing inventory has been depleted to levels that could create pressure for price increases, according to the housing report. Yet though the four counties’ end-of-quarter inventory shank by 20.3 percent, “The effect on prices has been mixed.”
Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors CEO Richard Haggerty in his quarterly market analysis noted that not much has changed since last year in the local, state and national real estate markets. “Perhaps the only truly dark cloud on the horizon is the prospect of an overhaul of the nation’s tax code which could severely injure the housing market – or maybe help it?”
“Either way,” he said, “that won’t happen until much later in the year. Otherwise, the HGAR real estate market is in excellent shape for continued high sales volume with manageable price increases in some sectors.”