Akiko Matsuda, email@example.com
Number of first-quarter home sales in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties rose by 14.5 percent
The Lower Hudson Valley housing market continued to show its strength, as the total number of first-quarter home sales in Westchester, Rockland and Putnam counties went up by 14.5 percent over the same period last year, according to the real estate sales report released Monday by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors (HGAR).
Market conditions in Westchester and Putnam were also rated strong and stable in another quarterly report recently issued by Douglas Elliman.
The HGAR report shows that 1,847 homes sold in Westchester County in the first quarter, up 14 percent from the prior year quarter.
Sales activity in Westchester — along with Long Island and Fairfield County in Connecticut — since last year has remained strong because more consumers are seeking affordable homes in surrounding suburbs, said Jonathan Miller, CEO and president of Miller Samuel Inc., a real estate appraisal and consulting firm, which monitors 18 real estate markets in the region.
"Affordability is dropping in New York City, and we're seeing the pressure of pushing out to the suburbs in terms of property demand," said Miller, who is the author of the Elliman report.
According to Miller's report, Westchester's overall sales volume stabilized in the first quarter: The number of closed sales was 1,640 while the figure was 1,647 in the prior year quarter. But the number of total sales under contract surged 16.3 percent to 2,338 over the same period. During the first quarter, 1,928 contracts were signed, up by 19.2 percent over the same quarter last year.
The luxury market in Westchester — defined by the Elliman report as the upper 10 percent of all single-family sales — continues to show weakness, with median sales price falling 16.8 percent to $1,985,000 over the same period.
The overall average sales price in Westchester declined 5.8 percent to $585,865 from the prior year quarter, reflecting weaker conditions in the luxury market, Miller said.
"We're seeing stability and high level of sales, modest growth over all in prices, but the weakness at the top," he said.
Condominium sales in Westchester have been strong in the past year, and the trend continues. The number of sales rose 15.9 percent to 270. The median sale price of condominiums remained essentially unchanged at $335,750, or up by 0.2 percent from the prior year quarter.
The number of the first quarter sales in Rockland went up 9.4 percent to 467 over the same period last year; the median sale price of single family homes remained almost the same at $399,000.
"Over the past year, we have seen a very balanced market," said Rosemarie Pelatti, a real estate broker and owner at Keller Williams Realty Hudson Valley in New City, noting that the trend continues in 2016.
"We're really seeing the supply in the market equaling the demand," Pelatti said. "And therefore, we're not seeing great price increases."
Pelatti said she expects this stable trend to continue.
"I think we're not having any huge increase in demand," Pelatti said. "I think a lot of people are still looking to get into the market while interest rates are very low. But we have certain factors — taxes and things like that — that do hinder people from coming into our market."
The number of sales in Putnam has continued to rise over the prior year level, mirroring the growth in Westchester.
A total of 227 homes were sold in the first quarter, up by 26.8 percent from the prior year quarter. Of those sales, 87.2 percent were single-family homes and 12.8 percent were condominiums, according to the Elliman report.
The median sale price was $290,000, up by 3.6 percent from a year before.
Miller said Putnam's market growth is also "connected to what's happening in New York."
Q1 MARKET SNAPSHOT
- No. of single-family house sales: 1,020, up 11.2%
- Median sale price, single-family house: $569,950, down 5%
- Median price, condos: $335,750, up 0.2%
- End of quarter inventory, single-family houses: 3,105, up 13.4%
- No. of single-family house sales: 359, up 16.6%
- Median sale price, single-family house: $399,000, down 0.3%
- Median price, condos: $196,500, down 6.4%
- End of quarter inventory, single-family houses: 1,004, down 3.1%
- No. of single-family house sales: 213, up 31.5%
- Median sale price, single-family house: $300,000, up 10.5%
- Median price, condos: $235,000, down 7.8%
- End of quarter inventory, single-family houses: 632, down 4.8%