Hudson Valley Home Sales Fall in Most Markets

Real Estate In-Depth | July 2019

Editor’s Note: The following is the text of the 2019 SECOND QUARTER RESIDENTIAL REAL ESTATE SALES REPORT Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan Counties, New York released on July 8th by the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service Inc.

Residential sales for the second quarter in the lower Hudson Valley region served by the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service Inc. (HGMLS) were very much a mixed bag, and don’t necessarily appear to be following a pattern as they normally do. At this juncture the sales numbers seem to emphasize the diversity of the markets and price points within the region.

One area of commonality was in a slowing of sales of single-family residential properties from down 2.3% for the quarter in Rockland County to down 11.1% in Orange County. Westchester experienced a drop of 3.9%. The one exception was Putnam County where sales of single- family residential units was up 4.3%. Overall, total residential sales remained robust with only modest decreases.

What makes the market difficult to categorize or pinpoint is the fact that, while sales of one type of housing in an area weakened, another strengthened. Case in point was Westchester, the largest market in the region, where both condominium and co-op sales increased by 3.6% and 3.8% respectively. At the same time, the median price for a condominium unit rose 8.3% to $400,000 and a co-op unit rose 5.9% to a median price of $180,000. The number of days on the market for a co-op unit dropped to 72 from 81 a year ago and the number of available units for sale dropped 19% to 474 from 580 one year ago making it difficult to ascertain whether a slowdown in sales of single-family homes was more a function of rising prices than market conditions. Also, not to be ignored is the impact of the 2018 tax reform legislation which has likely contributed to a slowdown in sales of high-end properties.

When viewing the Rockland market, which experienced a 2.3% drop in single-family residential sales with a concomitant drop of 4.0% in the median sale price to $450,000 from $468,750 one year ago along with an increase in the days on market of 9.2%, It is reasonable to conclude that the historically high prices experienced in the Rockland market may have reached a saturation level. Although they represent a smaller percentage of the Rockland market, both multi-family and co-op units experienced an increase in units sold and median sales price.

Orange County, which has consistently led the region in residential single-family sales increases over the past several years, saw an 11.1% drop in sales for the second quarter as compared to last year. There were 849 sales reported as compared to 955 sales in 2018. There was however, an increase of 6.0% in the median sale price to $265,00 from $250,000 last year. Orange was the only county reporting a decrease in inventory from the previous year; an issue which has impeded sales growth. Unit sales of condominiums at 114 represented a slight increase while the median price for a condo jumped 16.9% to $195,000 from $166,750 a year ago. Sullivan County saw a drop of 8.5% in single-family home sales compared to the second quarter of 2018, but also had a 17.8% increase in sale price.

Conclusion

The area serviced by the Hudson Gateway MLS appears to be in a positive position going forward with a high level of commercial activity and a growing tourism sector. There is good job growth and unemployment in the area is at historic lows. Externally, the very low interest rate environment contributes to the outlook for a relatively strong market going forward.