Orange County Housing Market is Hot, Despite Pandemic

Renee Zurlo | September 2020

We are the talk of the towns—the Orange County real estate market is hot!

Our Orange County region recently closed out July 2020 with a median sale price of $330,000 for single-family Residential homes. Our August median sale price was a very close $329,900. We have not seen a median sale price in Orange County close to that since July 2006 when we reached an all-time high of $335,000.

We are also experiencing substantial increases in contracts throughout our region. We had a good increase in listings taken, and an uptick in closed transactions. Based on the current amount of pending transactions, September is expected to produce record-breaking closed sales.

We find ourselves in a market condition that is very unique, one that provides opportunity for both sellers and buyers.

Inventory is low and buyer demand is high, resulting in higher prices for our sellers. Interest rates are historically low, resulting in increased purchasing power for our buyers. New construction in Orange County is ample. Builders are offering models with increased square footage to accommodate buyer needs in today’s current climate. For our investors, there is opportunity to provide much needed residential rental housing.

We are experiencing an influx of buyers and renters from the city. It is not unusual for Orange County to attract homeowners who commute to the city for work. In talking with many Orange County agents who are working with buyers, most now have a larger pool of buyers from the city than in the past. Some are interested in renting and not yet ready to commit to a purchase, and some are buying weekend homes. But the majority are purchasing their primary home here.

Listing agents are adapting their marketing strategies by highlighting sought-after features such as dedicated home offices, a “room for zoom” that is well lit and offers a great backdrop for virtual meetings, and outdoor space that is plentiful and welcoming.

Our Orange County real estate market is incredibly good, providing many opportunities for us as well. As many of us learned from past experiences, an aggressive market such as this can bring challenges and obstacles—obstacles that we need not only be aware of but do our very best to prepare our clients for. I often find myself in discussions with an agent, buyer, or seller about a challenging situation that I find could have been avoided with more detailed communication. Set the expectation: explain the probability of things like multiple offers and the services you will provide in guiding the buyer and/or seller through the process. Educate yourself with data and facts in order to prepare the buyer in making a strong offer, not just monetarily but in terms as well. Discuss the possibility of concessions or conditions that may have to be offered/agreed upon to be competitive in the multiple offer situation. Guide your clients in necessary showing protocols for the safety of all concerned. Be mindful of timeliness of the transaction, communicating to all that municipalities, lenders, appraisers, attorneys, etc. are experiencing delays due to the volume of business we currently have. We often say communication is key in our business; that is true now more than ever.

Our Orange County market went through a lot of changes prior, during, and will no doubt in the post pandemic environment. It was not that long ago when we added to our vocabulary words like “pivot,” “adapt” and “the new normal.” We now need to add “resiliency.” We are resilient; we emerged from an unprecedented time of uncertainty and we have grown in ways we never imagined we could. We further embraced technology and very quickly learned to work virtually to better service our clients, with a personal touch that has maintained our relevance.

Orange County real estate is booming. The buyer demand is showing no signs of slowing down and we need to continue to show sellers the opportunities before them.

Remember all those potential sellers over the years who said with some regret, “I should have sold in 2006”? Let’s help sellers now so they won’t have to say that about 2020.

It’s time to give them a call.

Renee Zurlo
Renee Zurlo is the General Manager of the Hudson Valley Region for Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty