Hudson Valley Single-Family Home Sales Rise Sharply in Third Quarter

Real Estate In-Depth | October 2020

Editor’s Note: The following is the full text version of the 2020 Third Quarter Residential Real Estate Sales Report Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan, and Bronx Counties, New York released on Oct. 5 by OneKey™ Multiple Listing Service LLC.

WHITE PLAINS—After experiencing solid first quarter sales, real estate practitioners in the lower Hudson Valley region, served by OneKey™ Multiple Listing Service LLC, were prepared for an active second quarter developing new inventory and accommodating high buyer interest, both earmarks of second quarter activity. Instead, COVID-19 happened, and the market came to an abrupt halt with real estate agents unable to show properties and were confined to virtual interactions with buyers and sellers. Resiliency, creativity, and technology all began to replace shock and practitioners soon learned to navigate their new environment resulting in historically high single family residential third quarter sales figures. The optimism is back.

Single-family residential sales figures increased across the board throughout the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors’ market area with the exception of Bronx County, which likely felt the impact of the hard-hit New York City market. Sullivan County experienced a 45% increase in sales over the third quarter of 2019 with 384 single-family residential units sold compared to 264 units in 2019. Westchester County, the largest county in the region, saw single family residential sales increase from 1,940 in 2019 to 2,173 in 2020, a 12% gain. The single-family residential sales gain in Putnam was 8.4%, 350 sales compared to 323 in 2019; third quarter sales in Rockland were up 4.8% to 674 units compared to Q3, 2019 when 643 sales took place. Orange County sales were up 7.9%. There were 1,190 sales in Orange as compared to 1,103 sales in 2019, Q3.

Median sale prices of single-family homes were up in all counties including the Bronx despite a decrease in sales in that borough. Sullivan County had the highest percentage increase at 33.1% ($197,550 up from $148,450 in 2019). The median sale price in Westchester increased 15.9% to $810,000 from $699,00 (Q3, 2019), the Orange County median was up 14.6% to $330,000 from $288,000 in the third quarter of 2019, Rockland’s median increased 7.4% to $510,000 (from $475,000) and Putnam County’s median rose 9.7% to $411,250 from $375,000 in 2019.

A concerning number in Westchester County is the eroding state of co-op sales which have decreased for several quarters and are down 25.7% in the third quarter as compared to third quarter 2019. Units sold in the third quarter were 339 versus 456 in 2019. There was no concomitant drop in price however. The same has held true for Bronx County where sales of co-ops decreased 35.5% and have been decreasing over several quarters. The price of a co-op in Bronx County increased 8% to $237,500. Co-ops do not represent a significant part of the market in the other counties served by OneKey MLS LLC.

Condominium sales were down in all counties with the exception of Putnam County where “condo” sales were up 28% to 50 units from 39 in third quarter, 2019. Ironically, condominium prices increased in all counties except Putnam.

Multi-family sales were down across the board leading to speculation that some of these decreases, both condo and multi-family, may be more a function of COVID-19 related issues than lack of buyers and/or interest. The weakness in the condo, coop and multi-family sectors took a toll on overall sales figures with Westchester County’s total residential sales down 1.3% to 2,949 units compared to 2,988 units in 2019, Q3 and Bronx sales down 29.6%.

Other counties having less significant condo and coop markets fared better in the quarter. Putnam County registered an overall increase of 8.6% total residential sales, Orange County sales were up 4.6%, Rockland’s rose 2.2% and Sullivan County with a virtually non-existent condo or coop inventory was still up 42.2%.

Lack of inventory continues to hamper sales in all residential categories. Recently listing activity has increased as buyers become more comfortable with the measures in place to protect them from exposure to the COVID-19 virus as well as the vibrancy of the market. It is difficult to predict market conditions going forward. In the short term, the market remains strong with the number of properties in contract being exceptionally high at this point of the year. These contracts should represent closed sales before year’s end. Interest rates remain at historic lows which contributes to affordability. There is also the migration to the suburbs which is currently a factor and has created huge demand. What is difficult to evaluate, however, is how long a complete economic recovery will take and how that will impact the market going forward?