Experts Predict ‘The Seller’s Market is Going to Last’
Real Estate In-Depth | June 21, 2021
WHITE PLAINS— With mortgage rates near all-time lows and significant pent-up demand, will New York’s residential real estate market favor sellers through 2021 and beyond? Real estate experts weighed in on what’s in store for the housing market and how agents can close deals from the East End to the West Side and all throughout the region at a virtual panel hosted by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors, Inc. and OneKey® MLS.
Nearly 300 industry professionals registered for “Getting the Deal Done: From The Hamptons to Manhattan, Scarsdale to the Catskills – A Seller’s Market,” which featured Jennifer Grimes, broker/owner, Country House Realty, Sullivan and Ulster counties; Lisa Lippman, associate real estate broker, Brown Harris Stevens, New York City; Laura Miller, associate real estate broker, Houlihan Lawrence, Scarsdale; Ernie Cervi, regional senior vice president, East End, Corcoran, Bridgehampton; and Bruce Cohen, Esq., founding partner, Cohen and Frankel, New York City.
“This seller’s market is going to last – particularly in Westchester, the Hudson Valley and on the East End, for quite some time,” said event host Richard Haggerty, CEO of HGAR and President and Chief Strategic Growth Officer of OneKey® MLS, the regional multiple listing service for New York. “One thing that’s unique to the New York City market is that it doesn’t have the inventory issue that the suburban market has. The point our expert panel makes about pricing correctly really resonates because that’s what’s going to make properties move in Manhattan.”
Haggerty at the June 10th webinar pointed to Sullivan County as the “hottest market we’ve had in our area,” noting an 85% increase in the number of single-family transactions in May compared with May of last year and an almost 10% increase in the median sale price.
Grimes, of Country House Realty, said The Catskills’ market was robust pre-pandemic and a migration from New York City only added to the surge. “The pandemic sped up the process of maturation in terms of people discovering The Catskills, with so many coming up here to hike and do things to get out of New York City,” said Grimes. “The market exploded in an extraordinary way, where in some cases people were trying to buy houses sight unseen. Our value for money is significant here, so people feel they can buy for cash a lot of the time. Our second-home market is really what is driving everything here.”
The discussion was moderated by Brian D. Tormey, NTP, president of TitleVest, a leading New York City-based provider of title insurance and related real estate services. The hour-long session focused on regional market trends, buyer profiles and pricing, negotiating contracts and bidding wars, and how long the seller’s market will last.
“In New York City we had a softer market, then we had COVID and it was super-soft, and now we’re back to where we were, price-wise, pre-pandemic,” said Lippman, of Brown Harris Stevens. “But we have a much better head about things—there’s a feeling of euphoria. A word of caution to sellers: It is still very, very price sensitive. If you properly price something, it moves immediately. If you over-price it, no one calls. And, if you underprice it, you’ll have a crazy bidding war.”
Cohen, an attorney specializing in real estate, talked about the resiliency of Manhattan and advised buyers and sellers to act quickly in this market. “I don’t think we’ve ever been busier and I’ve been doing this a long time,” said Cohen. “One of the reasons is that interest rates just remain so low. Yes, there is euphoria. It was wrong to write off New York City during the pandemic and anyone who thinks this market is going to last forever is wrong, too. But, I would say to every broker, attorney, buyer and seller—if you want to do something, now is the time.”
Miller, of Houlihan Lawrence, noted Westchester’s numbers indicate “it’s definitely” still a seller’s market. “The Westchester market is hot, with pending sales in general up over 90%,” said Miller. “In Scarsdale, which is my main area, it’s up around 80% and in Edgemont, pending sales are up around 200%. There’s just high demand and a real scarcity of inventory. We are still seeing multiple bids and listings at all price ranges are selling significantly over asking.”
Cervi, of Corcoran, noted similar trends on the East End. “The Hamptons market is up 89% over last year in the first quarter,” said Cervi. “The average sale price has tipped $2.7 million and the median price is $1.6 million, which is up 50%. We’re seeing numbers like we’ve never seen before and activity to match. The sellers are very realistic, if they price appropriately, they’re going to have a bidding war and sell over ask in those cases.”
“Getting the Deal Done” is part of the “Be Your Best” webinar series created by HGAR and OneKey® MLS, to help Realtors and agents navigate a changing landscape amid the pandemic. The event was sponsored by TitleVest.
OneKey® MLS has 44,000-plus subscribers and serves Manhattan, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland, Sullivan, Orange, Nassau, Suffolk, Queens, Brooklyn, and the Bronx. It was formed in 2018 by the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors® and the Long Island Board of Realtors®.
The Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors® (www.hgar.com) is a not-for-profit trade association representing more than 13,000 real estate professionals in Manhattan, the Bronx, Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties. It is the second-largest Realtor association in New York, and one of the largest in the U.S.