Putnam’s Housing Market Strong; Must Focus On Downtowns to Compete in Years Ahead

Jennifer Maher | December 28, 2015

Median Sale Price SF Houses Putnam County
PUTNAM - Third Quarters 2012 - 2015
PUTNAM – Third Quarters 2012 – 2015

According to data from the Hudson Gateway Multiple Listing Service with a footprint of Westchester, Putnam, Rockland and Orange counties, the Putnam County housing market is trailing Orange, but leads Rockland and Westchester counties with an increase in sales up 21% during the third quarter of 2015 versus the same period in 2014.

All in all 2015 has been a strong market for Putnam County. Median sales price show increases in single-family homes, condos and co-ops. Our inventory shows a slight decrease, as do all neighboring counties over 2014, thus trending in the direction of steady recovery.

One area for concern for Putnam County is that real estate experts are reporting younger populations are returning to downtown, urban areas. Inman News reported, “Many cities nationwide have undergone a cultural renaissance of sorts. City planners and business owners have transformed urban spaces into 18- and 24-hour locales that attract the younger buyers mentioned earlier into the cities. No longer is it acceptable that only the great coastal cities can be alive around the clock and on weekends. The 18-hour city is emerging across the country, and the urban core is competing again.”

With senior citizens being our only rising population in Putnam County, a serious effort focusing on our downtown areas, convenient public transportation, walkability and an easy commute is a must. Overlooking the younger generations doesn’t support the new information economy, nor does it strengthen our workforce, which is crucial in attracting industries. As Medicaid costs continue to rise, a balance in age demographics is crucial.

As stated in market reports, Putnam County does possess some things in its favor when it comes to property values.

  • We have a low unemployment rate of 5.8%.
  • We are an affluent community with a median household income of $92,711.
  • Since 2009, Putnam County’s crime rate has decreased 34.2% making it the most improved county in New York State in this metric.
  • Our home ownership rate is 83.4%, which is much higher than surrounding counties.
  • We are still a small, closely knit community with our population just under 100,000.

There is room for even more optimism. The administration of County Executive MaryEllen Odell works hand in hand with our EDC/IDA, Chambers of Commerce, and Department of Tourism and is focused on quality of life issues such as infrastructure improvements, revitalization, smart development, and transportation improvements. The county continues to partner with local Realtors to sell county-owned properties. We have astutely avoided over development and over commercialization and instead are famous for scenic bodies of water, parks and mountains. Plus, Putnam County still lies within a short, easy commute to Manhattan.

The fact that Putnam County shares the region’s continually increasing taxes, offers less services than neighboring counties, and has a less developed infrastructure makes it a challenge to attract more buyers to the county. Luckily, these issues are balanced by the pleasant lifestyle offered by the open, green spaces, bodies of water and privacy we have to offer. Putnam County is poised for growth. We have many revitalization and infrastructure improvements in the works such as Envision Brewster, a new sewer district in Kent, improvements in downtown Mahopac, hopeful municipal water for Putnam Valley’s Oregon Corners and slated projects for Southeast, coupled with our beautiful surroundings and demographics we will continue on our path of housing recovery. This is where we as the Realtor community come in. I encourage more fellow HGAR members to get involved at a local level to monitor municipal governments and partner with our elected officials to slow down the tax increases, and foster sustainable improvement to the quality of life.

Future development must encourage: Millennials to move to Putnam County, bring industry that keeps them working and provide transportation for them to live the lifestyles they desire. We can make a difference. While we face our challenges, Putnam County should enjoy a favorable real estate market in the near future, benefiting from collaborative efforts to build an even stronger community and an attractive place to live, work and play.

Photo Caption: Median Sale Price Single Family Houses Putnam County




Jennifer Maher
Jennifer Maher is a partner of J. Philip Real Estate and Founding Chairwoman of the Putnam County Business Council.