PUTNAM POSTING: Deciphering the Region’s First Quarter Real Estate Stats: ‘Wild’

Jennifer Maher | April 29, 2021

Jennifer Maher

According to the Hudson Gateway Association of Realtors First Quarter 2021 Market Report, “Residential home sales in the lower Hudson Valley for the first quarter of 2021 were staggering, even to anyone regularly monitoring sales activity. The residential market is normally cyclical with seasonal low sales in the first quarter as sellers begin to prepare their homes for the traditional ‘spring selling season.”’

COVID-19 has served to create a marketplace that defies that predictability. While first quarter sales in 2020 were relatively strong, a reflection of activity that occurred in late 2019, the true effects of the pandemic were seen in the second and third quarters of 2020 when sales, not unexpectedly, took a strong hit. During that time, however, a migration from the city to the suburbs began taking hold as people felt the need to escape the close confines of city living and working from home created a need for larger living spaces.

In terms of units sold, Putnam County activity was up more than 62%, with 427 sales compared to 263 in 2020. This market is being driven by more than just the COVID-19 economy. Over the past several years, inventory has been low. There are several years of pent up demand in the queue, coupled with the mass exodus from the boroughs, foreclosures being stalled, potential sellers not wanting to have strangers traipsing through their home during a pandemic and some sellers who are afraid to enter this market as a buyer so they defer listing their own homes. Take all that into consideration and we may well have the craziest seller’s market in history.

So, what happens next? As reopening continues and the vaccines start to create herd immunity, foreclosures will resume and the distressed properties from pre-pandemic will hit the market. More sellers will become comfortable to put their house on the market and inventory will increase. This will lead to even more properties going on the market with sellers having confidence they will find a place to buy. The market will begin to stabilize and go back to a normal absorption rate. Currently in Putnam the active inventory will take less than one month to sell. A balanced market is more like six months.

Of the 1,407 single family homes sold in Putnam County 12 months back year-to-date, 468 were in Carmel, 241 in Kent, 173 in Patterson, 146 in Philipstown, 185 in Putnam Valley, and 194 in Southeast, so it is clear to see that Carmel is the winner in number of transactions. The town also pulled its weight on the 16.4% increase in the median sales price and the average sales price is at $466,241, some 24.9% over 2019 which was at $373,285. It is therefore reasonable to expect that property values in Putnam County have increased a minimum of 10% in a year.

Jennifer Maher
Jennifer Maher is the founding chairwoman of the Putnam County Business Council and is COO of J. Philip Real Estate.